Learning from Failure: The Surprising Secret of Wealth-Building and Success

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

Henry Ford

Today’s guest post comes from Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach, who I’ve known for more than 25 years and whose ideas have made a profound difference in my professional success and my quality of life. We are grateful to be able to feature this guest post from him. The core lesson is an important one that should be applied to our finances as well as other aspects of life. 

– Kim D. H. Butler

What You Can Learn From Mistakes

From setback to breakthrough using the mindset of successful entrepreneurs.

It’s been said that entrepreneurs are a different breed, and in many ways, I believe this is true.

Over 40 years of coaching successful entrepreneurs, one of the most significant differences I’ve noticed between these high-achieving business owners and the general population is one that contributes directly and greatly to their success and happiness.

It’s a certain mindset they have around their experiences in life, and the great thing about this mindset is that anyone can develop and benefit from it.

Win or Learn — Your Choice.

These successful entrepreneurs look at every experience in one of two ways: either they see themselves winning, or they see themselves learning. In the first situation, what they expected to happen does happen or exceeds expectations; in the second, their expectations aren’t met, and, in fact, the result could be seen as a real setback.

These entrepreneurs, though, don’t see a setback in a negative light. They see it as an opportunity to learn, and, in many cases, the learning far exceeds what they would have achieved from winning. In fact, I’ve seen entrepreneurs have their greatest breakthroughs after what most people would consider a failure.

I believe these types of breakthroughs happen as a result of the negative energy that floods your nervous system at the very moment an unexpected setback occurs. You’re shocked, blindsided, and the energy this generates is powerful.


But, if you haven’t consciously cultivated the mindset that a setback is an opportunity for useful learning, not only does that negative energy go to waste, the lingering negativity can rock confidence and prevent growth. 

The Experience Transformer

In the Strategic Coach Program, entrepreneurs use a thinking tool we call The Experience Transformer to capture the learning from both positive and negative experiences, so they can repeat the former and avoid the latter.

Looking back at a negative situation, for example, you list all the things that did work (because there are always things that did) and all the things that didn’t work, and then think about how you would do it over again if you had the chance. The strategies you come up with represent the learning that will prevent that type of situation from happening again — and give you the confidence to take good advantage of similar new opportunities.

Very successful entrepreneurs never repeat their setbacks. They use the new learning from their mistakes to continually move to a higher and higher level of performance and achievement, transforming what most people see as failure into their greatest successes.

Author Dan Sullivan founded Strategic Coach, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs multiply their results. For more than 30 years, Strategic Coach has offered successful entrepreneurs a unique process for extraordinary growth, higher income, and exceptional quality of life. 

Hnads holding up a sign against the sky that says learn from mistakes. Learning from failure.

Kim’s PostScript: Learning From Failure

The Experience Transformer from Strategic Coach is something that I use in my business to this very day. In fact, after any major launch or event, my team and I write up our thoughts on what worked or didn’t work. That way we are always improving what we do—after all, why would we want to repeat a “failed” experience, even if it was only a moment or a small thing? I’m not asking for perfection, I’m seeking lifelong progress. I’m grateful that the Prosperity Thinkers’ team is also committed to this progress, so we can grow together.

A Culture of Learning

The reality is, failure happens. Sometimes, it happens often. It’s what we do with it that counts, which is why I am thankful for a team that is eager to learn. Whether you’re building your own business, or working in one, I encourage you to foster a culture of learning as much as possible. Doing so ensures that everyone’s eye is on success in the long run. It also helps your team build trust wit hone another. If your team knows you support their learning, even if they have to learn from mistakes on occasion, you’re going to have exponential growth. These are the team members who will take their learning and turn it into winning.

When you have a team that can help each other learn instead of playing the blame game, you also have a team of people who support the greater vision of your business. When you have that, you have a team that has unlimited potential.

How to Learn from Mistakes in Finance

The learning experiences can be so critical to real success, however, it is important that you learn. There comes a point at which you’re not really learning from your experiences if you’re not translating that into winning. Right? Because as Dan Sullivan wrote, you’re either winning or you’re learning. And while this can be a common dichotomy for businesses, I also see this happening in finance. So many people have been playing the investments game only to lose time after time. And while they may be learning time after time, they’re not translating that into winning. And I think that’s often because people are still thinking inside the box.

Rather than questioning whether the stock market is actually the right place to be investing, people make micro-adjustments to their strategies or their options. The problem is that the stock market is all gambling anyway. You may win one day, yet that doesn’t mean much if you lose the next. The strategies are an illusion that make people more comfortable. Perhaps it’s time to learn to do things in a completely new way… outside of the stock market.

Prosperity Economics and Financial Success

The financial institutions teach us to keep “trusting” the market even after repeated market crashes and win-lose cycles. Instead, why don’t we apply this principle there and LEARN what actually WORKS so that we do NOT repeat our losses?

THAT’S what Prosperity Economics is all about. Our friend Phil Bodine asks, “How much more money would you have today if you just didn’t take the unnecessary risks?” To that, we say, “Amen!” Not if but WHEN the next stock market crash happens, those using Prosperity Economics strategies will not suffer the losses, the stress, and the credit crunch of their neighbors.

It all goes back to the 7 Principles of Prosperity. When you experience a financial setback, take your process through the Principles, and see if they align with your actions. Chances are, there are some fundamentals missing. The Principles of Prosperity are a great litmus test for your financial decisions so that you can actually learn from failure. Then, you can apply those Principles for success.

Position Yourself for Financial Success, and Learn from Your Mistakes

If you think you’ve had plenty of learning experiences and are ready to learn from your mistakes, we’re here to support you on your journey. We’ve been there, and done that, and we know what works and what doesn’t. The problem is that the financial media is not thrilled to share those secrets so that you can learn from your mistakes—they much prefer the status quo.

There’s no need to brace yourself for your next market loss. If you would like to position yourself to remain prosperous in virtually any economic environment, contact us today. We help people find growth, certainty, liquidity, and peace of mind. You’ll learn creative life insurance strategies to grow liquidity that you can leverage and use during your lifetime and to facilitate tax-free wealth transfers. You can be free of any assets that are correlated to the stock market and have cash you’re guaranteed not to lose.

To learn more about Prosperity Thinkers and our Prosperity Economics strategies, sign up for our Prosperity Action Pack to receive our favorite content on wealth-building, tailored to help you get ahead.

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