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Failure is an Important Stepping Stone for Mindful Leadership

Monday, 16 May 2016 16:14 Written by 


No matter what it is you set out to do in your life, whether on a daily basis or long-term, you will need a number of tools to accomplish what you want to accomplish. As far as success goes, you will need stepping stones... and often times these stepping stones come in the form of failures or setbacks.

You may have seen this before:

I got to thinking about this little sketch and realized that depending on how big your goal or definition of success is (how steep the angle of the line is), if you were to try to climb up a straight, smooth line, you would slide backwards right back to where you started. However, if you’re trying to climb the crazy squiggles, you can hang on to something and go further much faster. This visual representation is not only accurate, but it’s also encouraging because when you first begin, you have no idea what the future holds... and you may not even realize that failure is inevitable, especially if your goal is big and worthwhile.

Some Things to Keep in Mind When Mindfully Working Toward Success

·         Commitment. Make the decision to follow your dreams or aspirations and stick to your guns no matter what. This commitment, this decision to stick to it, will help you to overcome challenges, learn from mistakes, and overcome obstacles. This will also help you to be creative and innovative in your problem solving, which is an essential skill for any mindful leader.

·         Stay focused. FOCUS stands for Follow One Course Until Successful; don’t get distracted or change goals every year, and don’t allow setbacks or desperation (especially for money if you’re starting completely from scratch) to dictate your next move. If you’ve made the decision to become a business coach, work toward that goal until it happens. See it through until the very end. The same thing applies to any other goal.

·         Love learning. If you love to learn new things or expand on your knowledge of things you already know, this tool will serve you in making the most from your mistakes or failures, therefore helping you to fail forward. Learning and growing as a mindful leader is paramount to your success, even if the journey seems challenging at times.

·         Keep a positive attitude. Though this may feel more difficult for those who are not naturally optimistic, a positive attitude doesn’t mean you have to run around being hyper and chipper constantly. In fact, that may make you less enthusiastic about what you’re doing. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you’re happy and cheerful all the time. It simply means that you try to keep things in perspective, look at your situation from different angles, and focus on solving problems that come up while also keeping yourself open for opportunities that may present themselves.

·         Do NOT “fake it till you make it.” Part of being a mindful leader is being genuine. If you’re in any way fake, superficial, or insincere, people can usually tell and it gives a negative impression. It also makes you seem less confident in yourself and your abilities, and confidence is essential to being a mindful leader. And yes, you can be confident and still make mistakes! Your confidence simply allows you to solve those problems more effectively.

·         It all begins and ends with YOU. Your confidence, your ability to learn, your awareness or mindfulness, your attitude, your ability to solve problems, and your ability to make mistakes without being crushed by them.

Some Thoughts on Opportunities

Opportunities are everywhere, whether you realize it or not. Have you ever known someone who seems to randomly have great things come into their lives almost all the time? Someone who happily says, “You know, I wasn’t even actively looking into this, but the opportunity fell into my lap and I had to jump on it!”


Did you know that anyone can become like this person simply by keeping an open mind and having the courage to take a chance when an opportunity presents itself? You see what you seek... so seek out opportunities and pay attention to what life places before you. You never know where the next big opportunity will come from! It may even present itself after you experience a setback.

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The Executive Coaching University is one of the leading Executive Coaching Training and Leadership Development firms in the world. We have trained thousands of individuals in 39 countries in our proprietary MasterMind Executive Coaching Process™ as well as many other leadership skills. Our programs are approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK.


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