categories: church, creativity, development, innovation, leadership
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November 4th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

16 comments (+ Add)

Letting Go of the Fear of Failure

The fear of failure paralyzes too many people.

I’ve found one of the best gifts God can give a leader is the gift of failure.

Too many of us are not doing what we feel called to do because we’re afraid to fail.

As I observe the people around me, it seems the most effective have failed far more times than the least effective.

The people making the biggest impact seem to:

1)  Try something outlandish.

2)  Fail.

3)  Learn.

4)  Adjust.

5)  Try something that works better.

Failure is never final. It is often the first step to success.

If you haven’t failed in awhile, why don’t you try something crazy and see what happens.

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there are a total of16
  1. Nov 4, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Fail forward! :)

  2. Nov 4, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Kurt..that rocks…I question (besides Christ Himself) what GREAT leader has never failed? I simply cannot name or think of one. Craig, your right to say “THE FEAR” of failure holds us back…People fear what they do not know and what they cannot control. We need to wake up and see the opposite of Fear is Faith…Christ’s Message… Believe, Have FAITH! (Its a choice…God is always letting US choose)

  3. Nov 4, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Failures are part of
    God’s recipe for success
    Do not grow weary…! (Gal 6:9)
    THANK YOU for this post!

  4. Nov 4, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Good thoughts and it reminds me of this quote: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

    In order to succeed we need to fail!

    I heard a great talk from Ewrin Mcmanus and at one point he screamed, “Go Fail Boldly”. I love it and if I am going down, I am going down swinging.

  5. Nov 4, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I used to be afraid of messing up or failing at something. So, I’d play it safe. In the last few years I have done some crazier things I felt God was asking me to do and in the eyes of the “world” I failed, but I see now God was just using those to teach me something more.

    The thought I cling to most recently is what Craig says about the quickest way to forget what God thinks about you is to worry what others think about you. (Something like that).

    Anyways, I am now, more than ever, I don’t look at so called failure as a real failure but an opportunity to do something better, greater, and more effective.

  6. 6Sonia Martin
    Nov 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Perhaps we lay on people burdens they cannot bear, perhaps we continue to tell them how they have failed,
    perhaps failure is what is taught. Maybe less emphasis on failure and an honest attempt to re-define success without reference to failure would be salve for the long-suffering and wounded spirit.

  7. Nov 4, 2009 at 10:42 am


    great post, I wonder how may great ideas and world changing ministries haven’t happened because of the fear of failure. praying that we all have a sense of audacity to act on some ideas that just seem to unreal to happen!

    Also…it was very cool of you to say hi yesterday! I know my bro-in-law is loving every minute serving at Thank you.

  8. Nov 4, 2009 at 10:51 am

    The way that Fear can paralyze you is amazing.
    I often give into the fear of failure and do not learn from failure but only let fear take over.
    Great points here, and I hope to continue to rely on God and not be paralyzed by fear.

  9. Nov 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I am currently reading “IT” (finally) and just finished the chapter on failing forward. Wow… this is a great reminder.

  10. Nov 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

    many years ago when I began working where I am today I bought something that I thought was good for my company…ended up being a terrible deal and the comment was made, “there is a tuition purchase”…a cool thought of the learning process of succeeding and going forward…I have since made bigger mistakes with bigger dollars and deals that were even worse, much worse…I know in that each and every time I fail or make a mistake that I am continuing to learn…at the same time I know these instances of ‘tuition’ have set me and my company for even greater periods of growth and good times…honored that in the beginning the folks I work with believed in me and they continue to do so to this day…they let me stumble and fail but their faith in me gave me the confidence and strength to go forward successfully…not truly looking forward to the next ‘tuition’ mistake but its gonna happen as we strive to be better tomorrow than we are today…

  11. Nov 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I’m glad to work for a place that is ok with their people failing… too often the mindset of our world is that you fail, you’re gone. This is a countercultural thought rich with truth. Thanks for creating a culture where failing is not only acceptable, it is required.

  12. Nov 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I wanna take my Lifegroup to a crazy leadership-building experience in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya…walk as a team up to a pack of lions… Whoever leads the group toward them usually does well, but then dies because the lions eat him/her.

    But the other people learn a lot about leadership in hard times and urgency :)

    No, I’m jking, but that’d be really cool to walk up to a pack of lions! Would be a great experience…

    But yea! I definitely (really this time) need to do something crazy with my group…We know the vision and the leaders are excited, but everyone else is just floatin. I’m gonna pray for God to give me/us something crazy to change and do!

  13. Nov 4, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I’m a risk taker by nature. However some of my risky or bold decisions in ministry have cost our family dearly $. I guess we are in the middle of #4 & looking torwards #5.How do you teach your children through the failure? We prayed our house would sell & God would take care of it. Yet a year later it hasn’t sold & probably won’t.We are 500 miles away. I’m sure God will use this but it hurts when my big ministry risks affect my family.

  14. Nov 9, 2009 at 2:31 am

    i think i will share this post with a few people, including myself. lol… good post sir.

  15. Nov 13, 2009 at 5:08 am

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