Failing Forward–Success is Failure Turned Inside Out

Filed under: Check-it-out, Pondering, Writing

I try very hard to stay attentive to the “coincidences” in my life. I’ve come to believe that the people and things that cross my path on a regular basis are there for a reason. And my life has changed for the better since I’ve started to accept that there is a bigger purpose for all things–even the little ones.

I can’t remember what blog or conversation sent me to purchase a copy of FAILING FORWARD: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by John C. Maxwell  but it ended up on my Kindle. I also don’t know why I had the sudden urge to pull it out the other night and begin reading it, but WOW! It was exactly what I needed. A reminder that success is not a product of avoiding mistakes, it’s the ability to pick yourself up and use the experience to move forward.

This got me thinking about a poem that I had hanging in my locker all throughout high school. I even used part of it as my senior quote…

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned
too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Author Unknown

You might be wondering why the universe is sending me these messages, but I’m not. (I told you–I pay a lot more attention than I used to LOL!) It’s because I’m finishing a revision, working on a draft and playing with a secret little writing project in the middle of a lot of other big changes in my life. And this translates into…I’M SCARED. Unknowns are kinda frightening. At least they scare the heck out of me. I have big dreams and what if I can’t reach them? I want to be amaze-balls. Yup, I said it. I’ve never wanted to be ordinary. I’ve wanted to be extraordinary. I’ve always wanted to change the world. And the reason I haven’t really done it up until now is not because of the million and one excuses I can drum up at the tip of my tongue. (I’ve used them often.) It’s because I haven’t always been listening to the universal memo…


Success ahead sign



Why have I fought this concept so hard for so long? Why do I forget it sometimes, even when I know it? I have no freaking idea. My guess is that being scared is a pretty big, life defining thing. But I’m seeing steady growth and change in myself. I find the beauty of failure quicker and hold it longer than I ever have. And I’m appreciative of all the little reminders that cross my path and help me to keep failing with style. And because I like to share, it would make me feel good to be your push in the right direction today…

Fail forwards.

Don’t quit.

Don’t forget how far you’ve come by picking yourself up and dusting yourself off. Think about your most epic failure that turned into something amazing. Define your biggest loss that turned out to be your silver lining. You all know mine–when I lost my dad I woke up and decided to stop failing myself. The most beautiful, bittersweet, epic moment ever.

Success ahead…if you want it.

And it’s never to late to turn it inside out.

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7 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. I love this post so much!

    “Never give up, never surrnder!” ~ Galaxy Quest.

  2. Thanks, Kimberly! Just what I needed. Write on!

  3. Hello Kimberly. @TheBulletman found this inspiring poem via Twitter and then he found you. (Likes the fact the poem was hanging on your locker door at school. Thought. Paul Kerfoot (real name) has stuff ‘hanging’ inside his wardrobe door right now, and he’s 47!) Anyway, pushing my creative ramblings to one side here, I have been working ‘on and off’ two projects about success and happiness for the last few years and I thought you might be interested in these. One is called ‘This Way Up!’ (2012-13) – upside-down, inside-out, back-to-front and wrong way round (creative) thinking – and the other project is called ‘The 7 Keys to Success’ (2011). (There are quite a few of these key ‘titles’ around it seems, yet either activity is not ‘delivered’ quite like mine is!) Check out Paul Kerfoot and The Bulletman UK website if you get chance? FYI: I also designed a pack of x52 playing cards, packed with 52 words of wisdom in this case – the idea is you pick your own 7 keys to success, is based on your latest challenge or goal, and you also have to find three things that will not lead you to success – and are used or ‘played’ with by adults and (confused) young people. Noting ‘Failure’ is one important card I really like. The 7 Keys to Success also makes a great coaching tool for mentoring, one-to-one sessions or classroom delivery. Noting I am NOT trying to promote or sell you a pack of cards here, in fact, as a great believer in abundance, I felt I wanted to share this and have not even officially sold one pack or deck of cards yet! (Think I need to next try them out on eBay?) Anyway, apologies I am again side tracking here, the interesting card – and to get to the point Paul! – being FAILURE. This always causes confusion and stimulates creative debate; it’s almost like playing your Joker! (Though do you see failure as a positive or a negative?) I also agree with what you are saying here on that ‘…success is not a product of avoiding mistakes, it’s the ability to pick yourself up and use the experience to move forward.’ Noting ‘Resilience’ is another option from the keys to success playing cards. And, on reflection, I am very much on a similar journey here so resonated with this article and finding your ‘Purpose’, and there’s another key to success! Noting I won’t have the space or time to fit the other 49 in here. (And thought I’d do a pack of cards instead of a book – just to be different. Maybe a small resource book should follow one day? But first I am working on something much bigger called FUTURE 2013-15.) Like a butterfly (or caterpillar) I have transformed over the last 5 years or so, from a bored and frustrated graphic designer into a branding expert and then into a bit of a ‘creative maverick’ called ‘The Bulletman’, the alter-ego with multiple job titles… Hey, just like it says on your website header and strapline, I found my voice (motivational speaker), have spread my wings (This Way Up – keynote), also working as a ‘happy’ and fulfilled enterprise champion in schools now, and all being well am about to next FLY free! Even though I have tried flying The Bulletman is no superhero lol 😉 (To really ‘fly’, the finances need to be sorted to achieve the dream – AKA purpose.) Thought, this random way of working IS creative chaos and is very tricky to fly! (I am currently working on a blog called ‘Egg shaped thinking’ at the moment lol.) I also have some great quotes on failure I can share and email you if you are interested and would like some further reinforcement of this concept AND that the Universe IS designed to help us all, when you really tune in and LISTEN to it, and have the wisdom and insight to also SEE the patterns. Alignment and enlightenment…

  4. P.S. As I don’t read books, and am often inspired by comics and anything visual, may I also highly recommend this very inspiring, high flying (and easy-to-read) children’s book; ‘Oh, the places you’ll go!’ – Dr. Seuss

    • Paul–you get extra points for enthusiasm. Good luck on all your projects.

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