Are You Good at Failing?

“There’s no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times.” —Jonathan Ive

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Why Fail?

We always talk about success, but what about the stepping stones to success that we call failure? We’ve all heard the advice: fail fast and fail often. But why fail at all? When we fail, we gain insight into what went right and what went wrong. This information helps guide our next steps in the right direction. Failure helps us to learn what we don’t know so we can determine who or what we need access to for success. We can also share lessons learned from our failure with others and implement lessons others have learned from their failures. The fact is, you’re going to fail so you might as well get good at it.


Brene Brown explained, “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” Great innovations are developed through trial and error. It’s not very often you get grand innovation right the first time. The only way to assure you will not fail is by doing nothing and innovation is never built on inaction.


Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” As much as it may feel fatal, you will survive, failure is just part of the innovation process. The quicker you fail, the smaller and more manageable your mistakes will be. Every time you challenge yourself you are flirting with failure but, when you fail you have the opportunity to step up your thinking. You aren’t invincible so you might as well develop an accepting attitude towards failure.


Julie Andrews said, “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” Develop resilience; use your failures as learning experiences. Make adjustments and return better than ever. Fail, pick yourself back up and move forward. Failure can transform you and the way you look at the world around you. The more you fail the better you will become at making corrections quickly.


Winston Churchill explained, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Failure is a stepping stone to success. It often brings with it new opportunities and perspectives. Most great successes have been preceded by failure, sometimes multiple failures. You will achieve success once you are willing to accept failure as a way to learn and move forward.

Are You Good at Failing?

Woody Allen said, “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” Remember, failing is part of the journey. You learn more lessons and gain more wisdom from your failures than your successes can ever provide. Value and celebrate your successes, but learn to value the lessons that failure has to offer as well.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Author: lizstincelli

I am Liz Stincelli and I am passionate about recognizing, inspiring, and igniting the leader in each of us. I am the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where I specialize in helping management teams learn new ways of looking at problems and finding new approaches to discovering solutions. I hold a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. I offer 20+ years of pro-active operations management, problem-solving, team-building, human resources, accounting, and business administration experience in a variety of industries. I serve on the Editorial Review Board for the Independent Journal of Management and Production and the Journal of Managerial Psychology. I have also been a guest lecturer at the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business Westminster College. You can learn more about me by reading my blog here at: or Connect with me on Twitter @infinitestin, on Google+, and on LinkedIn. You can contact me by email at

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