Chair’s Corner: Learning from Our Mistakes

By Teresa Snow, MU Health Care, Women’s Network Chair

We love to celebrate success in Women’s Network and for good reason – our members are high achievers. Recognizing success is important because it fuels confidence and serves as an example to others. But what if we also encouraged women to share their failures? It’s an interesting concept. If you are like me, you don’t always appreciate what you learn by making mistakes and don’t often share them.

Author John Maxwell says, “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.” His bestselling book titled Failing Forward explores why so many of us avoid failure at all costs. I was certainly one of them. From growing up a straight “A” high school student to being driven to move up in my broadcasting career, that performance mindset dominated my life for decades. But only seeing success does not prepare us for failure, which comes in many forms and eats away at our confidence. I have spent plenty an evening talking through my feeling of work failures with my husband or a friend. That time may have been better spent debriefing what went wrong, learning from my mistakes and moving on.

It is time to reframe our thoughts about failure and see it as John Maxwell does: as a stepping stone to future success. In his book and this blog, Maxwell lists these seven principles for failing forward.

  • Reject Rejection
  • Don’t Point Fingers
  • See Failure as Temporary
  • Set Realistic Expectations
  • Focus on Strengths
  • Vary Approaches to Achievement
  • Bounce Back

I saved this Inc. Magazine article for inspiration because tennis star Serena Williams didn’t point fingers after a 2021 loss at the Australian Open. She took failure head on. When asked why she lost, Williams made no excuses. She did not blame her loss on her injuries, the court surface or the judges but simply acknowledged that she make too many mistakes. Failure didn’t rock her confidence but fueled her to work to improve.

As I finish my year as Women’s Network Chair, I feel that there are times when I fell short in the role. But through success and failure, I hope to pass on what I learned to our incoming chair Liz Townsend Bird to strengthen the network for the future. We have much to celebrate! If I have learned one thing this year, it is to stay laser-focused on finding value in every touchpoint with the Women’s Network. Join me at the June luncheon as we celebrate #WNOneThing…One More Time!


Teresa Snow

Women’s Network Chair


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