Home Commentary Stop Failing Backward and Start Failing Forward

Stop Failing Backward and Start Failing Forward

Community Voice Heather Hice, Director of Food and Beverage Marketing for Innisfree Hotels

I spent the better part of last week brainstorming what I was going to write for my community voices post.


Try as I might, the thought of coming up with a truly moving topic was daunting.

Questions plagued my mind. What could I possibly talk about that would captivate others? What would make a difference to fellow readers’ lives? What if it’s not something revolutionary? What if it was a complete failure?

They say the answer is right there staring back at you…

Failing forward.

“Because in life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with them. Stop failing backward and start failing forward!” – John C. Maxwell

It’s something I’ve been actively working on for a few years. The idea of accepting my real failures, perceived failures, and mistakes as a path to climb toward success.

The concept of failing, even while doing it in a forward motion, is not exactly something I’m stoked about.

For me, any implications of failure sound pretty awful if I’m being honest.

Failure is a big, scary concept that for a long time I took every precaution to avoid. At a young age, I realized if I thought through every scenario and planned ahead, I could stay on a pretty straight path that would lead to the fruits of my labor and success at every turn.

This seemed like an acceptable way to live until I got older, and life became more complicated. There were too many scenarios, too many what-ifs, and too many things to plan.

I was creating a mental load that was unmanageable. My plan of planning ahead was becoming a hindrance to actually living my life.

So, what do I typically do when something becomes unmanageable? I have a mini freakout session, confide in my closest friends, and dive headfirst into trying to figure out how to solve my problem.

Except this time there was no easy way to solve my problem. I had to start by doing the tough work. You know the kind – the inner work, the mental work, the ongoing work you can’t check off your to-do list. I had to accept some hard truths in life.

This was when I began learning the importance of accepting that in life, no matter how hard we try to avoid failure and mistakes or plan ways around them, they are essentially inevitable.

The difference between simply accepting failure, walking away, shoulders slumped while drowning your sorrows in a pint of ice cream, and failing forward is learning from your failures, not just saying you’re learning, but really learning from them.

It’s shifting your mindset from defeat to seeing your failure as a lesson. A lesson you apply to the next stop on your path through life after you eat a little ice cream of course!

Although I’m still learning and working on my acceptance of sometimes failing, the concept of failing forward makes failure a little less scary.

It allows room for error and sheds failure in a different light. It allows you to take chances and work on things you otherwise might be too scared to try. It allows you to drop your guard and not do everything perfectly because no matter how hard you try nothing is perfect. And that my friend is a subject for a different day!

What are your thoughts about failing forward? If you use this concept, how has it changed your view of failure?

Heather Hice

Director of Food and Beverage Marketing at Innisfree Hotels



*Note from Local Pulse Editor: Heather Hice is a part of our Community Voices series. Community Voices is a group of Pensacola dwellers that are making a difference in our city by sharing best practices, experiences, their perspective on impactful subjects, and contributing expertise that leads to movement forward for a stronger community.