Greetings! The triumph of failure. An oxymoron?­­ For those of us in the personal change business, successes often come after multiple failures. James Prochaska points out how constructive change becomes more likely after each failed attempt.

Earlier this week, I bought a box of doughnuts to share with my wife. Now it’s Wednesday, the box is empty and my wife is none the wiser.

Another romantic gesture thwarted…but do I give up? Not this quixotic individual.

Can you imagine an entrepreneur, a company or a nation giving up after a single setback? Not much would be going on these days.

Often, it’s the adjustments made to these little setbacks that create big accomplishments. So much of the work we do in the caring professions is to listen to those we serve and support them in making adjustments in their lives. Learning from our failures is one sure way of moving in a positive direction.

If we think of our whole life as a work week, Wednesday noon would be a type of midlife evaluation. I am someone working on the “Friday” years of my life, and I still keep chalking up little failures both personally and professionally. What’s changed is I now look at my mistakes or miscalculations as steps toward success. I’m triumphing because of all those big and little adjustments I’ve been making earlier in my week.

My colleague and friend, David Mee-Lee, reminds me how, in life, as well as in effective counseling, one improves by always moving away from what isn’t working to what will work.

Accepting failure is one of the natural ways of getting to where we want to go. Even little failures (like eating too many doughnuts) can lead to positive results (like coming up with an even better way to make my wife feel special).


A “life in the week”of Don Kuhl…

In the Monday and Tuesday of Don’s life, he…

Stuttered his way into the bottom half of his class of 1963 at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois.

Flunked out of the University of Illinois in 1965.

Graduated first in his class of three in 1967 from The Hiram Scott College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The school closed a few years later.

Served as Director of Student Services at Midwestern College in Denison, Iowa in 1968. It closed in 1970.

Served as Dean of Students at Tahoe Paradise College in California. It closed shortly after Don left.

Started two statewide sports magazines, one in Colorado and one in Wisconsin. They both failed.

In the Wednesday of his life, he…

Received a Master of Science degree from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Miraculously, it is still in operation.

Worked in student administration for the University of Wisconsin system in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s still going strong.

Served as Vice President for Business Development for a successful healthcare organization in Wisconsin.

In the Thursday and Friday of his life, he…

Started The Change Companies® in 1989 to help individuals make personal life changes. Today, The Change Companies® works with nearly 4,000 agencies and corporations and has assisted over 20 million individuals to recognize the joy of making positive life choices.

Continues to make mistakes each day and grows stronger with each one.

He’d love to hear how your week is going.