The Elements

By Joe Kuhns   |   October 3, 2017

The Power of Embracing Failure

Categories: Leadership, Performance Evaluation, Practice Management

In most circumstances, the more you lead the better you become. You will have moments of success, which should be cherished and noted. But failure can also provide a stepping stone to success in all aspects of life, if used properly.

Throughout my military career, I picked up quite a few sayings about embracing failure:

  • “Failure is only a failure if you don’t learn from it”
  • “You have not failed until you quit trying”
  • “F.A.I.L. = First Attempt In Learning”

Do not be afraid of failure. All the great leaders, athletes, and warriors have failed, and failed more than once. Some of the hardest lessons I have learned have been through my failures or someone else’s. It’s said that “calm seas never made a good sailor.”

That is true about anything in life. You will always have rough spots, trials, hard times and adversity that you face. The question is, are you committed enough to go through that adversity? Winners do, losers don’t!

It is a true failure if you quit, stop trying, give up or surrender. Look at it as a mindset shift from thinking failure to a minor or major setback but never defeat. Always moving forward no matter how many detours or setbacks that disguise themselves as failures that try to get you to quit or give up.

My marriage alone has seen its fair share of rough water, but my wife and I have survived with all its setbacks, which has made our marriage stronger to weather bigger storms if need be.

The key is to learn from your mistakes and not keep repeating them. In my line of work, repeating your mistakes will only make you a poor leader and can get someone killed or get you killed.

Perhaps in a financial advisor’s line of work, the learning curve doesn’t come with as high of a price, but lively hoods are at stake, the learning curve can still be very steep at times. Clients, employees, partners. They count on you, and sometimes you will fail them. Those moments can be an opportunity for progress, if you choose to embrace them and avoid repeating them.

Always demonstrating humbleness to your teammates in times of setbacks taking full responsibility will only strengthen the team, relationships, and build your character.

Remember, don’t be afraid to fail. Instead, embrace the learning you get from your failures!


Joe Kuhns
Strategic Partner

Joe founded CoverDown Consulting in early 2017 shortly after his retirement from the US military where he spent 26 years operating as U.S. Navy SEAL in the service of our great nation.

Through years of training and fighting alongside some of the toughest and disciplined warriors of today and seeing their commitment to one another, combined with great leadership, a team can accomplish anything and everything, no matter what adversity lies ahead. Joe loves to see people overcome and succeed at the impossible which is only possible by great leadership and team cohesiveness at every level. That is what makes the Navy SEALs one of the best fighting force in the world today.

CoverDown Consulting channels Joe’s experience in the Navy Seals to take your team to the next level of success in all areas of your life. These character traits are not isolated to just one area but will have rippling effects across your team’s entire life and relationships inside and out of the realm of work. Joe has held multiple leadership positions throughout his career, from training, to combat, too advising senior officers in key positions of command. His vast knowledge, expertise and experience in leadership and team building combined with a no-nonsense approach to teaching and facilitation makes him most qualified to help your team reach peak performance.

Joe has performed and lived by one of the SEAL’s most cornerstone sayings for his entire career and carries that same belief where ever he goes, “You must earn your Trident every day” or translated would mean “You must earn your spot on the Team everyday”

Joe enjoys outdoor activities with family and friends, and is an active Christian serving others wherever and whenever he can. He’s been happily married to his wife Nancy for 30 years and has two daughters.


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