4 Lessons I’ve Learned From Successful People Who Have Once Failed

Go back to the root of the problem and dissect it to the fullest.

I recently spent a week in Chicago on business. My hotel was across the street from Water Tower Place. In case you are not familiar, Water Tower Place is a Chicago landmark on the Magnificent Mile and renowned for its vast selection of over 100 stores. Beyond shopping, the eight-story mall also houses a number of restaurants and entertainment options.

On my last day of meetings, I was exhausted. But still, I decided to go to the mall and pick up a few items to bring home. Upon arriving, the first thing I looked for was the YOU ARE HERE kiosk or a map. Right away, I was reminded of how large Water Tower Place really is. As I browsed the listing of stores, I thought to myself, “I can’t possibly get through this entire mall today. I need to look closely and decide which areas I want to reach.”

Sometimes, business [and life in general] is no different. Although you may have many areas that are important to you and you want to focus on making them all better, it’s impossible to give 100 percent of your time to all areas. Trying to do it all can lead to overwhelm, stress, burnout and MISTAKES.

You may recall when Oprah Winfrey sat down with the team on the CBS Morning Show. It was early April in 2012. The world was buzzing about the struggles of her newly launched OWN cable network. Oprah said to the CBS hosts, which included Charlie Rose and her best friend Gayle King, “If I knew then what I know now, I might have made some different choices. I would say if I were writing a book about it, I would call the book ‘101 mistakes.’” Oprah went on to mention that one big mistake was launching the network while she still had her Chicago-based talk show.

This is a great example of how someone was able to look back at the past mistake of trying to do it all at the same time, acknowledge everything that comes with those mistakes, and continue to move forward. Now that Oprah is no longer focusing on her talk show, OWN is strong and available in more than 80 million households.

Here’s what I’ve learned from successful people who have once failed:

1. Get clear about what hasn’t worked
Successful people always go back to the root of the problem and dissect it to the fullest. They tear the mistakes apart and get to the bottom of what happened. Do you know why? Because they want to be sure they never go back to that same place again.

2. Don’t double-dip
Once successful people are clear about what has not worked, they never go back to doing the same thing, expecting different results. They either dummy-proof it or avoid it all together.

3. Make Sure It’s Right for YOU

Successful people don’t compromise. They ask themselves, “Should I be doing this?” “Is this the right time for this?” If it’s not right, they don’t do it.

4. Evaluate Now vs. Later
When making decisions, successful people determine if it’s a short-term fix or a long-term benefit. Often times, the short-term fixes don’t last and result in a loss of time and money.

As you move on with goals, be sure you are clear about what has not worked in the past. Make sure the next step is right for you, while also evaluating the long-term benefits.

If you have something that has not worked in the past, and you are ready to try it again, use this Free Reflection Worksheet BEFORE you get started. It will save you time, grief and possibly money, too.

Originally published at kimberlybuchanan.com on February 8, 2017.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


To thrive and prevent burnout it’s important to look outside of your industry, with Carlos Jereissati, CEO of Iguatemi

by Aaron Weiner

How this Small Business Owner is Surviving & Thriving During COVID-19

by Melissa Litchfield

40 Years Of Business, 40 Years’ Worth Of Advice

by Stephen Bittel

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.