Are you the sum total of what you’ve accomplished in the past?


    Are you the sum total of how you’ve handled failures?

    Have you ever considered these two questions? For me, when I think about who I am now, it has nothing to do with my accomplishments. Instead, what really made the difference is what I learned when I messed things up. I’d like to think these failures have made me a more compassionate, patient and thoughtful person.

    Often, we see young professionals achieving a lot early in their careers. They’re off and running and are always looking for the next promotion. They can seem like they’re ready for the next step, but perhaps we should spend more time evaluating prospective leaders by their failures. How have they used the times when things didn’t go well to become a better person and leader?  If they haven’t failed at something, are they really ready for the next step?

    Are you making the most of failure? Here are some questions to consider:

    • When a project fails, do you do a post-mortem? Do you take the time to really examine what worked and what didn’t?
    • Have you learned when to take the blame and when not to?
    • Do you take responsibility for what is yours?
    • When someone on your team fails, does everyone else lean in to help?
    • Have you failed at the same thing twice or more? Have you changed your approach? Sometimes you do fail more than once, but make sure you’re learning each time.

    I once had a boss who told me: “I know we’re both human and are bound to fail, but let’s fail fast so we can get to the success part!”

    I’ve always loved that, but in case you need a little more inspiration:

    Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely!
    Henry Ford
    Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.
    Zig Zigler
    I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.
    Michael Jordan
    Those who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.
    Lloyd Jones
    Posted by Peggy Vinson on Apr. 4, 2017
    Peggy Vinson

    Written by Peggy Vinson

    Since joining DBD in 2005, Peggy has coached executive staff and volunteers on increasing the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts. Peggy’s prescriptive approach focuses on the organization’s strengths and challenges. She meets her clients where they are, helping all to grow their fundraising skills. By developing strategic, measurable plans and skill sets, Peggy helps organizations not only meet their goals this year, but increase their capacity for the future.

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