From Mistake to Motivation: Turning Failures into Successes

April 8, 2019

From Mistake to Motivation: Turning Failures into Successes

From Mistake to Motivation: Turning Failures into Successes

Being a business leader can sometimes be draining. You not only have to keep yourself motivated, but also ensure your team stays fully engaged. Further, overseeing all the work and striving never to miss—or make—a mistake is an intimidating mandate. With all the demands on a leader’s time and energy, it’s no wonder that everyone stumbles sometimes. Many business leaders and investors today swear by a mantra: fail, and fail fast. Not only does this acknowledge that mistakes are a part of the journey, it embraces them. That is perhaps easier said than done but here are five techniques that will help you dust off and get right back on the horse.


A day in which you don’t learn anything is a day wasted. This is perhaps truer when you are reeling from a mistake. Take stock of what went wrong and decide if the failure was inevitable. Then, tell yourself you will not allow the same error to happen ever again. Immediate learning, immediate growth.


In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell examines how it takes us approximately 10,000 hours to truly master any skill, talent, or game. You have already invested much of that time in what you do – hone your skills further and let the mistakes along the way become lessons.


Most of us regard errors as a condemnation of our abilities. But mistakes are an inevitable part of the journey; stop being afraid of them. The debilitating fear of failure is oftentimes more caustic than the failure itself. If there is something to be absolutely terrified of, it is inaction.

Constant Progress

NHL legend Wayne Gretzky’s most famous quote may be “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” In this case, it means that the only true failure is to remain stationary, waiting for the perfect conditions. Perfection does not exist in the world of business. Start, falter, learn, and keep moving.


New perspectives are an integral part of the learning process and, therefore, a fundamental part of turning failures into successes. The easiest way to gain a fresh perspective on a mistake is to see it through the eyes of a trusted friend, mentor, or colleague. Use their views and perceptions to mold your ideas for the future.

Many leaders judge themselves by harsher standards and that can be a useful trait as a personal motivational tool. Just don’t forget to give yourself the opportunity to convert every downside into a launchpad for bigger and better things.

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