Did you ever fail forward?

What does it mean to Fail Forward? According to quora.com, “Failing forward implies moving forward despite failures.” Failing forward is essential to learn and develop in your life and work. It’s getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
It is a crucial part of self-development, and it’s embedded in the culture of successful innovative, entrepreneurial, and agile organizations.

Especially the fear of failure is holding us back. It prevents people from pursuing their dreams and contributing to the world. It is keeping organizations stuck as well. It’s for a reason that Jeff Stibel, the vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, introduced the Failure Wall at work: to encourage employees to openly share mistakes so everyone could learn from them.

What would help is to learn to become shame-resilient as Brené Brown says. Our culture relies on shame – and we are terrified to make mistakes and not look professional. But to err is human! Moreover, life is not science. The only way to learn is often by trial and error.

A call for stories

Kimberley Barker, Ph.D. and Donna Jensen would like to collect stories from “Women Who Have Failed Forward and Flourished Afterwards” to write an in-depth article about this crucial phenomenon for all of us.

Kim explains: “We would like to hear from you with your stories of Failing Forward in Business and Organizations, Relationships, and Life. We want to gain inspiration from and insights on how to rebound from a situation or situations that could be viewed as a failure (not always instigated by the storyteller). We would like to learn from your experience, provide insights on what can be done in these situations and how best to deal with these types of experiences.

We also want to look at how these women flourished afterward. Do they believe it was necessary to have the ‘failure experience’ in order to get to the ‘flourishing’? Was a redirection necessary after they ignored clues for the direction they should go in? How can we set ourselves up for the best case scenario when we experience setbacks and ‘failures.’ Lastly, we want to hear from individuals from both a practitioner and scholarly perspective on lessons learned along the way, how they dealt with their anger and learned to forgive, in order to flourish in the end.”

Some questions for reflection:

• How can potential for a setback or ‘failure experience’ be identified early on?
• What can be done after a setback or ‘failure experience’ to set yourself up for success in the near future afterward?
• What creates setbacks or ‘failure experiences’ and what can we do to not attract these types of situations in our lives?
• How do you raise a flag when they feel near the point of exhaustion from it all?
• How do you rebound from a setback or ‘failure experience’ in a healthy and positive manner as soon as possible?
• What type of support systems did you have throughout this process?
• What role did your faith play in the process?
• What were your major takeaways from this experience?
• What is your “Bumper Sticker take away” for this (your takeaway saying which could be placed on a bumper sticker!).

Stories examining topics of a similar nature are also welcomed. Submissions from around the world are encouraged! There is no length requirement for the story, we just ask that you share your story and answer the above items. Text should be 12 point, with Times New Roman font and follow APA guidelines for references and tables. Lastly, please include biographies of each author of 50-75 words with a picture if you would like. Submissions can be anonymous too, if desired, with only Kim and Donna knowing who the author is. Prospective authors may also submit a brief proposal for consideration, prior to full submission. Authors of similar proposals may be offered the opportunity to co-author.
The deadline for submission of an article is November 1, 2017. To submit a story or for questions, please contact Kimberley Barker at moc.liamgobfsctd@rekrabjmik.

The Fail Forward Movement

If you are intrigued by this topic, also check out the Fail Forward Movement. If you’d like to learn how to better deal with mistakes and failures, you can find a free online course on their website.
You can read some stories of failure on this website as well.

Go to https://www.failforwardmovement.org/

Just remember: give yourself permission to fail! What would you do if you couldn’t fail….? Go do it!


This is a Summer post.

Marcella Bremer is blogging her next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” She will resume this series in September 2017.
In the meantime, to catch up reading – start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

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