reframe failure

“Learn from your failure and it’s not failure. Do it again and it is.”

[Tweet this quote]

Three Important Updates: 

1. If you didn’t hear, the newly designed and updated 2013 Goal Setting and Action Workbook is live. You can download your totally free copy by clicking here. Consider it our New Year’s gift to you!

2. Congrats to Lucas, Jeremy, Mark, Jason and Heather for winning the comment contest at the end of December. We have already shipped you Barrie Davenport’s free 52-Week Life Passion Project Book & Workbook. It will go great with our Live Off Your Passion Course!

3. Oh and we’re trying out a new comment system this week that we’re hoping will help bring our community closer together and allow for more connection. If reading this in email please check it out, leave a comment and let us know what you think! Be sure to share your biggest lesson of 2012 too :).

Now for the big (and sometimes painful) lessons from 2012…

*****

If You’re Learning, There Are No Mistakes

One thing I’ve learned over the years, and especially over the last few, is the more you do, the more you’ll screw up.

But I’ve also realized that screwing up is a good thing. As long as you learn and correct as a result.

It reminds me of the IBM employee who did something that cost the business $10 million. After a long chat with his boss, the employee said, “Wow, I thought you were going to fire me.” The boss responded, “Are you kidding? I just paid $10 million for your education. You’re not going anywhere!”

Every lesson is worth learning. But none of them are worth learning twice.

That’s why as part of my Weekly Planning Process (one of the free workbooks that’s part of our Passionate Work Toolkit), I spend at least a few minutes every Monday morning writing down every lesson from the previous week. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. You’d be surprised how many things we learn in a week. But if we don’t take a few minutes on a regular basis to stop, reflect and assimilate, then most of that education is all for nothing.

Since I’ve started to keep track of these bits of education, as well as the things I’m most proud of, that hour every Monday morning has become a highlight of my week.

Over the past few days, I reviewed every week from last year and cherry-picked the most powerful lessons learned. I hope they have been as helpful for you as they have been for me. I’ve also spread some of my favorite quotes from last year through the list, which is also part of my weekly process. And as it turned out, the posts I linked to below are the most popular and helpful ones from 2012.

If any of the lessons speak to you, I’ve made it easy to share them on Twitter using the links at the end of each.

Let the learning begin…

The Biggest Business Lessons & Mistakes of 2012

1. Focus is the key to the world. Focus on a few things and do them incredibly well. Thank my dad, Bill Dinsmore, for that one! [Tweet this lesson]

2. Focus on goals and outcomes that are in your control. It’s not about how much weight you lose, but how well you stuck to your diet and exercise routine. Control what you can control! [Tweet]

3. You cannot control the outcome. You can only control the process. Nail the process and you’ll get your outcome. [Tweet]

4. When on stage, tell stories, move around, change your voice, pause and have fun – that is what inspires! Thanks to Garth Brooks. [Tweet]

5. Stop trying to fix people. If someone has acted a certain way for years, don’t expect something different. Change your expectations. [Tweet]

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

- Maya Angelou. [Tweet]

6. The more you help people, the better everything in life will be. Focus everything on helping those around you. [Tweet]

7. The more you do, the more you’ll do. Success begets success. Do stuff! [Tweet]

8. Health and working out are the most powerful productivity hacks of all time. Thanks, Richard Branson. [Tweet]

9. A message becomes a movement when every member of the mission becomes its leader. And when everyone starts to lead, a revolution begins. Thanks, Steve Kamb. [Tweet]

10. A movement isn’t about any one person. It is about what’s possible when everyone with the same beliefs come together to make magic. Live Your Legend is not my movement, it is OURS. That’s why we launched our monthly Living Legends Reader Spotlight last year. If you haven’t told us your story, please do – we’d love to feature you! [Tweet]

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

- Mahatma Gandhi [Tweet]

11. Video is huge for making an impact and connecting with people. That’s why we made it a huge part of How to Connect with Anyone.

12. Relationships are EVERYTHING. Nothing matters without them. With them anything is possible. [Tweet]

environment is everything

13. Despair = Suffering – Meaning. You must find meaning in everything! Thanks to Chip Conley for this one. [Tweet]

14. Digital communication is terrible for emotional topics. Make the effort to meet by phone or in person. Stop focusing on how much human you can take out of something — add it back in. Thanks to Simon Sinek for this one. [Tweet]

15. Innocence is so powerful – for connecting, for rapport, for everything. Embrace being a beginner. [Tweet]

16. Everything I learned from my weekend with Warren Buffett.

17. Do lean launches. You do not and should not have the whole thing built in advance. Sell, design, built — the most powerful way to build something that genuinely helps people. Thanks to Frank Robinson for this one. Priceless! [Tweet]

18. People, especially famous people, are not usually everything they seem. Be careful not to idolize and take their actions as gospel. [Tweet]

19. Know how you work best. What environment inspires you? What fuels you? For me, it’s a very planned schedule. For others it might be no schedule at all. Don’t try to be someone else. [Tweet]

20. Even if you could charge people for things, it doesn’t always mean you should. Give things away. Do things that make people’s day. It’s worth the cost. We give away more high quality free content on Live Your Legend than most any place on the Internet. If you haven’t seen our Passionate Work Toolkit yet, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. We spend a lot of time and money creating this stuff, and we love doing it for all you. That’s also why we mailed printed posters of our Connect with Anyone Creed to all 279 How to Connect with Anyone Charter Members in 25 countries around the world. It cost us about $10 per person and it was one of my favorite parts of the year. [Tweet]

21. Stop puffing your chest out. People love vulnerability. There is no better way to connect. Show who you are. Share your failures. Take a shot even though you might miss. This is why I am almost 100% sure that I am going to take on the biggest, scariest and most vulnerable project of my life this year — trying to build and launch a physical product as a living, breathing, real-time case study for all of us to learn and pursue together as it either eventually succeeds or fails. I’m okay being the fool who is the first one to start dancing. Especially if it makes those around me feel comfortable enough to join the party. [Tweet]

“If you tell them how good you are, you probably aren’t that good.”

- Danny Patterson  [Tweet]

22. Nature & travel are my very best places to reflect, think big and create. The worst place is in my office. [Tweet]

23. Step #1 of creating a product is creating a sales page. Force yourself to know your audience’s biggest pains and needs. Then build something that genuinely helps them. Thanks to Chris Guillebeau for that one. [Tweet]

24. Don’t plan every single thing out in advance. If you have a vision and know the first few steps, that’s enough to start. If you know everything involved before you begin, you’ll likely never start. [Tweet]

25. Most every mention of passive income is a flat-out lie. Even the guy who claims to make thousands while he travels the world for a year meeting women and sipping fine wine likely worked his ass off to set that up. Stop believing it’s easy. Then get to work. [Tweet]

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

- John K. Kennedy [Tweet]

26. Treating your customers like friends and family is the most powerful differentiator on the planet. Pristine customer service builds a massive moat around your business. [Tweet]

27. Time is available for those who make time for it. If it matters enough to you, you’ll find the time. Thanks to Leo Babauta. [Tweet]

28. Writing and inspiration are habits to be developed. They’re not something you wait for. They’re something you do. If you’re a writer, then write. [Tweet]

29. All I learned from 2012 World Domination Summit: 74 Unconventional Stories, Ideas & Beliefs for Making an Unforgettable Impact in a Conventional World

believe in possibility

30. There is no more powerful way to influence change than being in the flesh, live on a stage and in the audience. That’s why speaking at TEDx was so damn important to me. [Tweet]

31. Say no to the things you don’t care about so you can say, “Hell, yes!” to the things you love. Cut back on what doesn’t matter. Thanks, Derek Sivers. [Tweet]

32. If you really want to help people, don’t give them the idea things are always rosy. Let them know how tough it can be. This is exactly why I am so transparent on LYL and why I wrote about How I Got Invited to Speak at TEDx. Thanks to Debra Russell. [Tweet]

“My palms are sweaty, my heart’s racing – so I must be ready for a breakthrough.”

- Debra Russell  [Tweet]

33. If today is frustrating, realize there’s more possibility tomorrow. A sand trap is only a few feet from a hole in one. Don’t be surprised. Know what you signed up for. Take it for what it is. Don’t make it any bigger. [Tweet]

34. Don’t make things such a big-ass deal.  [Tweet]

35. Not everything you do is going to hit. It never does. That’s how the world works. Keep building and creating anyway. [Tweet]

“Find the people who say you’re crazy not to.”

- Jenny Blake [Tweet]

36. Expectations change everything. Be positive, but know what’s realistic so you can deal with a brick wall when you slam into it. [Tweet]

37. Sometimes the most obvious things can make the biggest difference. Live Off Your Passion wasn’t selling as expected and I was overwhelmed on which of the 10+ channels to focus on. I eventually picked the bottleneck, the sales page, and having one point of focus created massive motivation. 80 hours later of work interacting with customers, the product and the product description page, the conversion went from .5% to 4.3%. [Tweet]

38. Notice your 80/20 opportunities. When they hit, work your face off to capitalize. This why I put in 30 hours in under three days to spread the word on my TEDx talk. [Tweet]

39. It’s not what you do, it’s how you experience each day as you do what you do. Don’t get too caught up in checking boxes. [Tweet]

40. When you plan too much, it’s tough to look forward to any of it. 10 amazing things turn into 10 chores you can’t wait finish so you can finally relax. Do less. [Tweet]

41. You don’t have to and can’t possibly cover every part of a topic. Build it anyway! How to Connect with Anyone would have never come to life without this. [Tweet]

42. Growth requires smart investment – in time, in money, in people. Being too frugal kills growth. Know your 80/20. [Tweet]

43. Getting the right people to make you better can be the difference between success and failure. Last year I was able to find an amazing team including two designers, an editor, a video guy and an all-around rock star. I’ll introduce them all to you soon. No one does anything alone! [Tweet]

“I am what I am because of who we all are.”

- Ubuntu [Tweet]

44. There’s a time to build your audience and a time to build things to serve your audience. Each always require attention but you won’t nail them both at the same time. Focus on one then the other. [Tweet]

45. Being in person changes everything. We all learned this first hand with our first ever Live Your Legend LIVE event at Samovar Tea Lounge. There will be many more to come. [Tweet]

46. Sometimes it’s best to just start building something before you know all it will contain. You must start making progress. Momentum is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Thanks to Corbett Barr for that. [Tweet]

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”

- Ben Mack

47. I will never get it all done. And that’s fine. Just be okay with it. Focus on your most important work. [Tweet]

48. We have finite willpower — especially at the end of the day. When we’re doing a lot of things everyday, even if they are our strengths, we just don’t have the energy for all of it. Decisions drain our energy. Do your most important work first. [Tweet]

49. Trying to not miss anything will cause you to miss everything. The best way to do it all is to only do one thing at a time. Crush that and move on. [Tweet]

50. Nothing worthwhile takes less than five minutes (or even 30 minutes). Stop underestimating how long things take. Plan buffer time. If it will take an hour, plan for 90 minutes. This is a huge component of my Weekly Planning Process. Thanks to Tony Robbins for that one. [Tweet]

51. Pay people what they’re worth. Tip well. Surprise them with generosity. After the Connect with Anyone launch sold out in a matter of days (Which totally took me off guard), I went on to pay a bonus to all of my team of between 40-80%. Nothing would have happened without them. It was the best money I spent all year. [Tweet]

52. Systems and teams make successful businesses possible. Scale and sustainable growth can’t exist without them. Thanks to Danny Patterson. [Tweet]

53. What sets the achievers apart from the dreamers is your ability to get stuff done regardless of the distractions. Everyone gets thrown off. What matters is how you deal with it. [Tweet]

focus is the key to the world

54. Knowing a topic incredibly well creates massive calm and confidence. Constantly sharpen how you help people. [Tweet]

55. Do things that people want to share and spread. These are the things that they know you worked your ass off to make happen and that you did mainly for other people. Give them something they’re proud to share. Do good work and people will reward you. [Tweet]

56. The best way to get the attention and trust of successful people is to do the most passionate world-changing work you’re capable of. [Tweet]

“Become impossible to ignore.”

[Tweet]

57. Operational leverage rules the world. Trading hours for dollars is a fine place to start, but take your time out of the equation as soon as possible. That is why I love the Internet! [Tweet]

58. The craziest, biggest most unreal s*/$ can happen in a matter of months and years if you just focus on building and adding value. Things don’t happen overnight, but if you put your head down and focus, they don’t have to take a lifetime either… [Tweet]

59. Do good work and provide real help. The rest will take care of itself.

[Tweet #59!]

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

- Theodore Roosevelt [Tweet]

Believe it or not, the above is just a taste of all I had on my list.

If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

If you’re not learning, you’re not living.

May the education never end!

-Scott

For the comments: What was one of the most powerful lessons you learned in 2012? Teach us something!

P.S. Oh and we’re trying out a new comment system this week that we’re hoping will help bring our community closer together and allow for more connection. Please check it out and leave a comment and let us know what you think!

2013 Goal Setting Guide

Have you Downloaded the 2013 Goal Setting & Action Workbook?

We spent small fortune in time and money to totally redesign the 2013 Goal Setting and Action Workbook, and since last week it’s been downloaded nearly 20,000 times!

This is one of our totally free gifts to you. All I ask in return is that you promise to use it and share it with one person who needs it.

Download the 2013 Goal Setting & Action Workbook by clicking here

P. P. S. Spend some time setting your big goals this week and weekend because next week I’m sharing all of my 2013 plans with you all and I expect you to do the same!

—–

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4


Leave a Reply

37 Responses to “Reframing Failure: The 59 Biggest Business & Personal Lessons (and mistakes) of 2012”

  1. Can’t wait to hear your biggest lessons guys!

  2. Ricky says:

    I want to try this new comment system. :-) The most powerful lesson I learned in 2012 was that who I talk to and listen to has the biggest impact on my internal state. I made more conscious choices about the people around me this year and that made it a stellar year, the year that I started my business, the year that I became happy with my love life, the year that I got even better friends, the year I got out of debt. In three days I turn 35, and the difference from when I turned 34 is enormous.

    • This is my biggest area of focus for 2013. In 2012 I learned this lesson on the flip side with how slow my progress has been. The power is in the people we surround ourselves with. Scott – Thanks for being such a powerful voice in this area!

  3. lacosta says:

    Hi Scott! First of all, thank you for the new Goal Setting & Action Workbook, I’m going through it right now.

    Here some of my latest life lessons:

    1) Just show up. Even if you don’t feel prepared enough or are afraid. Showing up is the first step to overcome fear and build the courage muscle.

    2) Join a like-minded motivated group. It’s easier to follow through with your plans if you can go with the flow and have an “accountability partners”.

    3) Concentrate on the essentials. The rest will somehow take care of itself.

    2013 will be a very eventful year for me. I’m looking forward to all the challenges!

    I wish you an awesome year full of great adventures Scott!

  4. Greetings from Atlanta: City of Peace. Wow! That’s an amazing list Scott. Thanks for your service to our global family. You’re following in the footsteps of Gandhi and Dr. King. Check out their quotes… Gandhi stated: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Dr. King stated: “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”

  5. The biggest lesson this past year for me was, “The time is now.” Now is the time to believe, now is the time to have faith, now is the time to move. Your life is happening right now.

  6. Kevin Wood says:

    Hey Scott!

    The most important lesson from last year is: never be afraid to ask.

    It’s always scary putting yourself out there. The worst they can say is no, and you never know where the doors you open are going to lead.

    Cheers to an epic 2013!

    • Kate Marolt says:

      Kevin, I love this. Asking opens up so many doors and I was so afraid of it for so long! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Anna Slobodyanyuk says:

      This is something I still have to work on, and I hope I will finally deal with it in 2013. Thanks for reminding, Kevin!

    • I learned to get comfortable with this one over the past couple of years. It’s truly amazing what you get if you simply ask for it. Like you said, the worst that could happen is that they say no and you’re back where you started. Learning not to take anything personally is the key to making this work with ease.

      Whether you’re asking the “big names” for help or negotiating your phone bill, you won’t know what’s possible unless you ask.

  7. WOW. A huge congrats to you Ricky. What progress a year can make! People really are everything. I’m glad you’ve seen the light as much as I have on that topic…

  8. aarongblack says:

    I’ve heard it said before but it’s worth reiterating in light of this post; as long as we’re willing to learn there are no failures – only lessons.

    The biggest lesson I’ve learned recently is the importance of integrating life. We pursue so many ideas, interests, and hopes that they end up working against each other, or we dilute ourselves to the point of ineffectiveness. I’ve learned that we must find the common thread among these efforts & find a way to make them reciprocally reinforcing.

  9. Mike Grooms says:

    Kudos to Scott for LYL. Found this yesterday and received your learnings email today. Awesome. Biggest lesson for me this year was realizing the power and freedom in “Authenticity and Vulnerability” (work by Brene Brown). Being sincere and real is way more freeing then being what others expect me to be…realizing this last year and working hard to be as authentic and vulnerable as I can this year.

  10. Mark Newsome says:

    A good evening to you Scott!

    The most powerful lesson I learned in 2012 is to never, ever forget what leisure really means.

    It’s not exactly what it seems, and you have to learn a little ancient Greek and a little Latin to understand, but once you do it can really help correct that modern dysfunctional relationship between work and leisure.

  11. Tom Dixon says:

    Biggest lesson for me in 2012 is to not let fear hold you back – if you are comfortable you are probably not growing.

    • Anna Slobodyanyuk says:

      Totally agree with this one. For me 2012 was the year when I realized that if you overcome your (usually groundless) fears, you can do anything.

  12. Greetings from Malaysia: The Asian Heaven of Food. =D

    The biggest lesson i’ve got in year 2012 is that “believe in your ideas, vision. dreams and plans”.

    Because who would believe in them if the person who create that belief does not? with the strong belief, one are capable of taking action. Making the belief, vision and dream a reality. Many are not aware it is possible to live out off one passion (I was one of them, thank God!).

    It does not necessarily means we don’t have to take consideration of other’s belief or vision, it is just that when we share our belief, our vision with others, they will do the same and eventually, we can create greater clarity to our belief and vision. What is there in our mind, we can get more ideas by the sharing of others and we make it more possible to achieve our vision, our dream.

    and thanks heaps for the experience going through our stories here, Scott and all LYL family members!

  13. Anna Slobodyanyuk says:

    The biggest lessons for me in 2012 were my realizations that it is absolutely okay to be the real me, with all my imperfections, weak sides, and opinions, and that the same goes for everyone. So, I started to accept myself and others more, and it made my life much more easy and peaceful, which I am immensely grateful for.

  14. Gay says:

    Wow some powerful stuff Scott and some for me that were straight to the heart! Thanks!

    Powerful lesson: knowing how to “step out of the box” and keeping that momentum going! 2013 is going to be an awesome year for all of us, so keep it going.

  15. Philip says:

    It’s been exciting following your journey this past year Scott!

    My biggest lesson was learning that the equation I had been working to subconsciously was wrong i.e. work hard + success = happiness, when really it’s work hard + be happy = success.

    Since I have started focusing on this approach I’m working more on what I love and feel is important irrespective of whether I know what the commercial outcome will be. I’ve also spent more time practising how to be happier. Suprisingly this has resulted in greater commercial success, but in a way that flows rather than it feeling like I’m grinding it out.

    Here’s to learning more! :)

  16. Regine says:

    The biggest lessons from my last yearS have been that it is time to grow up :) I worry too much, I am too unsure as to where I want to go and how I want to live.

    But “Worrying means praying for what you don’t want!”

    http://growingupproject.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/worrying-is-praying-for-what-you-dont-want/

  17. Brittany Deal says:

    Thanks Scott for this great post!

    Biggest Lesson in 2012: “If not now then when?”

    It is easy to push something off until tomorrow, but tomorrow quickly becomes today. This happens with tasks that are difficult because these are the tasks we don’t know how to do. Learning to execute difficult talks “now” meant confronting the “why” behind the procrastination. Was it fear, uncertainty, confusion? Once I figured out the why it was much easier to then deal with how to overcome that road bock and begin the task.

  18. Hey Scott, I’ve just come across your website and become a subscriber. I loved your post on 3 steps to grow a blog. That’s advice I’m going to take to heart.

    The attitude of mistakes being a learning experience is awesome. It takes all the pressure off getting out there and actually doing stuff. “hey, I’m going to give this a go because if I bugger it up, well then at least I’ve learnt something”.

    I also think it’s really important to learn from the mistakes of those who’ve been brave enough to go before us. Through taking on the wisdom of others we smash down our learning curve and can focus on making mistakes that matter!

    Cheers,

    Orrin

  19. Ahmad says:

    You are epic. You still gotta work on your speaking skills and make them on par ;-), but you’re writing has by far topped everyone else that I read up upon…because the sincerity and the value pours through. Keep it up man.

  20. EddyAzar says:

    Iterate prolifically & fearlessly.

    Persistence is remembering what you want

    Focus 100% on the moment & what you have devoted it to

    Refuse to be outworked

    Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

    Observe, & be above, your mind & emotions.

    Body language is irresistible in it’s impact on the mind.

  21. BrentKrizo says:

    Most important lesson of 2012 – Get out of your head, and get in touch with your heart. My wife really helped me with this one. I’m starting my own blog and while having her read some prospective posts she said I should write from the heart more. The posts were typical, dry, “live better” BS. I was trying to be “the expert” (head), trying to be something I wasn’t. I needed to let more of “me” (heart) through. You can go to millions of places on the web for average self help advice, but only 1 place to get Brent, and that is what I need to allow to shine through. I know it will also take a lot of hard work (as you have documented) to make the blog successful, but even with hard work, if it isn’t authentic then it won’t have a prayer.

    As for the comment section I had to retype this 3 times…had it typed in and went to submit it and when I logged in as a user it had cleared out the window. Not the end of the world, just frustrating…)

    Keep up the great work Scott!

  22. Stumbled upon your blog from Corbett’s blog, Scott; was interesting to check it out.

    I just published a similar post with one difference: I was so perfect last year that I had hard time coming up with a single blunder, so I had to ask other bloggers to help me… ;)

    Off to read some more…

  23. Iris Barzen says:

    Biggest lessons:

    1. A life without dreams is not worth living.
    2. If you’re committed and put in the work, magical things will happen.
    3. People will feel it when you’re serious and passionate about making your dreams a reality. They will help you.
    4. Shifting from your ego to genuinely helping others makes everything easier.

  24. Man, this was a great post.

    Probably my biggest lesson from 2012 was: Don’t take reality too seriously.

    Another one, on a similar vein, was “play life from as Big and as Light a place as possible.” I find things go better that way.

    Thanks for the work that went into this post, lots of very valuable gems in here.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  25. Guest says:

    My biggest lesson was learning that people actually do want to hear about what I’ve done to live a better life. I started sharing them on my website and started getting positive feedback. Some of my friends are even adopting some of my lessons into their own lives. Now I need to figure out how to grow my audience beyond my friends and family. Oh and I also was one of the winners of Barrie Davenport’s books. You mentioned my name in the top of this post. I’m Jason. I also learned that it is possible to get a response from hard to reach people. Barrie actually helped me make a decision through email. My site: http://www.thissuitelife.com

  26. Karen H. says:

    Does anybody here know how I could send Scott an email? Please… Thank you…

  27. My #1 was “have compassion for the wisdom of your body” from my acupuncturist. It changed my whole mindset and attitude towards myself and I found I accomplished so much more when I quit wasting energy judging my “failures” and “weaknesses”.

  28. My biggest lesson was (is) to LOOK for the answers. They won’t come if I’m not looking… Once I start looking, they’re everywhere!!

  29. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday.
    It will always be exciting to read through content from other writers and practice a little
    something from their sites.

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