If you study leaders you will discover they leave more behind than just a great legacy. They also leave behind a trail of failures. Society’s obsession with success may have you led you to believe that failure and leadership are oxymorons. In actuality, failure is a prerequisite for being a leader.

Leaders are usually the first to attempt something. If you think back to your past, you can recall how often you were successful with your first attempt at anything. If you are like most, you had a disproportionately high rate of failure compared to your successes.

You are probably asking, if everyone fails just like leaders, what differentiates leaders from others?


  • Fail Fast
  • Fail frequently
  • Fail Forward

Leaders understand the only way to reach success is through failure. In other words the quicker you get through failure the quicker you arrive at success. This makes it important to fail fast. Instead of wasting your most important asset time being indecisive, it is better to make a decision and learn the lesson from it. Failing fast isn’t just about failing quickly it is also about learning from your failures quickly by applying what you have learned. You can probably recall numerous occasions of your fellow human beings repeating the same failures, creating harmful habits, which diminish the quality of their lives.

Leaders also have the courage to fail frequently. This may sound counterproductive to you if you aren’t a leader. However, leaders have the ability to take risks and endure being uncomfortable. Most humans struggle to take risks and choose to be safe and comfortable rather than risk attempting the unknown. So leaders only fail frequently as compared to the majority of society because they are willing to risk exploring the unknown, uncomfortable, and unpopular. The more risk you take the higher your probability of failure, initially.

Lastly, Leaders fail forward. Fail forward means failing with a purpose, failing to get information,   or failing to get experience. Leaders are usually trying to change something, create something new, or experience something new. Most understand that they will experience some kind of adversity or setback (failure) along the way. They understand that they are limited by their experiences in life and that they can only grow by more experiences. They also understand that failure is inevitable, to achieve their foreign goals they must endure failure and learn from it. If you want to evolve you must have the courage to fail forward.

Leadership is not just some glorious process completed by those who are habitually successful. Leadership is an accumulation of failures used to accomplish one successful goal. If you want to be a leader you must embrace failure.

You must accept failure as part of the process… 

You must leave a trail for others to follow …. by failing fast, failing frequently, and by failing forward.