How to Fail Forward


By: Karrie Comfort

Falling forward is almost always the right answer. Think about falling forward onto a staircase, versus backwards into open space, and an unimaginable amount of back injury.

I say almost because my snowboarding instructor saying not to fall forward, because you could break a wrist. But I digress.

Failing forward, on the other hand, is always the right answer.

But like any fall, there is a right way to fail forward, and a wrong way. The right way will land you in push up position, both arms flexed, and ready to hit the ground running, whereas the wrong way will, well let’s get real, leave you with a broken wrist or two. (Sorry for the violent mental image there.)

Whether you’re experiencing a point of failure at this point in your school or professional career, or have yet to experience one, these steps will help you get back on your feet, or prepare you for whatever the future brings. Let’s fall (see what I did there?) right in.

Find Your Family

Although this could definitely include your biological family, your support family are the people on which you can depend. Are you looking for a new job or a switch up in your career? Ask for their help, and be honest with where you’re at. Whether you got fired, laid off, or quit out of pure frustration, your family’s advice is only as good as the information you give them about the situation.

Take A Time Out

Give yourself a break. (breathe in, breathe out) Did you fail a class because you were juggling five others at the same time? Did you get fired for always being late to a job because you were barely sleeping? A lot of the time moments of failure are coupled with burnout or stress. Hit pause, reset, and recognize any ways you can improve.

Get Moving

Where do you want to go? A new and improved version of you? A more calm and collected you? A job with better work/life balance? Whatever the answer is, set a goal and work backwards from your conclusion in steps. Identify what soft skills, certifications, connections or knowledge gaps you would need to fill to get there.

Look at you! On your way out of that moment of failure, one step at a time. Don’t forget that failure is simply an opportunity for you to sharpen your skills, and recover stronger than ever. Focus on what you can control and conquer it!

The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success. - John C. Maxwell