Nov 27, 2018

Ep 61: Learning From Failure: How to Dust Yourself Off and Move Forward

Show Notes


It’s time to talk about learning from failure.

I know. Learning from failure is no one’s favorite subject. No one gets excited about failure, but y’all, failure is a reality in life and business! We might as well just learn from it!

I have had a lot of failures in my life . . . and in Business Boutique . . . and in speaking.

So I’ve gotten a lot of practice. And today, I’m going to help you answer the question, “How do I learn from my failure?”

Three Ways to Learn From Failure

1. Adjust on the Fly

When it’s possible, adjust on the fly.

A few years ago I was booked to speak at Catalyst, talking to women about life balance. Everything I wrote was directed at women and what we struggle with when it comes to life balance. I used stories that were relatable to women and I even pulled stories from the Bible, citing Scripture about women.

On the day of the event, I stood at the back of the room and watched the room fill up with people, who were all men.

Do you see the problem?

I could have gone ahead and given the talk as if I were presenting to women. That would have been the safe route. Or I knew I could adjust on the fly to the failure.

That’s what I did. I had notes from a previous talk and just scrapped the slides!

It was exactly the talk I was supposed to give, and they only heard it because I was willing to think on my feet.

The lesson? Don’t be afraid to think on your feet and make it up on the fly to save a misstep from becoming a complete failure!

Related: How to Be More Confident

2. Deal With It

If you make a mistake, drop the ball, or just fall flat on your face, deal with it.

Back when I worked as the aquatic director at the YMCA, in the middle of a chaotic day, I made a big mistake. On the day of our mandatory annual aquatics safety training, my director called me to ask why my lifeguards were not in attendance. Luckily there were two options for sessions: 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. But I’d not only forgotten, I also hadn’t told a single person they needed to be there.

You know what I did?

I dealt with it.

I went speed walking down the hall to the executive director’s office and opened the door.

I looked her in the face and said, “I am sorry to bother you, but I need you to know that I have dropped a huge ball. I am taking care of it, but I just want you to know that I am aware of it and I am really sorry.”

I explained what I’d forgotten and gave her my plan to fix it.

Thankfully, I got almost 100% of my staff to the 2 p.m. training.

I failed but I did three things to face my failure head on.

  1. Own it.

It’s in our nature to hide, cover up, make excuses, and place blame. By owning it, you are doing the opposite of what most people choose, while demonstrating maturity, integrity and self-awareness. In the process, you’re also building trust.

  1. Apologize for it.

Apologizing shows you’re coachable. It demonstrates humility instead of defensiveness, which makes others want to work with you more.

  1. Fix it.

Doing your best to fix a mistake is proactive. People will respect your ability to try to repair a mishap when one happens.

3. Dust Yourself Off

There’s no magic lesson with this one. But here’s the truth: You’re going to have experiences you would never want to relive. There are going to be times you fail so badly it stays with you for a while.

Many years ago I had a speaking engagement that I try to forget, and it haunts me to the this day.

But you know what? It hasn’t kept me from doing the thing I’m meant to do.

I kept going.

And you can too.

Y’all, it’s totally possible to learn from failure with these three strategies.

If you can adjust on the fly, you might avoid it all together.

If you can’t avoid it, then deal with it.

If you can’t deal with it, just dust yourself off and keep going.

How to Learn From Failure with Kristen Hadeed

Kristen Hadeed

Kristen Hadeed is the CEO and founder of Student Maid, a cleaning company that has employed thousands of students in the last decade. Kristen also helps organizations all over the world make a lasting and meaningful impact on people by creating environments in which they thrive. In addition to all of this, Kristen Hadeed is the author of the book, Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything.

Kristen wants other leaders to know that their most challenging moments can become their biggest leadership lessons.

In this episode, with topics like:

  1. Why failure is such a tough topic to take on, but so necessary
  2. How to move past fear and put yourself out there
  3. How to dust yourself off and try again
  4. What personal qualities, habits and beliefs you need to be able to push past fear and failure
  5. Why it’s important to share our own failure stories
  6. What small-business leaders can learn from failure

How to Prioritize Your Time When Everything Feels Important

I know it’s a crazy, busy season. But aren’t they all?

Here’s a quick challenge to help you prioritize during this season!

First of all, know that not all priorities are created equal.

But when you have tons of responsibilities, you need to have priorities and determine what’s most important to you. You need to know what comes first and second and third—and fifteenth.

That way, when two things compete for your attention, you can make a decision based on your priorities.

When you know what your priorities are, decision-making becomes so much easier.

So, determine what’s most important to you. It’s your life. You want to spend it on what’s most important to you!

They’re your priorities, and it’s your time. You get to decide.

1:16 Three Ways to Learn From Failure

17:18 How to Learn From Failure with Kristen Hadeeed

41:20 #AskChristyWright

51:05 Challenge to Prioritize Your Time

If you have a success story you would like to share with the Business Boutique community, email me at