I have spent the last couple days at the Global Leadership Summit organized by the Willow Creek Association, listening to speakers such as Colin Powell, Liz Wiseman, and Mark Burnett talk about leadership. The speakers are mainly “exceptions” – those who fulfilled their specific calling despite their own challenges – and the program itself is designed to influence how well we lift each other up. One of the underlying messages this year, in addition to how we can influence and inspire, was failure.
The cynic in me would say that the conference is another program designed to make money and push a spiritual agenda. The cynic in me would also often be the one to fail once and quit. I no longer look at these influential people with a cynical eye toward the fact that for every one of their success stories there are 999 others which have resulted in failure. Their failures are what have made them the people they are, and it’s how they failed that helped them ultimately succeed.