Insert Failure Here

  • I've been noodling around this concept of failure since our last online clinic, "Failure is an Option." What I've found interesting is that failure has actually been celebrated as a learning tool for a very, very long time! Some of the most successful people of our time see failure as a necessary ingredient that guides us and view it as a natural part of a life fully lived.

    Here's just a few of MANY quotes that celebrate failure:

    “A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.” (Friedrich Nietzsche; 1844–1900)
    “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” (Thomas A. Edison)
    "Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. "(Truman Capote)
    "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default." (J. K. Rowling)

    However, the non-profit world is just starting to learn about the power to failure in evaluation. A large part of this is driven by informed funders who now ask, "What challenges have you experienced? What unexpected outcomes have occurred? What have you learned?"

    It's time for non-profits to look failure in the eye. How will you make room for learning from failure in your Culture of Evaluation? How will you create an atmosphere of trust where everyone can honestly discuss their progress and collectively learn from unsuccessful experiences?

    Your answer might be in this resource from the McConnell Foundation- "Introduction to Failing Forward Activities"

    This guide could help you and the people you work with to collectively build a strong foundation that no longer fears failure but, instead, appreciates it.

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