Using Failure to Achieve Success


There is a common idea that leadership is about micromanaging, controlling your employees and preventing mistakes at all costs. This is actually a misidentification of what leadership is. True leadership is about the willingness to empower your team. It is the ability to transform anything, the ability to empower people and to bring them forward with their capacities and enhance them. Sometimes this requires allowing others to do things and to make choices that you may not choose yourself.

If you want to be an effective leader, rather than seeing mistakes as failure and doing everything you can to prevent them, allow others to choose and actually receive the awareness from the choice they make; even if that looks like allowing a ‘mistake’ to occur. What if there are no mistakes? Every choice gives you awareness and awareness is priceless.

Here are 3 tips on using what some would call failure to achieve greater results:

  1. Allowing employees to work through and learn from their mistakes. 

When an employee ‘fails” get them to look at what they now know that they didn’t know before. Rather than looking at the result and judging it as wrong or as a failure, get them to ask, ‘What else is possible?’ If they are willing to stop judging, if they are willing to look at what their choice created, if they are willing to continue to ask questions, they are a contribution to your organization.

  1. Being aware of the real reason some employees repeat mistakes. 

If you have someone who keeps repeating the same ‘mistake,’ either they don’t really want the job, they are settling for a career they don’t really care about, or there is something getting in the way. Ask them questions. Ask them to be honest about what it is they desire and what they would like their life and their career to look like. Empower them to get clear on what they desire in their life and then to choose it. Failure is nothing but a need for change.

  1. Realizing that ‘failure’ is ultimately assisting you. 

Good leaders don’t look at anything as a failure. If something you’ve chosen didn’t have a particular outcome, ask questions. What is right about this that I’m not getting? What else is possible here that I haven’t considered? How does it get any better than this? When you are willing to ask questions, when you are willing to look at what your choice created, without judgment, you simply choose again.

In the business arena, we are accustomed to looking at thing as right and wrong. We judge what choices are good and what choices are bad based on the outcome. The problem with this approach is that it disempowers people to create something greater because they are afraid of making mistakes. If you are willing to truly be a leader, you can change this. Allow people to choose and then become aware of what that choice created. If someone keeps repeating the same ‘mistake’ recognize that they don’t desire to do the job they are doing for whatever the reason may be, empower them to look at what’s true for them and choose what’s going to work for them. Always remember, what others call failure is nothing more than a need for change.


gary-douglasBusiness innovator, investor, author, antique storeowner and breeder of Costa Rican horses, Gary Douglas is a best-selling author and a sought-after international speaker who inspires people to see different possibilities. He founded the transformational life changing tools and processes known as Access Consciousness® 25 years ago. Simple but effective, this personal development modality has helped thousands worldwide by giving them tools to create change and remove limitations in all aspects of life. The Access tools are now offered in 173 countries with 2,000 trained facilitators worldwide. Douglas has written 17 books so far. In 2010 his book “The Place” became a Barnes and Nobles #1 Bestseller. Follow @garymdouglas and on Facebook.




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