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Do I Have to Fail First?

Do I Have to Fail First?

48 Days Podcast listener Josh Bulloc asks: I have studied many entrepreneurs and successful people and most of them have gone through some sort of life trial which I correlate to becoming successful. I am concerned that I am not going to do well because I have not gone through that learning experience (yet). Your thoughts please.

We hear a lot about the failures of people who are ultimately very successful. I’ve certainly talked openly about my personal business flops on my way to where I am today. Many of you are familiar with Dave Ramsey and his big crash in real estate that set the stage for him to help others avoid those same mistakes and in the process recapture and surpass his former wealth.

So should we be helping people avoid mistakes? Are we preventing those people from experiencing their ultimate success? Are we prolonging the inevitable? Will their safe path now confine them to mediocrity rather than astounding success?

How do you view failure in your own life? Do you avoid it at all costs?

One of the most important lessons I ever learned regarding failure was in an illustration from Robert Schuller that I heard many years ago. He said to think about an athlete jumping a high bar. As long as that athlete clears the bar we really don’t how good he/she is. It is only when the bar is tripped (failure) that we have an accurate measurement of how good that athlete really is.

I want to know how high I can go. So that opens the door wide open for potential risks and failure. But if I fail I simply have a measurement of what I am capable of. As long as I am always successful I fear I may have set the bar far too low.

And that seems to be the major difference between high achieving people and average people – their response to failure.

Josh, I would never suggest that you create your own failure – just to get it over with. Trust me; if you are doing anything extraordinary, failure will find you. But then don’t bury your head in the sand. How we fail is at least as important as how we succeed.

I say push yourself; fail often. Push yourself to the limits of your talents, abilities, dreams, endurance and common sense. And then go one step further. Your failures will release your creativity and innovation more than education and careful planning can ever do.

“The one person to distrust is the one who never makes a mistake. Either he is a phony, or he stays with the safe, the tried, and the trivial.” — Peter Drucker

Article originally appeared at Used with permission.

Dan Miller, President of 48 Days LLC, specializes in creative thinking for increased personal and business success. He believes that meaningful work blends our natural skills and abilities, our unique personality traits and our dreams and passions. Dan is active in helping individuals redirect careers, evaluate new income sources, and achieve balanced living. He believes that a clear sense of direction can help us become all that God designed us to be.

Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love, No More Dreaded Mondays and Wisdom Meets Passion. He has been a guest on CBS' 'The Early Show,' MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Mathews,' Moody MidDay Connection, and the Dave Ramsey Show. Dan has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, and is in high demand at national conferences speaking on aging and changes in the workplace as well as at universities and churches. Over 130,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter, his 48 Days Podcast consistently ranks in the top 3 under Careers on iTunes, and the business community is viewed as an example around the world for those seeking to find – or create – work they love. Book Dan to speak or check out 48 Days products at

Committed to personal priorities, Dan and his wife Joanne are approaching their 45th anniversary and have 3 world-changing children and 12 amazing grandchildren.  

What does it mean to be fully alive in your work? Many of us are not yet doing what God put us here to do. Dan looks at the changing work models and outlines a plan for integrating your dreams and your passions into your daily activities. If you’ve ever buried your dreams in an attempt to be “practical” or “realistic,” Dan will show you how embracing those very dreams is the most practical way to enjoy life and achieve the success you’re looking for.

Publication date: March 26, 2013