When is the last time you failed on purpose?

Oh, I don’t mean you tried to fail. I’m simply asking when you attempted something so hard you knew at some point you would be doomed.

Recently, I have been reading Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset. Dweck reminds readers there are two types of people … those with a fixed mindset and those who lean toward growth. The ones on the fixed side usually resist change. They like to play it safe, and certainly never fail on purpose. They spend most of their time trying to manage an image and protect a reputation rather than seeking to improve.

Dweck challenges the fixed mindset when she writes, “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” 

Many leaders I know have ignored the spirit of those words and settled for average. 

How about you? Do you equate failing with failure? There is a big difference. Failing happens when we reach. Failure is when we never do.

The willingness to fail is often the precursor to accomplishment. Few have ever done anything great on the shores of safety. The real failures are those who choose comfort over courage.

If today finds you stuck, I challenge you to find a place to fail on purpose. Doing so will put you on the path to growth.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Can you think of a time when you failed in the past and it made you stronger?

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