Wisdom//

8 Successful People On The Last Time They Overcame Failure

These are teachable moments we can all learn from.


When you’re dealing with failure, it can feel like you’re the only person who’s ever fallen short of a goal. But you’re far from alone. Here’s what 8 noteworthy people from a range of industries — from entertainment to business — told Thrive Global about the last time they felt they failed and what they did to bounce back.

  1. Alan Alda, Emmy Award-winning actor, author and professor

From Alda’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I’ve been an improviser since I was in my twenties. There’s really no failing in improv. You just go on to the next thing.”

2. Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.


From Bergh’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I’m an optimist at heart, so for me, there are no real failures — only opportunities to learn. I’ve had plenty of these kind of “opportunities” in life; but they all ultimately make me stronger (“that which doesn’t kill you will just make you stronger”). I set a high bar for almost everything that I do and sometimes come up short against my own expectations. But as my 8-year-old daughter says, “If you shoot for the stars and come up short, at least you hit the moon.” :)”

3. Wanda Holland Greene, head of The Hamlin School


From Holland Greene’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I’m not sure that I have ever overcome failure. I integrate moments of failure into my life and I harness the life lessons to become a stronger person. I failed to stick to healthy eating habits during and after the holiday season, and I failed to exercise vigorously all of last week, but I try hard to show myself compassion. I don’t excuse my poor behavior that falls below expectations, but I do try to understand my humanness and my brokenness. We are all in need of repair, and when I remember that failure is an opportunity, not a liability, I feel whole again.”

4. India Hicks, entrepreneur, model and author


From Hicks’ Thrive Questionnaire

“I feel like I am failing quite often, getting the balance right between work and motherhood is almost impossible, well I find it is. Do you choose to miss Easter Monday with your family in order to be in the office with your team? Whatever you decide to do you feel like you have failed someone. The only comfort is knowing that many, many other women battle the same dilemma.”

5. Mike Posner, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter


From Posner’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I’ve struggled a lot with my physical appearance. I used to look in the mirror and feel fat or ugly or imperfect in some way. I overcame this by taking ownership of the fact that I was choosing to feel fat or ugly or imperfect. My mind made the decision to attach those words and emotions to the way I looked. Once I took responsibility for that I had the power to change it.”

6. Vijay Pande, venture capitalist


From Pande’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I learn a lot from my mistakes by ruminating over them. I see most failures as a failure in process, so I try to understand where the breakdown occurred and figure out how we can improve the process. The approach also helps to depersonalize it — it’s not you, it’s the process.”

7. Brad Stulberg, writer and expert on human performance


From Stulberg’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I try not to think in terms of success and failure about results, but moreso about how well I execute on various processes. I failed two days ago when I spent significantly more time on browsing the internet and checking my phone than I had intended to, and as a result, didn’t write/read as much as I could (and should) have.”

8. Sandi Mendelson, CEO of Hilsinger-Mendelson


From Mendelson’s Thrive Questionnaire

“When I can’t be there for myself and everyone who’s relying on me — I just take each thing separately and somehow everything resolves.”

Originally published at medium.com

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