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Leaving the Classroom 21: How to Fail Forward

#failfoward #fearoffailure #leaving the classroom podcast #leavingteaching #leavingtheclassroom Jul 25, 2023

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

How to Fail Forward 

If you are like most people, you probably don’t like to fail. It may not be one your basic fears, but I am sure it is a factor for you at some point or another. Today I talk about failing forward and how to use it to create great success in your life.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Kristi on LinkedIn  

 Enjoy the podcast transcription:
Welcome to leaving the classroom. This is a podcast for teachers who are ready to transition out of the classroom and into a new career. Each week I'll share stories about what I've learned moving from education to the corporate world. I'll answer the most common questions and share my best tips to help you get started. If you are considering leaving the classroom, this show is for you. Hello, everyone. Welcome to leaving the classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva. And I'm so glad you're here.

Today we're talking about failure. Failure. Failure is one of my biggest fears. I gotta say I'm an Enneagram 8 with a 3 wing, and the basic fear of an Enneagram 3 is failure and worthlessness. I know some of you felt that. And an Enneagram 3 may hold a subconscious belief that in order to be worthy, they have to succeed, or at least be perceived as successful. And this definitely shows its face from time to time, but especially at work. If you're like most people, you probably don't like to fail either. It may not be one of your basic fears, but I'm sure it is a factor for you at some point or another. Now, let's talk about another term that I learned called fail forward. What does it mean to fail forward? Failing forward refers to the acceptance of failure as a stepping stone to future success.

Now I have some famous success stories that started out as fail forward stories. The first one is by Steven Spielberg, not by Steven Spielberg, but of Steven Spielberg himself. He was rejected three times when he applied to the USC School of Theater Film and Television. I have to say sometimes when I hear these stories about these rejections of people who turned out to be massively successful in their craft, I wonder if those schools or those publishing companies or whoever get a little bit embarrassed. So USC, are you embarrassed right now? But he ended up going to Long Beach State. Good job! After directing and producing Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, Saving Private Ryan and Lincoln. He now sits on the Board of Directors of the USC Film School and donates a million dollars a year to the school, so he must have forgiven them.

Okay, the next one, Dr. Seuss, we all know who that is. His first children's book, And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected by 27 publishers. Again, I hope those publishers are embarrassed. The 28th publisher Vanguard Press sold 6 million copies of the book. And all of his children's books went on to sell a total of more than 100 million copies.

Okay, next one, Michael Jordan. Oh, I just saw that new movie Air and it gave me a whole new perspective. But basketball superstar Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. And his famous quote, "I have missed over 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." I have to say I think of that quote often because it really inspires me to just get yourself up and move along. And that's probably partly why he was so successful is because of those failures.

Next one, John Grisham. He got rejected by 15 publishers and 30 agents for his first novel, A Time to Kill. Now more than 60 million copies of his books are in print. The next one was a little bit surprising to me, but Star Wars. Star Wars was rejected by every movie studio in Hollywood. Before 20th Century Fox finally produced it. It went on to be one of the largest grossing movies in film history, and keeps producing as we know now.

Next is Woody Allen, Academy Award-winning writer, producer, and director. Woody Allen flunked Motion Picture Production at New York University and the City College of New York. He also failed English at New York University, and yet he went on to write and direct 54 films for which he won four Academy Awards. Now I partly blame the school system for this, and we've talked about this a bit in the podcast too. The school system's broken, but good for Woody Allen for overcoming. That would be a really hard rejection. 

Tyler Perry, one of my faves. In 1992, actor, playwright and filmmaker Tyler Perry wrote, produced and starred in his first theatre production, I Know I've Been Changed. Which was somewhat informed by his difficult upbringing. He put all his savings into the show, and it failed miserably. The run lasted just one weekend and only 30 people came to watch. Oof, that hurts. But he kept up with the production, working more odd jobs, and often slept in his car to get by. And six years later, Perry finally broke through, when on its seventh run, the show became a success. Gosh, it's just hard to see how somebody so successful could have so many breakdowns. And we often say oh, people with these overnight successes and we don't know that overnight was six years of rejection. Tyler Perry has gone on to an extremely successful career as a director, writer and actor. And in 2011, Perry was named Forbes Highest-Paid Man in Entertainment having earned $130 million that year. He now has an estimated net worth of $800 million. Wooh Tyler Perry! Good job.

Another one, I've got more for you, Howard Schultz. When Howard Schultz was raising money to start Starbucks. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, was turned down 217 times. If he had given up after 200 rejections, there'd be no Starbucks. And that would make a lot of us cry, wouldn't it?

Herschel Walker, let's go to sports. When NFL running back Herschel Walker was in junior high school he wanted to play football, but the coach told him he was too small. He advised young Herschel to go out for track instead. But undaunted by the lack of encouragement and support. He ignored the coach's advice and began an intensive training program. He took it upon himself and built himself up and only a few years later, he won the Heisman Trophy. Ah, what a good story.

Got a couple more for you, Walt Disney, ah, such a love. Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas, of all things. And he also went bankrupt several times before he built Disney Studios, Disneyland and later Disney World.

Okay, the founder of Honda. This is a story about what it's like to have a horrible rejection be a gift. So, Soichiro Honda wanted to work for Toyota, but they turned him down, he was rejected. But he didn't give up his dream of building cars, and obviously later went on to found Honda Motor Company.

So my question to you is, what will your fail forward story be? Will you let failure define you and stop you? It's important to remember that we, you, me, we all are going to face failures. And when you choose to fail forward, instead of fall on your face, you can achieve success you're looking for. So the next time you think of quitting or giving up when you have a moment of failure. Remember these stories of the people who instead chose to fail forward and create great success in their lives. Well, we're here to help you at IDOL courses Academy. We help you build your professional portfolio, revise your resume, prepare for interviews and give you valuable feedback on what you design. 

Sign up for IDOL courses Academy using my code CLASSROOM100 and get $100 off enrollment today. It's time to take control and make the career change that will change your life. It changed mine. See you next time.

Send your stories or your questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram  @leavingtheclassroom.