maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Take the 'U' out.

In his book Failing Forward John Maxwell recommends that you take the ‘U’ out of Failure. Just because you failed to achieve a goal or accomplish a task does not mean that you are a failure.

It is the difference between “I have” and “I am”.

  • “I have failed.” versus “I am a failure.”
  • “I have screwed up.” versus “I am a screw up.”

You will screw up and you will fail. That is part of life and part of being human. So, allow yourself to be human, acknowledge that you will screw up and that you will fail and start moving forward.

Now that you have that out of the way, make a plan to use failure as an opportunity to grow. When you fail ask yourself:

  • What did I learn from that experience?
  • How have I grown from this experience?
  • What’s the next action step I need to take to move forward?
  • Then take action to move forward better off for the experience.

When you make a mistake and screw up:

  1. Stand up, man up / woman up and own up.
  2. Ask yourself, “What did I learn from that experience?”
  3. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do to ensure I do not make that same mistake again.”
  4. Take action to move forward better off for the experience.

Many of the leading experts on success suggest that in order to succeed you need to “fail fast and fail often”. They tell you that if you want more success, you need to fail more often.

What I take from all the books and articles I have read, and the podcasts and interviews I have listened to on this topic is that you need to be willing to take action, take some risks and push yourself in order to grow. You need to be willing to try something new and get out of your comfort zone understanding that you may fail, and that is ok, as long as you learn from the experience and grow as a result. It is the doing, the reflecting, the questioning, the feedback, the learning that brings the value, not the failure itself.

If it was the failure itself that was important you could simply go out and try a bunch of things you know you could never accomplish, fail at all of them and come out the other side a success.

What the experts are really suggesting is that in order to grow and succeed, and then move from success to significance, you have to put yourself out there, take action and take some chances. Playing it safe all the time will not allow you to grow and maximize your potential.

What’s Important Now? - Failure is an opportunity to learn and to grow. It is up to you to take advantage of that opportunity.

Important Note: On Monday of this week we released the first video from WINx Chicago 2016. In that video Roy Bethge, my friend and co-founder of WINx, gives a great talk on Failure and Courage. I would recommend that you invest 18 minutes and watch the video. What makes the talk even more impressive is that right before Roy was to start his talk we lost partial power in the venue. This affected the lighting and caused us to do some major scrambling. About ¾ of the way through his talk we lost all the power in the venue briefly (leaving only two battery powered lights). Roy had to deal with these challenges and obstacles in real time as he delivered his presentation.

Take care.

Brian Willis


Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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