Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn: An Interview with John Maxwell

Last week marked the publication of Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn by my good friend, John Maxwell. I recently had the opportunity to interview him about his book. In a moment, I’ll tell you how to get a free copy.


John has been my friend and mentor since I first started working with him in 1998. He had just finished writing The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I was the VP of Marketing at Thomas Nelson and and part of the team that helped get the book on the new York Times bestsellers list. It was the first of many for John.

The title of this book, Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, is, obviously, a play on the old phrase “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” Why did you give it that title?

Well, I definitely hate to lose. I’ve always been competitive.

Playing basketball as a kid, monitoring stats for my companies—I always want to win. But everyone loses. The question is, what do you do with that fact? “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose” implies that you just need to accept losing.

I didn’t like that attitude because it doesn’t help a person improve. So if you can’t eliminate loss, how do you make it productive either? You learn from it. I believe it’s the only way to turn losses around and make them work for you.

You talk in the book about our need to learn from our mistakes. What is a major mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

I actually tell this story in the book: Back in early 2009, after I spoke at my friend Chris Hodges’ church, a member offered me a gift: a handgun. I really am not a gun person, but I accepted his kind gesture and put the gun in my briefcase. I had flown to the event in a private plane, so there was no problem making the trip back home with the gun.

The problem came about a week later, when I went to the airport to fly commercial to my next speaking engagement. As the briefcase traveled down the conveyer belt in the security line, I suddenly realized—the gun was still in there! I had never taken it out after getting home.

At about the same moment, the TSA agent saw the gun on the x-ray. In spite of the fact that he knew me, of course he had to follow protocol. I was arrested, handcuffed and fingerprinted, and had my mug shot taken. The incident was reported in our local paper and quickly went national.

Even though eventually I was found to have done it unintentionally and the arrest was expunged from my record, I had the opportunity to do a lot of learning from that experience. The main thing I learned was that we are all one small step away from “stupid.” When I tell the story, people have a hard time believing anyone could be that stupid. The reality is, someone could. I’m just glad my stupidity didn’t cause more harm than it did.

You call reality the foundation of learning. Can you explain why you believe that’s true?

Well, my experience with the gun played out in front of the world, but many of our mistakes are more private. And it’s easier to deny or ignore them. However, pretending you didn’t mess up robs you of the opportunity to learn. I think acknowledging the reality of our situation is the very first thing that needs to happen. Only after that do we have an opportunity to grow from the mistake.

Sometimes it’s really hard to face the reality of a big mistake. It’s so tempting to try to cover it up. But covering up rarely works, and then you have an even bigger problem on your hands. I would much rather confess that I’m an idiot and choose to move forward and grow from the experience.

You tell a story in the book about a woman who came up to you and said she’d been reading your books and listening to your teaching for eight years, and that you’d given her the gift of hope. That really meant a lot to you. Why is that important to you?

I really believe that hope is the difference-maker. Whenever you lose, it’s hope that gives you the desire to overcome the loss. Hope for something better is the catalyst for wanting to learn. I’m so happy to hear that someone has received hope from my work because it means I’m giving them something vital that they need to grow and change.

Hope plays a big part in Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn. With this book, I’ve tried to help readers change the way they look at losses, cultivate qualities that help them respond to them, and develop the ability to learn from them.

I gave away 50 copies of Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn. To qualify, my readers had to comment below. You can find the list of winners here.

Question: What have you learned from a big loss? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Tamás Csikós

    Put in this way, fear of loosing means fear of learning. Well, that sounds much better…

  • Joe Lalonde

    I’ve learned that I can pick myself back up and continue on. Even to bigger and better things.

  • Chris G. Paulk

    I learned that I don’t always have all of the answers. The things I don’t know that I don’t know are what often bring defeat. Which is why I especially need to learn from my losses.

    • Chris G. Paulk

      Also, it appears the separate contact form link is broken. Or, my Safari browser isn’t off to a great start this morning. Any suggestions? Thanks

      • Michael Hyatt

        So sorry. It is fixed now. Thanks.

        • Guest

          Can u share the link… I am getting again broken link.

          • Gil Michelini

            Same here!

  • Eric S. Mueller

    The biggest thing I’ve learned from recent losses is: they’re not the end of the world. I had what I thought was a catastrophic layoff in 2010. I eventually ended up with an opportunity I never would have had if I’d stayed in that job. I’m making more money too.

    I’m also going through a divorce. I did everything I could to hold it together, and was beating myself up because it wasn’t enough. But I recently met a really sweet woman and she’s helping me realize divorce is not the end of the world.

    Side note: Michael, can you please put your RSS feed back to a full feed post? I can’t read your blog at work because for whatever reason they’re blocking your site. It’s an inconvenience to have to set your post back to unread, then wait until I get home to read and comment. It’s also inconvenient on mobile devices. I don’t know if forcing readers to click through makes your numbers go higher or not, but in all the years I’ve subscribed to blogs, I’ve considered it an inconvenience to readers.

  • Eric S. Mueller

    Also, your contact form isn’t working. I get “Oops, this page cannot be found!”

    • brianfalexander

      same here. :(

      • Michael Hyatt

        So sorry about that. I had a stray character in the URL. It is fixed now. Thanks.

        • Pam

          I cannot get on the contact form now.

  • Mike Williams

    I have learned (am learning) to take the time to evaluate the failures. Instead of beating my self up over a defeat, I take responsibility. I ask myself what mistakes did I make? I look for what I could have done better? Then, you have to move on, and hopefully apply the lessons.

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Michael,

    Great interview here. If we are open we can learn from anything. I like John played basketball through high school and despised losing. With age I learned to get less angry and more introspective after losing, and I bring the same mindset to my business failures.

    Learn to watch. As for the hope note, spot on. Just a shred, or a glimmer of hope is all we need to pull through the truly difficult times in our lives. Hold on to it, miracles can happen for you.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • Graeme S

    Learn from my mistakes and use these lessons to make my next try something better.

  • jmhardy98

    What a great Lesson. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we need to be humble and just learn. John shares some great life lessons and stories to help us learn this lesson.

  • brianfalexander

    I’ve learned that big losses often lead to even better outcomes in the future.

  • Michael Moore

    above all the disappointments and doubts of my big losses, I’ve learned that adversity can help us grow and rise to the challenge even (especially) when said adversity is a result of my own poor decisions. Sometimes, I do not win and I work smarter and harder as a result.

  • Sundi Jo Graham

    I saw this on my bookshelf yesterday, then remembered I’d gotten at ICRS earlier. Looking forward to reading it. I’m sure it’s going to be a great one for leaders.

  • Elizabeth Kilpatrick

    I’ve learned to imagine what an investment will look like 5 years down the road and to take all aspects into consideration before getting into something new.

  • Tracey Brewer

    I have learned that I need to rely on God, rather than myself, and trust that His timing is always perfect.

  • Sean Owen

    I agree with learning from our mistakes. If we let others we manage have enough rein to fail, they also learn valuable lessons. Imagine if everyone was willing to learn from our mistakes…. Looking forward to reading the book.

  • Sean McIntyre

    Michael, I’m getting a 404 on the ‘separate contact form’

  • Tamara Jackson

    I have learned to ask “what was your part in it?” On occasion the answer is “I didn’t have one.” But more often than not, I have in some way contributed to the loss. This is important for me to acknowledge and dissect so that I can avoid repeating that same mistake again. I have found that you keep repeating the lesson
    until you learn it!

  • Myron A. Valentine

    I’ve learned that losses are actually a matter of perspective. By that I mean that I’ve learned to change my vantage point so that I don’t view my loss from a selfish perspective (“my loss”). But rather how do I extract honest truth from the experience? And how can I now share this truth with others to help them?

  • Dennis Neville

    I have learnt that the key relationships in my life are important and I need to keep these relationships as strong as possible by being there for others in their times of loss.

  • Dave Sharon

    I’ve learned that failure is not necessarily the end of everything, but rather an opportunity to learn how to win the next time.

  • Jeremy Ritter

    I’ve lost multiple promotion opportunities in different jobs I’ve had, and each time it was really tough. What I learned was that I wasn’t always the right person for the job, and in some cases the promotion would have actually prevented me from better opportunities around the corner.

  • Guest

    Whenever I thought that I lost the most, the Holy Spirit revealed to me I have gained the most, usually if nothing else a powerful sense of humility remains.

  • Will (US Army)

    My Platoon made a mistake in Afghanistan that caused a lot of contention with our coalition partners. It wasn’t “directly” on me, but I’m responsible for all we do or fail to do– so it’s on me as the Platoon Leader. My Battalion Commander told me, “Right now, this is a data point. Keep performing well and we’ll call it an outlier. Make similar mistakes, and we’ll connect the dots and consider it a trend.” I thought that was great advice.

  • Jlbmcmillan

    I have lived the sheltered life for 38 years in marriage as a stay home wife. I have metastatic lung cancer and my husband moved out a few weeks ago. I take responsibility for the role I played in that action. I am seeking joy and trying hard to see hope; must learn to rely on God and make myself love myself. I have opportunity to growth mentality, spiritually, and intellectually. I first admit I am scared. The facade is down.

  • Hoo Kang

    I lost $15,000 in an “investment” that I did very little due diligence in. I trusted a friend instead of looking into what exactly I was investing in.

    It was a very expensive lesson, but now I question things I don’t understand in all aspects of life.

    Instead of being arrogant and pretending to know what someone is talking about.

  • Taher

    I will be enthusiastically waiting for this book.

  • Alvin C. Miles

    Michael, thanks for sharing the interview with John Maxwell! Without loss, there can be no way to truly appreciate the gains I make!

  • David Esposito

    We all need to be in continuous learning mode given how our environment continues to grow in complexity and uncertainty. I recently learned in a business situation the importance of “trust, but verify” (Ronald Reagan’s comments to the Russians on nuclear arms negotiations) in certain cases. I trusted and did not verify, and was burned pretty badly. I still believe in the importance of trust, but given each situation is a little different, a leader has to work on to determine when to verify. Thanks for sharing the interview with John.

  • Koren Norton

    I realize that anyone can make mistakes, it’s how we handle it, like taking responsibility and not just casting blame, that makes a difference. Sometimes our mistakes reveal our humanness and that makes us more relate able to people too.

  • Kristopher Nelson

    I have learned to always review the situation afterwards, learn from it, and then move on. If there are lessons, move to correct them and move on. While there are always lessons from a loss/failure, continuing ahead toward your goal is the best “next step.”

  • Mark Martin

    Losing has given me the opportunity to honestly look at the circumstance and understand what I did that contributed to that loss and, hopefully, learn from that experience and not do that again.

  • Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    I’ve learned that loss is a part of life, and that when I can change circumstances during loss I wait I’m calm enough to be wise. If I can’t change anything about what has happened, I move through it with as much compassion and care as I can give to myself and others.

  • Kathy Kuhl

    The squeaky wheel shouldn’t get all the grease.

  • Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    Yep…separate contact form link is broken.

  • Rick Lindholtz

    Losing taught me that my fears don’t terminate my future as they threatened they would.

  • Rachel Proctor

    I’ve learned that losing something is never as bad as it seems. God will never take something from you without giving you something better in return.

  • Dave Bratcher

    So thankful for John and his honesty in writing about his failures. I was speaking to a group of insurance agents on Friday and gave away this book. As a John Maxwell Team member, this will be yet another amazing resource to help in the development of teams across the world.

  • Dan Nelson

    One of my college professors once said that we never fail. Everyone succeeds both through good things and failures. One of the major losses that has influenced me is an attempt at a business venture that I invested several hundred dollars, but I was not ready for the venture. I do not blame the company for my loss. Rather, I reevaluate the circumstances to know what I may do in the future. I will be more wise about the money I spend. I am ready for this opportunity?

  • Simply Sue Speaks!

    At one point in my corporate career it was year-end evaluation time. I expected a good raise and rewards for the great year we had accomplished. I had worked very hard and had no clue what was to be revealed to me. My manager told me that his team had determined I was a “fake,” that no one could be as happy as I was every day, and that I made him tired with all my energy, and therefore there was no reward for me. He suggested perhaps I needed to rethink my career (at the time I had 25 years with this Fortune 500 Company).
    This was a turning point for me. I went home told my family I was staying, didn’t feel the need to change, and see what happened! After the first of the next year I received a great offer from another department and went on to retire at 30 years with a wonderful record, having achieved more than anyone thought possible. I now have a successful company where I am a booking agency for others. I tell this story over and over again to those I mentor and encourage them in their careers to: know who they are, and keep on no matter what! Recently this same manager connected with me on LinkedIn and even gave me a recommendation. I am very grateful for this experience, even though it was difficult at the time!
    Thanks Michael for this interview of one of my favorite “heroes”, and the opportunity to share how we can “learn” from the dramatic events in our lives! Have a great week!

  • Olu Burrell

    I’ve learned that sometimes success in the ultimate requires failure in the immediate.

  • Eapenz

    The incident at the airport gave me shudders. It can happen to anyone and life changes just suddenly. But I have seen that in the end it all ends well. Remember the adage, somedays you are the crow and some days you are the statue.

  • Andrew Giwa

    From my losses, i have learned to take responsibility and get back up again. Failure is an event not an eventuality except i decide that it is. It’s an opportunity to learn from the event and do the task or face the challenge again more intelligently.

  • Shelley

    “One step from stupid” reminds us we are indeed fallible and in need of much grace and mercy!

  • Richard

    I have learned that there is a silver linen in all our mistakes. The challenge is getting over our mistake and looking for it.

  • Kenny

    I have learned to trust that God has a plan for my life so I must trust Him in my disappointments and discouragements. I need to learn during these times the lessons that God is teaching me.

  • alias santurlino

    I have learned not lose the same lost and also gets experience from other people lost.

  • Moira De Roche

    I learned the hard way that you should not put all your – and your companies – efforts into supporting one large customer. I had a customer who had nothing but praise and compliments for our support and efficiency, but we still lost the business. It was through no direct fault of ours, but the learning is that you have to balance efforts between supporting one big client, and getting new business.

    • Moira De Roche

      The link did not work for me either (in Chrome)

    • Rachel Proctor

      Moira, I have learned this same lesson in business. I had to learn it the hard way! A balance is necessary in business so that ask your eggs are not in one basket!

  • DMJ Consulting

    I was so excited when I saw that I can hear both of you awesome wise men of God. Going to listen on my phone while I drive my daughter to the dentist. Thank You! HERE IS MY LOSS LESSON:
    There are several which I’ve written about previously (See, but today I want to chime in on what many of the other commenters have said about learning from the past. This is my practical way of actively learning from the past:

    1ST – JOURNAL about it and take an honest look at it between you and God and ask HIM for guidance & insight, instead of beating yourself up / banging your head and saying “duh” in self-condemnation
    2ND FILE IT AWAY and don’t let it distract you as condemnation after the learning part of your process has passed

    I’m sharing this specifically, as a woman leader, because I know how perfectionistic many of us (especially moms) can be, which leads to self-condemnation and makes you get stuck. I’ll also be leading out a #MarketLikeAQueen networking event on 11/4/13 where I and several leaders will also discuss this topic. Definitely planning to read the book before then so that I can recommend it as a resource.

  • Grant Porteous

    Making mistakes makes me human. While it doesn’t ‘feel’ good, I’m reminded that great and better things often come after mistakes – sometimes lots of them!

  • James R. Stevens

    I think back to the book of Job. Where he and his family encountered loss after loss after loss. When your friends and wife question you, the losses can break a weak man. I feel the only time your really lose is when you give up.

  • Frank Korb

    Biggest losses in my life have been the deaths of my dad and step-father… one to an automobile accident when I was 9 and the other to cancer when I was 29. What I learned from the both of the losses was that time is fleeting, forgiveness hard but essential, and that working through losses like that can help as teaching moments for the young. It all seems to focus for me, as an educator, that when I can live through a difficult (next to impossible feeling) moment in life, I can use it to help others examine and reflect upon their own moments.

  • Micky Diaz

    Live and learn. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Mark

    I have learned that there will be an opportunity to put that big loss wayyy behind you.

  • Mallice

    All my big losses have taught me that about anything and everything in your life can go wrong. And all that matters is your attitude and spirit at that point of time to move on. Nothing lasts forever. :-)

  • Daniel Griesbeck

    From the loss of a lucrative project at work:
    1. Trust the people you have in place and support them.
    2. Don’t put all your eggs into one project… I mean basket!
    3. MOVE ON! Take the lessons and don’t be afraid to go after then next one!

  • Adam Clouse

    Great Post! I have learned it’s much easier to face reality and get on with learning from it, than to put your head in the sand and ignore the problem.

  • Paul Jackson

    Slow down, consider objectively and try to determine the long term effect of my action.

  • Martins Dodo

    I have leaned that, every human being has that tendency to encounter a big loss. It does not matter how experienced or how old a person is. What makes the difference is the ability to recognize that it is not yet a loss until you fail to learn from it.

  • Debbie Howell

    I learned that life really does go on after a loss… And that you can recover and even benefit from the experience.

    • Debbie Howell

      I am also getting an error message for the separate contact form. Please advise. Thanks!

  • Donna Marie Johnson

    Dear Michael, Thank You for sharing this. As a strategy coach, this is a topic I think about and talk about frequently and have incorporated into how I serve my clients to help keep them from getting stuck. I am excited to see this and looking forward to hearing the interview and reading the book.

    For many WOMEN (especially moms), PERFECTIONISM (with self-condemnation / self-hatred) can be a huge problem to stop us in our tracks and keep us stuck. It’s so important to understand “loss learning” so we can GET UNSTUCK. I agree with what many of the other commenters have said about learning from the past. This is my practical way of actively learning from the past:

    I write about it, pray about it, get guidance from God on it, apply what I am learning and refuse to keep re-hashing the problem; but instead focus on HIS wise way of solution/s that He has revealed so I can KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

    I also talked about this in more detail on my audio blog here:

    I have an upcoming networking event on 11/4/13 to discuss this topic with several other leaders, and I plan to read the book and share it as a resource with them.

    {Note to your webmaster: I had some type of glitch with disqus where an old profile I didn’t even know I had was used for my comment. I am re-posting, I hope, with the correct profile. Hoping it doesn’t happen again. Feel free to delete the other comment … name on it was DMJ Consulting)

  • Chris Russo

    I’ve learned that internal reality drives external reality. The mistakes that I’ve made have been used by God to bring about valuable internal transformation. The way that you define “success” and “failure” says a lot about who you are as a person.

    Chris Russo

  • David V. Meekins

    Losses are a part of life. I am not the only one who experiences them, I am just one among many who is experiencing them, often daily. They are not permanent unless I choose not to learn from them. Just because I have experienced a loss, does not mean everything that I do is a loss. I need to keep my evaluations of myself fair, honest and balanced. If do this for my friends when they ask for my evaluation of their actions, i should do the same for myself as well. Be honest but not brutal. Be real but not ruthless.
    Tell myself the truth, for this gives me the honest information to grow and learn from.

  • Al Soultz

    I learned to be aware of your surroundings and be intentional about communication and encouragement.

  • Edwina Cowgill

    I’ve learned I’m not Super Woman, but I am an Overcomer in Christ.

  • Matthew Churchill

    Michael: I was fired from a job in college for not showing up to work. The job was over at the end of that week and I didn’t think I would care one way or the other. I learned that I had much higher internal standards then I thought and that experience helped shape a discipline and work ethic that has been the foundation of my success since that point.

  • Stephanie Sample

    I’ve learned it isn’t all about me! When my son died, I had an opportunity to witness the beautiful effect he had on all who knew him. In that light, his life was something I was chosen to shepherd and be a huge part of, rather than his death something that happened to me. It changed my whole life.

  • R. Fosnaugh

    Big losses can show us who we really are and the core strength that we hold onto. Through losses I have found that I have first hand knowledge and experiences that I can share with others both now (before things occur) and then as they are going through similar situations. Without these losses I would only be sharing opinions based on artificial thoughts. My take on loss is to turn losses from shadows and darkness into light that causes growth. This can mean making changes to the environment to be in direct contact with light (your attitude or physical attributes) or having the patience to wait until the light shines through the loss.

  • K. K. Kessler

    i feel like i am still searching for something–some thing more than what i have and what is here

  • aaberger

    Several years ago we made some investment decisions with friends that we trusted. It turned out to be illegal, and we lost a tremendous amount of money. What I learned, however, was how strong my relationship was with my husband. In looking back, I feel very blessed that it was not an illness we were facing-it was only loss of money. I learned how strong our marriage bond was and the love we have for each other in good times and bad.

  • MH in Florida

    Still learning…to connect with others, who will encourage me to walk through the experience with confidence in God and His ability to help me learn and grow through the challenges in the experience.

  • Herm Allen, M.S.

    I’ve learned that if it didn’t kill me it made me stronger. In particular, having loss both parents and a failed marriage, among other things, I have learned to appreciate what I have and who I have in my life right now. Knowing this has made me stronger in the area of valuing every relationship that I have.

  • David Jockers

    I have learned that every challenge I encounter is a blessing in disguise. Even though sometimes I choose not to see it that way at the moment…once I take some time and ponder the circumstances I realize it is most often divine intervention. It is an opportunity for me to think more creatively and innovatively and expand who I am.

  • J. Ozbun

    This topic of “loss” has come up for me a lot this weekend, and here it is again in your post (how is it your topics seem so immediately relevant in my life each week!?). Upon reflection of losses I have experienced just in the past 10 years–job, loved ones, home, etc–I realize these pivotal moments offered me opportunities for reinvention and innovation. Sometimes it is one’s survival instincts that enable overcoming loss, sometimes it is a need for connection and meaning, sometimes it is simply being human and wanting to persevere. I see loss as a critical element of the cycle of life that affords us choices each time about how–i.e. with grace, humility, gratitude–we may prevail.

  • Ben Dempsey

    After losing out in the interview process for a management job in my area of the healthcare industry last year I was devastated at first. I had worked hard to be noticed for the work I do and what I bring to the table. I had done everything I could do to get the job, but I didn’t get it simply because I didn’t have a bachelors degree. However, after looking back over what has transpired over the last year and a half I knew that it wasn’t in God’s plan. That loss, has catapulted me to start my own business, challenged me to leave and pursue a different path with another company that has seen my potential. Failing doesn’t mean that all is lost, you learn from it and take the necessary step to persevere. The goal is to just keep plowing ahead…

    Great interview Michael as always, keep up the great work and God Bless!

  • Mike Briggs

    Every experience in life we can learn from. Keep trying to improve in all that you do.

  • Carrie

    Right before I was full-time in ministry, I made a careless jesting statement that nearly cost me my position in ministry at the time. The ground collapsed beneath me and I spent about 5 months wondering if I would ever step in the pulpit again (a week prior to this, I had preached my first sermon in the pulpit). Through those months, God brought me face-to-face with my pride over my communication ability and why I was in ministry. The question I answered was if all fell away and He was all I had left and no one ever saw what I did again, would I still follow and obey? The answer is yes, and it continually reminds me to be humble and watch my tongue. James was right . . . the tongue can heal and cause pain/destructions.

  • dangreegor

    I have learned that a big loss really challenges your character. How I respond shows much about who I am and what areas in my life need work.

  • Henry Kagoda

    John Maxwell is a great writer. I can relate to learning to lose as I have lost many times. I need to learn to view my past losses as learning experiences & let go of the pain & shame they have caused. Sometimes you win- sometimes you learn.

  • Edie Riker

    This is the first time I have ever tried to leave a comment or even twitter. I probably did something wrong, but when I clicked on the separate contact form takes me to the following message:

    Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot.

    You’ve stumbled upon a missing page, but the evidence is elementary. We’re on the case.

    I hope this doesn’t disqualify me from eligibility for the Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You learn drawing.
    I love your generosity in sharing valuable information for all of us. Many thanks!

  • eandtsmom

    My fiance died two years ago. While it’s a different kind of loss than John focuses on in his book perhaps, I learned through that experience that the choice of how I view loss is completely within my control. I can choose to focus on the loss, or I can choose to focus on all the good that was part of it; loving and being loved by someone, being the answer to someone’s prayer, having the kid of relationship I’d waited years to have with someone, etc. I got to have all of that. “It’s all about perspective,” as Andy Andrew’s Mr. Jones is fond of saying. Personally, I choose to believe that the best is yet to come, so much so that it’s the title of my book coming out next month.

  • themerryartmaker

    I have learned that I am not as virtuous a person as I think I am. So I have to confess that to God, accept His forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and look to what good can come through my mistakes. I am still learning from a major mistake 17 years ago!

  • Joey Espinosa

    As a perfectionist, I’ve had to learn to take it in stride. I overreact in losses, and don’t celebrate the wins enough.

  • Stephen W. Hiemstra

    My prayer–Lord, why did you bring me to this time and place?–is now a book: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn. I am curious to see what Maxwell has to say.
    A lot of people do not know that he is a former pastor. His management advice is so appropriate because managing volunteers requires a lot more skill than managing employees. http://
    My prayer evolved from a sermon that I preached years ago on the problem of pain. Later, when I studied corporate culture (Google: Can Bad Culture Kill a Firm?), I found that mistakes left a bigger cultural footprint because they were more costly–successes generally have a positive return on investment. Hence, learning the right lessons from mistakes is terribly important.

  • mike / better late than early

    I’ve learned that sometimes, being completely honest, no matter how polite you are about it, can come back and visit you in the future. 8 years ago, I was cheated out of a large bonus that I had earned. I handed in my resignation the next day. At the exit interview, I answered a question honestly that I would not recommend a friend to work there if that was the way they do business (and this was a very reputable company). I later reconciled with my manager and assured it was a mistake that the company learned from. After, I was encouraged and applied for a management position. Though I was the frontrunner and the most qualified, the job went to someone else for that one single answer I gave. I didn’t get the job, or the stock options that went with it, which now would total tens of thousands of dollars. I do not regret speaking my mind- but I always make sure not to say anything that could be considered as burning a bridge.

  • Brian

    I have learned that losses help me to be more dependent on God rather than on my own accomplishments. God gives and He can take away. Blessed be His Name!

  • Dixie Laite

    I learned that the darkest hour is right before dawn. A loss, or an ending, can feel like the end of everything — one’s confidence, one’s happiness, one’s future. But now I’ve lived long enough to learn that the cliche is absolutely true: “When God closes one door, He opens a window.” (Or is it visa-versa?) Time and again I’ve found that when I think I’ve hit bottom, something new, unexpected and BETTER will come along. You just need to be open to it.

  • Mark

    I recently experienced a big loss in my work. I sacrificed a lot, both physically and mentally, on an all or nothing campaign. In the end, it was nothing that won. Today, I am trying to refocus on the more important things-my relationship with God, my wife, my family, my writing, and my health.

  • CraigCowley

    I learned a big loss can be translated into a big win. Keeping my eye on the bigger picture and having a clear belief on who i am and what is my purpose always pays off.

  • Adam Swenka

    Looking forward to reading this — and hoping its a copy I’ve won from Hyatt’s giveaway!

  • bedrock3

    I recently offered coach training to our church. I love coaching. The skills are so useful for anyone in almost any situation. No one signed up for the class. I was devastated. But as I reflected on why no one showed up, it made me understand I needed to market the coach training in a different way. It changed everything. Had I not totally failed, I wouldn’t have seen this new way to talk about coaching. Failure was a good friend that day.

  • Jenny Bolt Price

    I have learned – when a publisher says no – a loss has occurred – and so has a win. They are NOT my publisher. The next one may well just be. Fail forward – faster – to even bigger successes.

  • lolasblest

    Life goes on, almost always for the better. I lost a teaching job in an upscale suburban school district. Now I teach in an extremely low income school in an urban area and even though each day is a new challengen I know I’m here for a reason.

  • Ken Zimmerman Jr.

    Sometimes our losses are really blessings although they do not feel like it at the time. Losing my battle with father time as a competitive martial artist was difficult but it cleared the way for me to focus on teaching. I get more enjoyment from teaching people self-defense than I ever got from winning a trophy.

  • OSSAlanR

    I’ve learned that God gave me my talents for His purposes, not just for mine.

  • John Fix

    This is so true. I have found I have learned far more from my mistakes than my successes.

  • Michael Lettner

    Two things come to mind in a big loss that we had a couple months ago is finding out what we can handle with already having two small girls and to trust God even though we don’t understand why it happened.

    I learned so much from John’s last book 15 Laws of Growth so I’m really excited to read this book especially since like I put that our family’s loss (no longer being foster parents) was just a couple months ago.

  • Kyle Musser

    Love hearing real stories from leaders that we respect! Was on John’s webcast last week too debuting his book & always walk away with some incredible takeaways. Highly suggest if you have never picked up any of John’s books, get on Amazon or go to your local bookstore & pick one up today :)

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Cindy Rubio

    I’ve learned to not give up because it will be a loss I won’t suffer again.

  • Karen Rabbitt

    My biggest fear, growing up, was that I would lose my mind. When I had two psychotic episodes in my mid-twenties, I learned that God was bigger than my worst fear.

  • Alicia Willis

    Sounds like a great book! I’d love to receive a book from a fellow author, particularly one so successful in his craft! Thank you for hosting this.

  • Jeff Roe

    As ridiculous as it sounds, major loss taught me that I am not superman. One of the first of many lessons God has used to humble to be more useful for his purposes.

  • Otis Pierson

    I find that my biggest losses and mistakes make great teaching points for my children. When they mess something up, I have a great story from my life to share with them about how I messed up and survived.

  • Danny Ray Remington II

    Just because you lost, does not mean God has lost! He will always provide and He will use my mistakes to teach me, if I allow Him to.

  • Simplicity IQ

    What a great reason to write and share wisdom from such a concept. I remember a similar-feeling situation in which I learned a lesson after losing my job. No sense of propriety in a given situation caused me shame and a momentary blight in my employer’s reputation. It felt terrible knowing I could not provide for my wife and children due to my own ‘stupid’ actions. And what a sense of hopelessness. I remember thinking – “You can learn from this and change yourself, or be stupid and repeat it.”

    Never again. That decision to change, to become new and better – brought hope.

    Thanks Michael for introducing the book – and John, for giving hope.

  • Tim Turner

    Through a recent personal loss I’ve learned it’s ok to cry. In fact it’s virtually necessary to cry in order to move forward. Crying somehow helps you to trust God for the outcome and that he will somehow work what you see as having no hope, for good.

  • Jeffrey Slater

    I learned how remarkably important it is to be open and self-aware when something goes wrong. I get to ask the question, what is the lesson in what just occurred? How can I avoid this problem in the future. A loss is a small speed bump on the highway of greater wisdom and self-awareness.

  • Alicia Willis

    I do not have a FB or Twitter account. So I reshared this via Google+

  • Jeffrey Slater

    I was unable to access the separate contact form. I clicked and refreshed and tried several times. Not sure how to access it but I commented earlier and tweeted out the message. Jeff

  • 大窪秀幸

    I learned that life is too short to waste when I lost my best friend back in High School (when we are still in High school…)

  • LadyJevonnahEllison

    My lesson learned came in hiring someone too quickly. Initially, they were on-fire and did a good job, but turned out to have an abusive attitude and a sense of unearned entitlement. So, after 2 months, I had to let them go. The work suffered a bit for being idle, but it was far worth it to wait and hire someone right for the job. Now I do several interviews and the DISC test before hiring.

  • Robbie Harper

    Recently, there were a few jobs that I interviewed for that I ultimately was not hired for. At the time, I was devastated. Since then, I have felt led and prepared to go into a different direction and have really been in tune with my calling. Had I been hired for one of the previous positions, I may not have been ready to pursue my true calling in life. For that, I am thankful!

  • DS

    I learned the value of loss. I learned what I could potentially lose, and what I was willing to do to never experience that feeling again.

  • Brian Jaggers

    I’ve learned that sometimes you have to realize that what we tend to view as a loss, can very possibly be the beginning of something very big. Sometimes we don’t understand the perfect plan of God until after the pain of that loss has passed.

  • srinivas kadiyala

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks..I got to know about your website when i got one article link from my friend. Immediately i thought i need this in my mail subscription as I always wanted to be as a leader, help others while learning and sharing with others.

    I always take time for every week to evaluate the things did for the week – Instead of thinking of what success i made, i refer to think and take responsibility on failures – what can i do better for next week.. This way i learn from lost things and move forward happily.

    – Srinivas Kadiyala

  • Mark Stevenson

    Great story and I’m sure great book by John because ALL his books are great!

  • Mark Stevenson

    I have learned that God is the Redeemer of anything that we loose….

  • Matthew Gross

    I just learned, I need to get up 3 hours ealier. All these people must be on east coast. And if I want a chance to win a book, I must get up early. :)
    Just kidding. Like John I got arrested, but, unlike John I didn’t commit a felony or gain national attention. I did however get arrested in front of my children. And, we had just pulled out of the church parking lot, when I got pulled over. Seven years later I’ll tell you it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. I learned to have integrity, no matter what. I learned it’s not what happens to you that defines you, but, rather how you handle it. I Learned losing can later on turn into winning. I had to walk through some things after getting arrested. I was affraid of what people would think and say. It was what I later found out they thought before I got arrested. That surprised me. Turns out that was the victory even though it didn’t feel like it.

  • Kevin Spear

    Good thoughts. I’ve found when we are going through change, it’s inevitable we are going to lose (and learn). How can anybody do otherwise when they are navigating unfamiliar waters? We have to feel our way through any change. It’s inevitable we are going to make some missteps. Maybe that’s why we don’t like change. We don’t like to “lose,” but it’s part of change.

  • Brenda

    I Suffered A Brain Injury A Year And A Half ago In A Car Accident. I Lost My Ability To Do Life In A Way I Always Had. I LearnEd That Grieving The Life I lost KepT Me Stuck In The Past. With Gods Help I Have learned To Embrace Where I Am In Life And My Days Are Filled With Hope And Growth That I Get To Share In What I Do…Counseling. So Blessed!

  • Joseph Iliff of SeekOutWisdom

    I learned that losses are fertile ground for learning new things. The trick is to make your losses non-fatal, so they are preparing you to succeed in the future.

  • Sherry Langland

    I have learned that the mistakes I’ve made have been my biggest opportunities for growth, character building, and developing empathy. When I learn to understand why I did something stupid, I also learn why other people could, too.

  • Carla MusarraLeonard

    At first it’s hard to process the the hurt or grief, but after that, you have to respond in a way that makes the most of that experience. There has to be something positive gained from that, whether it be a different path, a different perspective or a new-found strength — the key is grow from it.

  • Roger

    Prison. One of the biggest “losses” in my life in most people’s lives was going to prison. It was in prison that I gained the most. It was there that I put my faith and trust in the Lord. It was there that our Chaplain had gone to one of John Maxwell’s seminars on the 21 Laws Of Leadership and brought back John’s books, cd’s, and resources. I learned that taking responsibility for our past and our future is in our hands. Most people think that it was a dark time for me, it was some of the most productive years of my life and set me up for success. Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn. We can learn wherever we find ourselves.

  • Jessica Smith

    This is always the biggest hit to someone’s (my) pride. How else will we truly learn a lesson, without falling?

  • Juliet Brosoto

    I’ve learned how to manage the situation. Take things lightly with acceptance and an experience that will remind me next time.

  • Mark DeJesus

    It helps me learn to confront fear and also to learn that “losing” or “failure” is not the end. I know for many, losses take the wind out of their sails and they lose sight of the value of who they are. We can tend to see failure as an indictment against our identity. I find that if I can not take myself so seriously, relax and take my peace, wisdom will come to bring a strategy for the next step.

  • Earl Anderson

    I invested most of my savings into a local business that a friend brought to me. I did not do any research or talk to any company officials before handing over my money. A year later my money was gone and the business was bankrupt. Now I’m more aware of what I need to do before I do anything with my money.

  • Ken Morrow

    Have been a fan and a reader since John’s first book in 1979.!

  • Tatiana Seixas Tavares

    I’ve learned that in every experience God never leaves me. That’s an opportunity to learn about Him, myself and the others.

  • Josiah D. Walker

    My setbacks have often been setups for God to act. I remember when I lost a job I had worked hard at for 10 years. I thought it was the job I was going to have until retirement. However, God was actually closing that door in order to open a new door and start me down a different career path towards full time ministry. I’ve always found powerful lessons through my losses.

  • Kathleen Thompson

    I have had a lost of loss in my life. For many years, I really didn’t learn much from them. I essentially papered over them and just kept going. Within the past 2 years I have experienced losses in health and at my workplace. This time I decided to really work at learning and growing out of loss. I now have more tools, have been made stronger and had my vision refined, and hold life more loosely. I am grateful for the journey through the valley of the shadow of death, as it has made me more appreciate life.

  • Tracey Hooks

    Truly GOD will Never allow you to suffer or experience more than you can possibly handle. Although your mind/heart tell you that you cannot handle anymore, Our Father says that leaning on His promises will always pull you through! Never give up…for time spent on this earth is but a minute compared to the everlasting joy Christ is preparing for you!

  • Craig Ewoldt

    Our financials showed that we had lost a significant amount of money in our business. That led us to do some serious evaluation and change our approach–and with it came a significant and positive change of results

  • DNaug

    I let my pride get in the way, made some decisions about my personal life and it cost me my family. More importantly it cost me the relationship with my 12 year old daughter. Sometimes the easiest lessons are the hardest ones to learn.

  • Keisha Gilchrist-Broomes

    I’ve learned that a big loss can lead to opportunity. In late 2000 I was laid off from my job at a, and I’d had a bad year so I felt resentful. However, because of the timing of the lay off I was able to find another job within three weeks. Some of my co-workers were not laid off until half a year later and a few of them took nearly a half year before they found another opportunity.

  • Lisa Raub

    When I lose something precious to me, I learn more about myself – whether my values are askew or not, or whether I’m willing to go the distance to keep something.

  • Kirby Maus

    Was I seeking the spirit or the flesh? It is important to make sure I’m making a selfless or righteous choice for the greater good of the people in my tribe, and not just a selfish or sinful decision for me.

  • Greg Stephens

    Learnings from a big loss…I think the biggest lesson is that you don’t have big losses without striving for great things, and that is also how you achieve great things. A big loss is an indicator that you are, in at least one way, doing what you should…striving for greatness.

  • Kathy Knodle

    This sounds like a book that will help me at this time of my life. I have read several of John’s books and they were all excellent.

  • Deborah H. Bateman

    Thanks for sharing this post. I like the analogy and title of John’s book. We always learn a lesson of some sort when we lose. If we learn from that lesson we can move forward.
    Deborah H. Bateman

  • Blake Atwood

    From a big loss, I learned that you can always start over again, oftentimes wiser for the journey despite the unexpected detour you took. I also learned that God’s grace covers every chasm that can suddenly erupt in your life.

  • Ken Trupke

    I learned that it’s easy to be who you want to be when you win. But when you plan and prepare perfectly and still lose, then you have to decide if you’re going to react with humilty and grace or scorched earth and victimhood. In the end, you only control your behavior.

  • Lydia Pate

    I have learned four things: (1) Life is fragile. Cherish each moment. Don’t take your loved ones
    for granted. (2) Only when I surrendered the loss to Jesus did I truly find peace. I made a conscious decision to trust the Lord with the answers. Prior to that, I was lost in a maze of “whys” and “what ifs”. (3) The source of my focus determined my response, and subsequent growth. When I focused on the pain, I couldn’t escape the maze. But when I focused on Jesus,
    He gave me hope and peace. Jeremiah 29:11 became my theme verse. (4) With any loss, there is a cost—but also a gain. If anyone was qualified to speak of loss, it was Jesus. He was born to die … but out of the dying, came resurrection. The empty tomb caused life to bloom.

  • Anna

    From each and every big loss I’ve learned a huge lesson. I’ve definitely learned more from losing than winning.

  • Chris Kelley

    I learned that if I quit, if I simply give up, then I truly will be the biggest loser. A loss is only a loss if you allow that to be the end of the story. If you pick yourself up, reflect on the situation and learn a lesson from it, it’s not truly a loss.

  • Rick Jenkins

    I think the main thing I’ve learned from the big losses in my life is that I have to be intentional and serious with my time and actions if I intend to win.

  • Sherrie Simmonds

    What a great way to look at an old adage. “Sometimes you lose, sometimes you learn,” is my new favorite quote.

  • Michael

    The best lesson I’ve learned from a big loss is that things do not always go as you think they should. And in the light of that experience, sometimes not getting what you think you want is exactly what you need. My experience and personal faith have led me to believe what Psalms 37:23, “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord”. I can’t say that I’ve always been a good man, but I truly believe that seasons of loss have guided me to where I am at today.

  • Sumitha

    I’ve learnt that the “fear” of losing is actually a lot worse than the loss itself…. When you fear losing, you are just focused on the “loss” and it cripples you from taking action. On the other hand when you actually lose, you have the unique opportunity to learn, to improve and to grow.

  • Dave Milford

    Character is forged in the furnace of failure. My greatest loss in business burst my pride that was blinding me to what really was important. After laying off all our employees – all of them, we humbly began again and built for the right reasons. My wife and I rebuilt that company because we decided that we really wanted to help others. As we focused on people and their problems our business turned around and we had such satisfaction in what we were doing.

  • michellerichard

    I’m a big believer that all things happen for a reason. I’m also very competitive. So, as much as a big loss stings when you’re in the moment, I recognize that the discomfort of a big loss often helps you grow at a more rapid pace than the days when everything is easy.

    As the former owner of marketing agency, I HATED losing new business pitches. But, there were times when our solution simply wasn’t what the prospective client was looking for. After we lost a pitch, we always asked for specific feedback on why the prospect selected another agency. We treated that feedback like gold and used it to make incremental improvements the next time.

  • Leslee

    I would love to know how to help my three sons how to handle losing better. Thank you for recommending this book.

  • Jared Detter

    As a leadership consultant, I highly recommend the insights in any John Maxwell book. I can’t wait to read this one.

  • Scott

    It is always darkest before dawn. Learn what you can from this and move on. Life is full of surprises and lots of the are good. Be patient.

  • Eileen

    Losses have taught me so much. And you are right, “pretending you didn’t mess up robs you of the opportunity to learn” It’s amazing how much healing and freedom come when we choose to bring the mistake out into the light. I also love how the Lord redeems our losses. We can then turn around and help others to either avoid the same mistake or be there to encourage them that a loss is not the end of the world. We can take them by the hand and help to lead them through it. It’s a beautiful process!

  • Cheryl Ardis

    I’ve learned that no matter what the loss, whether your own fault or from circumstances out of your control, you have to move on. Looking back only keeps you in that place of loss. If you’re still here, you have a chance to work through it, learn from it and eventually find the positive take away that you can put into something new.

  • jmsierra

    Thanks for sharing Michael. In the super-competitive corporate world many of us live in, admitting a mistake is just not allowed, so learning is really hindered! I love seeing a “Leadership” thought-leader talking about learning through mistakes! Let’s make it acceptable.

  • Melanie Hardacker

    I have learned from loss that it isn’t the end of the world and the fear of loss doesn’t have to stop me from trying again. Although it isn’t always easy to remember. As I stand at a crossroad where I am either about to launch into something great or about to make yet another misstep (and learn more) it is still scary.

  • Jeanette Sharp

    Your willingness to share is much admired, Michael. I’ve learned that to continue learning, mistakes and failures is a part of the process. Rather than give up, I determine to plow ahead in spite of failure. It fuels my passion to be a life-long learner.

  • Pam

    I have learned the feeling of redemption admitting the mistakes, and how to teach others better through my mistakes.

  • Karl Mealor

    When my daughter was in 8th grade, she took the last shot in a basketball game and missed. She was devastated. That night, I showed her the Nike, Michael Jordan commercial where Jordan talks about missing 9000 shots, losing 300 games, and missing the game-winning shot 26 times over his amazing career. He sums up by saying, “I’ve failed over and over and over again. And that is why I succeed.”

    This year, my daughter is a senior. It is amazing the number of times that she has referenced that commercial in school essays and speeches. I plan to give her a copy of this book. (Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated :-)

  • Dan Black

    I’ve had to learn through past mistakes that attitude really matters! Great interview.

  • Paul

    Having gone through a very public failure myself I’ve learned three things : 1. It’s not the mistake you make, but what you do to fix it that others will judge you by. 2. You are not the mistake. Don’t internalize it. It will eat up your soul. 3. We make our decisions based on our knowledge. Knowledge comes from our life experience. We gain experience by making mistakes. It hurts, but it’s part of the process!

  • John Sauer Sr.

    I’ve learned we all have problems and God has been with me through all of them.


  • donhornsby

    I have learned to work through the emotions of the situation – and to keep going forward in a positive manner.

  • Jason Matyas

    I’ve learned to trust in God’s sovereignty and providence. So my learning should be focused on what God wants to teach me about myself and what He wants for me.

  • Franc Woods

    After struggling with our new business for 5 1/2 years… and the downturn in the economy, I’ve learned that you can recover, there is hope, and even though we may have failed “financially” there were a number of successes and lessons learned along the way.

  • yoko323

    Through a few big losses, I’ve learned not to make big decisions from a point of weakness. Once you get back on your feet / things settle down, then it is a better place to make you decisions that will impact your path after the big loss.

  • Michael Kelberer

    I will never forget the gun story and “one small step away from ‘stupid'”

  • Kathy Cremer

    I learned that it is OK to ask for help, especially for a trusted point of view from a friend or an advisor. We tend to see our mistakes in magnified view!

  • Tracie Rollins

    I learned that life is too short to not be in the game of living it. I approach everyday with intention and as a trainer/instructional designer/life long learner – I’m a huge fan of learning from my mistakes, trying not to repeat them…and then MOVING ON!

  • Mark Dupaul

    Very insightful. If we change our perspective from one of losing to one of learning, we really win in either case.

  • Jon Stolpe

    It’s okay to sulk for a moment, but you need to keep moving. Learn from the loss. Grow. And keep going.

  • Steve North

    I’ve been a John Maxwell fan for over 20 years. He’s always given encouragement and wise advise. In the three interactions I’ve had with him at conferences he has always treated me (and others he interacts with) as if I were the only person he needed to speak with instead of just being the person “at the front of the line”. Thanks for sharing your interview Michael!

  • Mary Coffee

    I think the kind of mistakes you make define you. The more interesting the mistakes, the more interesting the life. If your biggest mistakes are burning the bread or buying the wrong air filter, then maybe you are not challenging yourself enough to earn more interesting mistakes.

  • Brandon Gilliland

    John Maxwell recently preached at my church here in south Florida, and it was incredible! I have always been a fan of his books. I believe that this book would be a great read. I don’t know much about it, but the title and what was also mentioned in this post makes me want to read it.

    Big losses can provide us with an opportunity to refocus and press on to higher things. A few years ago, I had a rough college semester. Nothing was going the way I wanted it to, but I pressed through and got the results I wasn’t necessarily looking for. Since then, what I would call a “big loss”, I refocused and have since been able to see God’s greater calling in my life. I narrowed my major down to neuroscience, and I have chosen to pursue medical school. I’m a little over half of the way through with it, and I’ve been enjoying the journey.

  • Christy Largent

    When I experienced the loss of a dream I did a lot of self evaluation. From this, I learned that when one thing goes away, God puts something else in it’s place. And that my plans and dreams can morph and grow…and that’s OK. Learning to work like it’s all up to me and pray like it’s all up to God (thanks Mark Batterson). Not always in the TIME I had planned for, but in God’s perfect timing.

  • Angela

    From my biggest losses I learned that failure is painful but it isn’t final. There is hope for different and better outcomes if I am willing to learn from my mistakes and not define myself by my failures.

  • Bryan Spellman

    I learned to be more open to new and/or different ideas. My way is not always the only way and definitely not the best way. Listen and learn to be successful, listen and ignore at your own peril.

  • Brett

    What have I learned from a big loss? A group at my office just talked about how much rejection is involved in things like sales and any artistic endeavor that might depend (at least traditionally) on the acceptance of what we create – a publisher, a record label, etc. We discussed specifically that our rejections are painful, but not useless if we learn something from them (so good timing here).

    My biggest loss was having to resign from a ministry position. I learned (and am still learning) how inner character and maturity is much more vital to being a leader than talent or skill or being an amiable person. And it takes time to hone in on what it means to have leadership character and true maturity (I would have thought myself full of character and maturity back then, at the turn of the century).

  • Pat Friel

    I have learned that in loss I must be true to myself and accept the new reality. I find that I may learn a little from others, but I gain the most when I process what had happen and move on. Working the new reality into my thought process helps me push through.

  • Munadil Shafat

    I have learned that I must be more focused/attentive to the task at hand. Focus is the think mostly needed and most people lacks the quality. I have also learned that when a failure occurs all of a sudden, you must not feel like, “Everything has gone”. You must stay positive, because there are still some measures remain by which your failure may not be recovered, but that can help someone else from.

    Here is the twitter link:

  • Ricky Sant

    What I have learnt from big losses is to keep your perspective. Things could be worse and they definitely can be better. It is crucial that you make the “big loss” a teaching moment. Learn from it but also leave it in the past. You can also you the big loss as motivation as you try to recover from it. Sometimes when you look back (with perspective) you realize that the loss may have been a blessing in disguise or it helped you grow and become better.

  • Jean Smith

    That little things like being kind, polite and courteous do matter. They can help you learn from the loss.

  • Edouard Ametou

    From every loss I learn that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

  • Gayle Veitenheimer

    I have a thirteen-year-old son who seems to be in a steady spiral of poor choices and consequences. Finding anything positive in such situations has proved both difficult and frustrating. It’s so easy for a middle school buy to see no way out and to quit trying. I love the positive spin John gives life’s challenges and I can’t wait to share it with our youngest. Thanks for a new perspective.

  • Dustin Dauenhauer

    I have missed out on big things because of fear. So I have learned or learning to “Never take counsel from fear. ~Stone Wall Jackson.” Fear has crippled me in the past but not anymore.

    From Dustin Dauenhauer

  • Elliott Scott

    I’ve experienced a few “big losses.” Essentially, they have taught me one very important thing: always have a backup plan. For some reason, when this comes to mind I think of self-made millionaires. They never put all of their eggs into one basket, and they’re consistently thinking long-term. They always have a backup plan.

  • charliemackenzie

    You know I love the theme of learning from your mistakes, and my gosh I have made a few!.

    Having lost a lot of money in my first business (now using my experience in running a coaching business to educate owners in the industry).

    I also Invested in a property (just before the recession)

    My first I still laugh at this, investment experience was in a start up called Sausage Software just about the time the tech bubble burst in the late 90’s, lost the lot.

  • Owen Millado Donnahoo

    Losing is a part of reality as much as winning. It keeps me grounded. I use it as an opportunity to assess and/or make changes. I’ve learned that I always have a choice on how to deal with loss: Do I let it bog me down and stop trying or do I use it to fuel my energy to do better? My answer is always the latter.

  • David Ellington

    I ran my own business for 10 years and found that the best way to deal with mistakes is head on. Never try to dance around them or ignore them. Great reminder!

  • JLMThompson

    I love the title because it reminds me of a lament that I have made more than once, “I’m tired of life lessons; I just want things to go MY way”.
    But, if things always went my way, then I would never have any motivation to learn and try new things. When you re-frame “loosing” as “learning” then you are already a winner because you have picked yourself up and are ready to try something new in a spirit of hope.

  • Lauren Gaggioli

    I’ve learned that I tend to value others more highly than I value myself. As Michael often admits, I too am a recovering people pleaser. I have expended energy and extended grace in situations quite disproportionate to what is healthy and it ended up hurting me in the long run. In a moment of over-correction, I began shutting people out of my life. I’ve learned that you can’t paint with a broad brush when it comes to maintaining relationships and you must be willing to grant yourself as much grace as you extend to others.

  • Colleen Nelson

    I’ve learned I have a well of strength I never knew existed. It doesn’t make it any easier just helps it go smoother

  • Ricardo Butler

    I don’t want to get into the big details of what it actually was that I failed at, but less just say that it could have cost me my family. This time around I had to spend more time with them with an intentional plan and daily activities with them and cut off a lot of relationships, business, and ministry opportunities.

  • Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit)

    I have learned so much from my mistakes. Sometimes I had to go through the same problem again and again until I learned the lesson.

  • Jesse Frame

    I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. Even the best plans with the best people can sometimes fall flat.

  • chi panistante

    Hi John, I’ve learn a lot just by subscribing to your posts-thanks a lot!

  • Ross A Graham

    I was diagnosed with Multiple Myelomas, a very aggressive form of bone marrow cancer, in Sept 03 and told I probably had 3 years to live. My then wife didn’t want to know about it, was totally unsupportive, in fact, quite vindictive that it was “a major inconvenience”. So we came to a parting of the ways. The lesson I learnt from this loss was a strength of character and resourcefulness in myself that I hadn’t been aware of and the survival mechanisms really kicked in and I’m now nearly 8 years in remission. I believe I needed that loss to learn a greater level of spirituality and passion for life.

  • Jose Figueroa

    Losses have taught me to not make the same mistake again. And to improve my process for the future. Those are the lessons that have stayed with me the longest.

  • Debi Pasricha

    I have learned that no matter what mistake you have made, that telling the truth about it is the ONLY way to move on. Fabricating a story to hide shame (or whatever) only keeps the shame alive.

  • SB

    I have learned that the way you interpret a loss has a lot to do with how you will recover from it. Usually those losses are designed to prepare you for the next opportunity

  • David Bartosik

    Life goes on. Love with nothing to prove and nothing to lose.

  • Timothy Lynn Burchfield

    I learned that a big loss was not the end of the world. Letting a big loss defeat you is the end of the world.

  • TeriABailey

    What I learned from a big loss is that sometimes events in your life are for a certain time period. I was a singer and keyboard player in a worship band. We played together for about 3 years. I really enjoyed our time together.. For some reason, it just ended. It was quite hurtful. I know that I really enjoy singing but was called to sit back and wait. One and a half years passed before I auditioned for another band. It is so much better to have waited for the right opportunity for me! I am now the lead singer for a hard metal band. I’m even writing lyrics. I didn’t even know I had that in me! Had that loss not occurred, I would not have even thought of auditioning for another band, let alone as a lead singer!

  • ThatGuyKC

    Since completing an MBA at Arizona State University 2 years ago I’ve been anxiously gunning for new opportunities at work. My efforts seemed to be in vain, but during that time I’ve learned to be excellent where I am.

    He who is faithful w/ little will be given much.

    Next week I start in a new role that was a surprise promotion.
    Feel a lot like the tortoise from Asop’s fable.

  • Wayne D. Giardina

    I have made a lot of mistakes in my 74 years on this earth. Most of them have occured because i usually moved too fast. Just about every scar. and pain that I have, is the result of going too fast. It has taken a long time to learn the valuable lesson of taking your time. If you go a little more slowly, and consider before leaping, the outcome is far more likely to be good. I hope that I have finally got this down. However, maybe someone that has many more decisions to make than I, will benefit even more from my lessons of over hastiness. Thus my advise is – Take your time young man. You have your whole life ahead of you. Pray before you move. It may save you a lot of regret and pain. Wayne D. Giardina

  • Aric Habeck

    John Maxwell always writes amazing stuff!

  • Matt Windsor

    The greatest victories come after defeats where you learn what is needed to bridge the difference between the two. That’s why I can watch the Rocky movies a million times. The redemption story is written on our hearts and never gets old.

  • Bruce R. Cross

    In thinking of past mistakes or loss , I have learned NOT to beat myself up, that looking in the rear view mirror seems to take future endeavors off course, and God is a salvage value person…He redeems all…and puts all…even loss… good use if we let Him

  • Kari Scare

    A big loss taught me how to sort of re-create myself.

  • Cheryl Cope

    That God is still good no matter what and He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

  • Dianne Bonebrake

    My big loss– I was being considered for a fellowship I really wanted. I went through the process, put a lot of energy into getting ready -over prepared, if that’s possible, made the finalist list, and then was chosen runner up. Since I was so close that time, I applied again the next time around. I made the finalist list again, but this time I was dense enough to think I knew how the process would go, and I didn’t prepare nearly as much. And that was obvious. I really bombed the interview. I could see immediately that every time I have a chance at something great, I’ve got to over-prepare.

  • Lane Andrews

    Rule #1: Never, ever underestimate the importance of the small things within a process.
    Rule #2: Never make it easy for someone (an employee, co-workers, etc.) to make bad decision because of a poorly designed process.
    Never hesitate to escalate when rule #1 or #2 is broken and don’t stop until it is resolved.

  • Lincoln Parks

    I have always learned great things from losses. One of the biggest things that I have learned from a loss is to make sure that I continue to lift people up regardless of their situation.

  • Tim Davis

    I have learned that character precedes doing, that who I am must be the foundation of what I do

  • Dave Russell

    Sometimes it takes courage to admit our mistakes. Ego causes us to think events are much bigger and have more dire consequences than they really do. I have discovered that I have to be honest with myself first and then I can be honest with others about my failures and short comings.

  • Daphne Delay

    My husband and I have been pastoring for 15 years. In the early years, we had a time when about 4 families left the church. I was heartbroken. One day at prayer, one of our 90-year-old members talked to me about being pruned. I said, “I know. We just want to be better pastors.” She said, “No, I was talking about the church. Sometimes God prunes things so it can bear the fruit He desires.” It was a lesson I’ve never forgotten. I still evaluate myself first as a leader, but I also remember to step back and look at the big picture too.

  • StevenRossYoung

    John Maxwell, Michael Hyatt and other great contemporary leaders often point to Max Depree’s profound words to leaders “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” I wholeheartedly believe in this statement. My biggest professional loss taught me how to better define and face reality. It gave me a better vantage point from which to notice where I needed to grow.

  • Jflottman

    I’ve been reading John Maxwell since 21 Laws first came out 15 years ago. Still a great resource.

  • Bob Hentrich

    That I need to be humble and watch myself carefully.

  • Robinson Mertilus

    I learned not to regret the mistake, but to take responsibility and to use it as a lesson.

  • Gerry Lewis

    I have learned the power of owning it and the power of a sincere apology.

  • Neal Newhof

    I learned to never assume! Get all the information up front. Don’t pay for the service until it is done. I live overseas and help run a cafe. We needed to switch single pane windows with double pane. The window guys needed the cash up front to pay the factory for the windows. I assumed it was a one day job. Turns out they took the single pane of glass out to use it in the making of the double pane. I didn’t know that until the windows were already out…not to be finished until the next day. Two of my co-workers had to sleep in the cafe overnight so we didn’t get robbed. For some reason they decided to watch the movie ‘I am Legend’ to pass the time. That was a mistake too. My friends made it through the night. The cafe was safe. The windows were installed. I learned a valuable lesson.

  • Jürgen Gößl

    Back in highschool (in Germany) I was so lazy that I didn’t earn enough credits to enter the final exams. I had to study an extra year before I could do my exams. I even had to change the school. But that brought me together with some new friedns who helped me with my homework and even brought me closer to faith in Jesus. What I learned? If people help you up, you can recover from great failure and head down a totally new direction.

  • Randy Webster

    I recently spent two years developing new skill sets in an area of our business that had been merged with my area of expertise in order to secure a promotion only to have that avenue of advancement closed to those in my position. I was extremely focused on the task and neglected other areas of my life. Having this avenue closed caused me to take a hard look at my priorities for the rest of my life and let me refocus on areas that won’t necessarily lead to promotions with my employer but will allow me to become a better influence on the lives that I touch.

  • Adam Rico

    I have learned that sometimes our biggest loss is the catalyst we need to find our passion. We can then use our loss to help others overcome and learn from their losses.

  • Caryn Elizabeth

    A big loss? 9k to an online marketing co. for leads. I learned:

    1. Don’t Rush. if a company is that good, it will be around tomorrow.
    2. Research before you spend your money. Seek more than 1 persons advise about a company. Get references and hard copy testimonies that are NOT part of a marketing sales letter.

    3. Love yourself more. Giving 9k to anyone means that’s 9k worth of hours of labor you’re spending.
    4. Create boundaries. Trust must be earned with anyone. We don’t need to believe everyone we talk to. It’s ok to be cautious. It shows love for yourself.

  • Yvonne Ortega

    I went through a divorce and seven years later went through cancer. I learned to ask for help and to be honest about what was going on. I also learned that if I am open to God’s best for me, he can take what seemed to be failure and destruction and turn it into something good. Thank you for this interview that leaves the reader with hope.

  • Angie Albright

    I’ve learned that some of what we think is so important and so dear to us actually isn’t. That job I sacrificed so much for? My life vastly improved after I lost that job.

  • Karen

    Losses are hard, but most times the worst I think could happen never does and I usually come out much better on the other side. Look forward to reading John’s book.

  • Stephen

    I learned through a great loss just recently that my actions have consequences. I made some poor choices and I had to withdraw from school. I knew this already, but it was different to experience it versus just intellectually knowing it.

  • Robin Moore

    One of the biggest losses occurred in my life with my husband was diagnosed with a condition that eventually took away his mobility. Giving up my expectation of what our life together was SUPPOSED to look like was a difficult loss. In the meantime, I have learned that some of our best years as a couple have resulted from this new intimacy where I assist and care for him. Many character qualities that I am complimented on by others have been developed by this life change. I am a more patient, nurturing wife. On a practical side, I have grown very strong. What seemed like a big loss at first has turned into one of the greatest learning experiences I have had as an adult. Sometimes you win AND learn.

  • Rodney

    I appreciate John Maxwell! Looking forward to this book.

  • John Meese

    During my first year in college, I had a number of disagreements with one of my best friends, who was also a coworker. I “knew I was right” and so I just ignored the tension assuming he would get over it, but before long he cut me off from communication with both him and his fiancé and I lost my two closest friends at once. Shortly thereafter, I left that job. The first lesson I learned there was how futile my pride was, and how little it mattered who was right.

    I cared about and prayed about both of those friends for years, and carried deep wounds with me from that into every friendship or relationship from then on, but I never lost hope that one day we would reconcile somehow (I had tried to reach out, to no avail). After more than three years had passed without a word, I got a message out of the blue apologizing for everything with kind words and wishing me the best. The peace from that message was an answer to prayer. From that, I learned that patience and hope do pay off, and I’ve learned to cherish the friendships I have so much more.

  • Felicity Voisey

    I learnt that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and who is more important than where.

  • Kristen

    I have learned that loss is a growth process — learning we are not in control, learning that it is through loss and pain you are refined, learning that once you start focusing on all you have and not on all you don’t, life is in perspective.

  • Phan Tam Quyen

    I’ve learnt one thing. The only thing that I learn from my big failure is that, I’m a coward, and I’ll never able to escape that coward. And the fear of loosing, however; I need to learn how to work with it, and how to control it, now without it and how to avoid it. With fear we can achieve great things, why? because we know our limitations. How are we going to push through our limitations and achieve greater things (or greatest) if we don’t know our limitation? Fear is a friend, not a foe, we are however is the biggest enemy of ourselves.

  • Mark Anthony Steacy

    I recently read my first John Maxwell book, Winning with People. Looking forward to reading more in the near future. Thanks for sharing this interview Michael.

  • Ikechukwu Alexandrix

    What I have learned from a big loss is to cut my losses, whatever they might be! When the reality of a loss dawns on me, I deliberately should get bold to look it square in the eye and decide to overcome it. That’s an inevitable first step.
    I’ll illustrate by saying I have seen in my speck of a lifetime, the loss of a spouse, one close friend after another, and trust in general. The events that culminated in loss always come in trickles. They never rain down so to speak. But I have come to know that as long as I breathe, there are no absolutes. Not where people are concerned. I can only hope for the best. They have their reasons for going overboard. Sometimes you can’t help them not to do that. I mean, the very reason you don’t want them to becomes their motivation. So when the loss comes, it’s easy to throw out the baby and the bath water. Start from scratch. But better still, I’ve had it better when I take the broken pieces and make a piece of art with it.

  • Ikechukwu Alexandrix

    I think the link for the separate contact form is still broken Mike…

  • Ikechukwu Alexandrix

    What I have learned from a big loss is to cut my losses, whatever they might be! When the reality of a loss dawns on me, I deliberately should get bold to look it square in the eye and decide to overcome it. That’s an inevitable first step.
    I’ll illustrate by saying I have seen in my speck of a lifetime, the loss of a spouse, one close friend
    after another, and trust in general. The events that culminated in loss always come in trickles. They never rain down so to speak. But I have come to know that as long as I breathe, there are no absolutes. Not where people are concerned. I can only hope for the best. They have their reasons for going overboard. Sometimes you can’t help them not to do that. I mean, the very reason you don’t want them to becomes their motivation. So when the loss comes, it’s easy to throw out the baby and
    the bath water. Start from scratch. But better still, I’ve had it betterwhen I take the broken pieces and make a piece of art with it.

  • Ikechukwu Alexandrix

    I think the problem with the link in the email is that it doesn’t link to an URL. It simply links to “sometimes+you+win,+sometimes+you+learn/”. Guessing your developers can handle that in a snap. Thank you sir.

  • johnmurphyinternational

    I learned that no matter how bad it feels right now, it will pass, but it will have been wasted if I do not tke a learning from it.

  • Moronmubo Olayide

    To always put things in perspective. Think twice possibly thrice before going ahead. Sometimes that little extra patience will filter out the error.

  • Amy

    I’ve learnt that Time is precious and should be seized. Sometimes, petty things that seemed important at that time may be completely unhelpful to even pay attention on. Focusing on the Here and Now and always make conscious choices and hold on to hope will bring us further in our life-long marathon.

  • Seth

    Michael, Thank you for introducing quality, value adding resources like this! I look forward to reading this book and re shaping the way I view my losses, both big and small.

  • Julie Sunne

    I learned that in Christ there is always Hope!

  • Michael La Ronn

    I’ve learned that there’s a reason that you fail. John is right—once you accept reality and are willing to learn from your mistake, there’s always another door that opens pretty soon after, and this door is usually the door you’ve needed all along, whether you knew it or not.

  • Charles Pobee-Mensah

    Thirteen years ago I made a mistake in high school that crept back up the other day. I learned that my actions affect my family and friends. It’s important to guard your integrity closely.

  • Paul Montgomery

    I have learned from a big lost is, you loose only what you are willing to give up! The more you give up (not just material) time, effort or material you give to something, especially when it has no bearing on your success…you lose! So I try not to ponder on mistakes that will hinder or cause set-backs in my life because i know my destination is far away from where I was headed.

  • JuliePerrine2

    I’ve learned that loss shows us many things; what/who is truly important, who can/can’t be trusted, who is a true friend and most importantly, what we could have done differently. Pride has no place in losing, for it is truly a humbling experience. It can leave us with a drained and broken spirit, which in the end allows room for refilling with fresh visions and experience to guide us in our next quest.

  • Susan Sims

    I learned I was stronger than I thought I was, and yet, I learned I couldn’t do it without God in my life. I’ve always messed things up going at it on my own. I also learned I must lean on others to walk beside me. I let them know my hurts and where I wanted to go from my loss…they held me accountable.

  • jkhartwell

    I learned the importance of having a platform or portfolio. Something to show for your experience and knowledge.

  • Linda Goodman

    My greatest learning in life has been from the really stupid things I have done!

  • Orugbo Jeffry

    If a Loss is properly evaluated it isn’t a Loss any more,its a learn. Dont know if the last phrase is grammatically correct.I enjoy reading you blog and listening to your Podcast,great Job.

  • john_adair

    Sometimes the loss is God closing the door so keep your eyes open for the message/lesson.

  • alisonannes

    One of my biggest learning opportunities has been the power of effective communication. If I look back on the last four or five losses, many of them were fueled by ineffective communication and mismatched expectations. This can be dealt with by setting clear boundaries and outlining expectations in advance, without over-promising results.

  • Craig Millar

    I’ve learned that when things blow up in my face and seem like a major loss, i have to realize that my response is my responsibility. For example., a loss is often beyond our control because it was/is caused by the actions of someone else. I must choose to healthily respond and move on. Secondly, coupled with that, I’ve realized that I must immediately take responsibility for what is my issue or action to own in the loss. I posture myself as a learner and sift through my screw up and attempt to pull out the gold from the fire and try to apply it in the future.

  • lawlessunlimited

    The biggest Lesson I learn in failing forward was from my divorce. I am now re-married being very successful due to my previous mistakes(lessons learned) and because of this knowledge I have started a marriage ministry at our church to help people avoid the mistakes I made. My misery because my ministry. I am so blessed for it!

  • janica

    I’ve learned to admit my mistakes and work to mitigate their impact. I’ve also learned that acknowledging them goes a long way toward forgiveness — from both myself and others.

  • Mark Ryan

    After each project at work we complete a lessons learned exercise. We walk through the good, the bad and the ugly of the job, where we made money, where we lost money. This is critical to bidding future projects. One loss I learned from was when I ended up with agonizing shin splints. It taught me that no matter how good my lungs feel, my legs needs time to rest. It taught me the importance of stretching after my runs and the importance of changing the surface I run on. It didn’t teach me how to avoid plantar fascitis, but that loss taught me some new things as well.

  • Andy Paterson

    I’ve learned that sometimes it is useful to read the directions. Once I wasted 30 hours of time by checking the wrong box.

  • Jerry Butler

    Michael, always appreciate your blog/emails. Fan of John Maxwell, and look forward to the new book.

  • Randy Cantrell

    That resilience, tenacity and patience are best learned in times of defeat.

  • Angelia J. Poole

    I’ve learned to appreciate relationships, opportunities and things in the moment I have them. Sometimes we become so accustomed to something being in place that we don’t give them the time and attention they deserve. Once we’ve lost them, we realize just how important and valuable they were to us. I’ve learned valuable things should be valued.

  • Gabriel Rodriguez

    I’ve learn that if you’re honest about your failures your credibility will not be hurt as much as if you tried to pass the buck. All leaders will fail, but not all leaders admit it and learn from it. David says this plainly in Psalm 51:13 “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”

  • Lance

    Can’t wait to read this!! Another great book from John!

  • Sean Nisil

    I’ve learned that losses are a part of growing. Failing can be used as a fire to refine your character and strengthen your resolve. People want leaders that are honest about their mistakes but have the tenacity to continue moving forward.

  • Tracey L. Moore

    Definitely plan to get that book! The biggest mistake I made lately was to not pray before accepting invitations. Two times in a row I accepted invitations that were quite a waste of time or they turned out badly. I have got to take a moment just to check with the Spirit. Otherwise, I will continue to lose precious time on things that God has absolutely purpose for in my life. But the saving grace is that I am learning to hear the voice of God better. On one occasion, I had no peace, but I accepted the invitation and went anyway. Now when I have that uneasy feelling, I know I better pay attention.
    Tracey L. Moore
    Author of Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth

  • Nick Q

    I recently learned (the hard way) how important it is to have a good accountant/CPA in your corner… When it comes to finances and being tax complaint, make sure you research your CPA and make sure he knows how to best handle your company (sole prop, LLC, or Corp).

  • Asa Veek

    Sometimes failure is a matter of giving up. That’s what I did. But I’ve learned better how to work in certain types of environments, and I feel that I now possess some skills and perspectives I would otherwise not have obtained apart from walking that path.

  • Tim Carlson

    The most difficult part of “learning” is that while your doing it, it feels much more like “pain”. I’m reminded of the words on failure by Thomas Edison – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

  • Allen Kozel

    I’ll keep it as short as possible. On November 4, 2012, I lost my 2nd daughter. My wife and I were told at 17 weeks and 6 Days that our daughter wouldn’t make it. By God’s plan he allowed her to with with us until 35 weeks and 2 days, when she was eventually born directly to heaven. Also in 2012, I found out my mom had breast cancer and my grandfather had prostate cancer. When I thought all was going down the drain, God was pushing me to lean on faith. And that I did, but I November 4th, I thought all hope was gone. Little did I know on November 5th, my mom would be declared cancer free after a 7-8 month battle over stage 3 breast cancer. That year really prompted me to look at my life and make big changes. Start living life more intentionally every day and living it for God. So the loss of my daughter has really helped me put things in perspective and live life to the fullest. And make it my mission to live out God’s mission for my life in being a disciple for him. This launched me into a huge personal growth path in 2013. That is actually when I found out about this blog and your podcast that drive me daily. It has also prompted me to launch a blog on intentional living. To help others that might be just floating along in life with no real intent purpose like I was up until last year. I have to thank you Michael for all of your insights! It has really helped me in my path to intentional growth this year!! Hope you have a blessed afternoon.

  • Chad Vanags

    I’ve loved JM since the days of the Great Recession. I went down with the real estate and mortgage industry and lost everything from 2008-2010. His book Failing Forward is what gave me hope that recovery was possible…and that I was not an idiot because of all that failure. I devour Maxwell books like I devour triple cheeseburgers from Swenson’s Drive In in Akron, OH. I’m ready to read this one today!

  • Tara

    I’ve learned that failure doesn’t define you. You should look at it as a learning experience and as an opportunity to grow.

  • JAlanHarmon

    What a thought. In fact the “loss” becomes very valuable if you will “learn” from it. If you don’t learn from your mistakes then that loss is worthless. IN the economy of God, He says if you want to save your life then lose it. If you want to gain, then give. It doesn’t make much sense in the business world but God always seems to come through. I would love to win one of the 50 free books but I felt so strongly about this thought for my life that I went ahead and purchased Mr. Maxwell’s book. All I can say is WOW!

  • WoollyJumpers

    Every mistake is an opportunity to choose kindness and (re) learn humility. As a recovering perfectionist inclined to do nothing sooner than publish an error, I learned that my lack of forgiveness and kindness toward myself influenced how others behaved around me. If I wasn’t good enough for me, they might not be either. Learning to breathe through mistakes and take a lesson has made me kinder to myself and others around me.

  • Tina Gang

    Instead of making excuses for my mistakes I’ve learned to admit and take responsibility immediately. People tend to forgive and forget quicker when you do.

  • Whitney Rawls

    I’ve always said the best part of losing is that you learn something – particularly, what not to do.

  • Bo White

    Mistakes seem to be a test and it’s this: will we keep going through the failure to the other side (whatever that holds) or will we seek an easier route….the easy way is typically the one where we avoid learning.

  • Rick Linn

    I have learned that you can never win unless you lose first. You appreciate the final outcome much more through the effort.

  • Matt West

    I’ve learned it’s better to stay focused on one task and not have too many irons in the fire. Stick with what your good at. Less is more. The more directions you’re running the more likely you are to fail because you’re not focused. You’re out of focus.

  • Christy Farnbauch

    Learning from our mistakes and challenges is the only way innovate and improve. I’m a fan of John Maxwell and would love to read his latest ideas.

  • Wade_Thorson

    One of the big lessons I learned a few years ago through a big loss, was the importance of upfront planning and research. It goes with the saying measure twice, cut once. We launched a project without the necessary upfront review, and because of the mistake it comes up in a number of discussions since then. But the main thing was we learned from it, and improve our upfront analysis process because of it.

  • Paul Burnell

    I’ve learned that there is always someone in my network that could help me either recover a loss, or who can teach me what to do next time to prevent it.

  • Craig Bradshaw

    Losses in life equal experience! Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse! Every successful person has had major losses/failures, once you know that, it doesn’t feel so bad!

  • Judith M.

    I’ve learned that “things” don’t translate into happiness and joy supersedes it all.

  • Rob Sorbo

    I learned how to work after receiving grace from a boss who should have fired me.

  • KSmith

    John is absolutely correct when he talks about hope. Without hope there is no drive to continue to learn from life’s experiences. Someone once told me that it’s faith that puts you to sleep and hope that gets you up.

  • Cherry Odelberg

    “Action cures fear,” so said Zig Ziglar or one of the positive motivationalists. Action give hope. You are doing something (learning) besides sitting still. Over the past 14 days of government shut down, I have learned some things about myself – and learned to hope. Displaced as part of a non-profit bookstore that retails on National Park Service property; I learned I have just as much energy as I did 30 years ago – I am also capable of pulling down and reconnecting complex computer systems (and I am not a techie) and making something attractive out of nothing. Learning brings self-confidence and hope.

  • Alpha Angle Alpacas

    Your interview has made me stop, look deep inside, take responsibility of the mistakes I know I am making & covering up. Because the truth really is… I will have even bigger problems, if I don’t start pressing through my fears now. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I needed to read this.

  • Andre V

    I’ve learned that

  • Sheena

    Having a big loss has made it open my eyes to appreciate the little things and take one day at a time. life is so short and I don’t want to get older and look back and wish I would have done things differently. By almost losing something very important to me, I have learned to love deeper and take adventures. I also learned to just take chances when they arise. I try not to have regrets because everything happens for a reason and everything can be a learning experience.

  • tony

    Looks like a great book! Thanks for sharing, Michael!

  • Samantha

    I’ve learned to look before I leap. I recently took a position out of desperation moving back to my hometown (what I truly wanted). It turns out the position was not at all what I expected and the opportunity for growth is slim. If I had waited and reviewed my options, I wouldn’t be waiting now for a position to open up at my old company. I’m happy I learned this lesson but it’s hard in the meantime!

  • Tony Chung

    I learn to rely on others rather than myself. Since becoming a Christian I’ve had to trust God a whole lot more, and it’s been, well, scary, to be honest. Greater is He that is within me than He that is in the world. But man, there are days where it sure doesn’t feel like it!

  • anonymous

    I recently was at a very low point in my life a few months back – the one lesson I learned was to never lose faith(either in yourself or god). We cant always control what happens to us in life, but what we do in those circumstances – how we rise above, how we choose to remain positive, how we become grateful for the so-called smaller things in life, how we change our perspective on life – all of that helps us grow and hopefully makes us better individuals. The bigger the loss the more strongly we re-evaluate ourselves, our loved ones and our goals.

  • Patrick Leh Meriwether

    I had mentored another your lawyer in my firm for nearly a year, only for her to leave my firm for another after pouring my knowledge into her. I had failed and lost a year of training and now another law firm was receiving the benefit of my training. I had to take a step back and not take it personally. I had to realize that being a lawyer is just what I do, it is not who I am. Her choice had nothing to do with me, and she texted me just the other day to tell me how much she missed working with me. Now I am creating digital products within my firm, so next time this happens, I will not lose nearly as much time training. I will have digital products in place to perform as much training as possible.

  • Wes Rodgers

    I learned several valuable lessons from a broken engagement 2 years ago. Firstly, we (including me, I found out) are SO resilient in the wake of any difficult loss. The waves seem to keep crashing on you while you are going through the difficulty, but it’s in our very nature to have that hope that the calm waters will return. And sure enough, through prayer & fellowship & a really great mentor, they did! Secondly, I also learned that the quicker I can get through those crashing waves to the calm water, the better. And, yes, you can DECIDE how fast you get there!! My mistake was that I muddled around WAY too long in rough waters. That does nothing good for you or everyone else around you. Accept the loss as reality and very quickly decide to move forward and get past it so that you can live your free and hopeful life we were all created to live!

  • Theresa Ceniccola

    I’ve learned that God has greater plans than I do.

  • Rev. Darian L. Hybl

    I lost my job that I loved. I would not have left the position and would have been happy the rest of my life. But God had different plans. Prior to this my wife and I had been trying to start a family. In loosing my job, my wife was offered a position that allowed us to have a child.

    More importantly I had to crucify my ego and be reformed and reshaped by God for bigger and better things.

  • Marcie Lewis

    When I didn’t get into the graduate school program that I wanted, I was devastate but I learned that one program cannot define you, and there were other programs that were actually better suited to my career path that I hadn’t explored in the first place because I thought I wanted something. I am now much better at fully investigating all of my options and not letting other peoples decisions impact me to the same level.

  • Pete Stone

    One of the most treasured principles I learned from a major personal failure is that I am not defined by what I do in life, but rather by the content of who I am.

  • Joshua Swift

    I have had some big losses and at the time I thought it was the worst thing in the world, but in retrospect I can now look back and see that it was the best thing that could have happened to me. If I hadn’t had the big loss I would have went down a different path that seemed like the best thing at the time, but now I see the loss was the best thing for me. God had better plans for my life and He always knows what’s best.

  • Nigel Macdonald

    Does the book address the reality that winning is often a barrier to learning and suggest how we can avoid that combination?

  • anshul10s

    I have learned that its not end of the world when you make a mistake, its just a confident elimination of one of the approach/path to reach my goal.

  • Jeremy Clopton

    I have learned to put things in perspective and really focus in on what is important. Many times a shift in focus can help lead to success in the future.

  • Hilary Schrauf

    I learned that sometimes a loss can be a blessing in disguise. A loss, especially a big one, provides the opportunity to get a new perspective on yourself, your work practices, and your deficiencies. I had a major loss earlier this year and that experience showed me EXACTLY where I could improve my skills. I’m still working to fill in those knowledge gaps, but I know they are there. Like Chris P. says below, “The things I don’t know that I don’t know are what often bring defeat.” I’m saying there’s always a “win” in there somewhere when you get the chance to improve!

  • Ckraphie

    I have learned that there is always a “bright side” to my darkest situation… an opportunity to grow and move forward

  • Gil Michelini

    Don’t do that again!
    While I am was on the road to my biggest lost, I was learning about and from Jim Rohn. I remember him failure talking about failure as “you have messed up” and to stop doing what I was doing and start doing something else. After I messed up, I have worked to never go down THAT road again.

  • darkwah

    mistakes are what we fear most, but someone said, success is failing forward, yet another person (Winston Churchill) said, success is moving from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. those are all true. there cannot be failure without mistakes; and there cannot be success without learning from the mistakes. Good job.

  • darkwah

    I’ve learned that being too much emotional about problems sometimes unnecessary leads to more problems – mistakes.

  • Ron Russell

    I’ve been laid off twice in my career for extended periods. I learned that no matter how bleak things may appear I will survive. I also learned – or rather affirmed – that I am not facing these trials alone. I have an amazing wife, two wonderful daughters and great parents, all of whom love and support me unconditionally. Both experiences lead me to redefine myself in terms of who I am professionally and both for the better.

  • Swat Khan

    Thanks for sharing. We are always correcting ourselves towards our target.

    What I’ve learned from a recent setback is a hard learned lesson.

    From this hard lesson there was a piece of wisdom that I took away and felt stronger. This wisdom can also be applied to future situations or to consult and help others in a similar situation. Mistakes only help us grow.


  • Kraig Harper

    Making mistakes means you are trying to grow. Learning from your mistakes means you are growing.

  • Mike Hansen

    I have learned that a loss doesn’t define me as a person, nor what God has called my life to be. Big Picture. Must always keep that in mind.

  • Eric

    From big losses, I’ve learned the values of perspective, hard work and perseverance. Perspective–you don’t have it as bad as some people and failure isn’t final. Hard works–eventually your work is noticed and you excell. Perseverance–few things can last against true perseverance.

  • Ken Doyle

    Thanks for sharing about “Hope”. Without the gift of “Hope”, we can lose our passion & excitement for life, we can become prisoners in our own minds without purpose, and can become frozen as to what direction we should move forward in.

    Jeremiah 29:11
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to
    prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  • Marilyn Turk

    I’ve learned humility, that I can be replaced, and that the world will go on. But I’ve also learned not to put my trust in earthly things, like my job or my employer to take care to me. Once those were gone, I realized only God can and will take care of me.

  • David Hooper

    I’ve had several “losses” over the years and the biggest thing I’ve learned from them is that life goes on and you can move forward. As long as you don’t make the same mistake again, it’s not a big deal. And even if you do make the same mistake, even though you may feel stupid, it’s not a big deal…just part of the process.

  • Anne Day

    To me a mistake is lesson I had learn, albeit sometimes the hard way

  • Sandra Roy

    Resilience. You can recover from anything. Don’t give up.

  • Wayne Morgan

    I have learned three things from big losses in my life. 1) The worst loss, perhaps the only real loss, is the one where I did not learn anything from the experience. 2) What may be seen as a loss today may actually be the foundation to a big win down the road. 3) Gold is not purified without getting rid of the dross. My losses are often only God’s way of ridding me of a character defect or person hubris.

  • Mina Samy

    I have learned that when I take a plane to break a habit in my life, I should not always expect success. My responsibility is to cling on God, and God is responsible for the rest.

  • Sue Detweiler

    John Maxwell has been a man of integrity who has strengthened my leadership skills. I remember going through The 21 Irrefutable Laws with my staff when it came out. I look forward to learning from this new book. Thanks Michael for making us aware of the resource.

  • Anthony Spallone

    Thanks Mr. Hyatt and Mr. Maxwell for this post. I have learned from a big loss that it’s never over. No matter what happens it will always work out for my good and the glory of God. Thank you for highlighting the importance of hope at the end of this post.

    God bless,


  • Charissa Greer

    I have learned the importance of staying humble in the situation. Instead of making excuses or going into blame-game mode, going to a place of humility helps me to focus on the task of learning rather than shutting my mind off.


    I learned that sometimes a goal you pursue is based upon fulfilling someone else’s dream rather than your own and when you fail in achieving that goal, it can free you to pursue what really drives you. I went to Veterinary school because I had been told since childhood to be a Doctor. When it did not work out, I was free to pursue a career that used my natural strengths and loved my experience in Law school! I went on to practice law for over 20 years.


    My first business loss was losing a customer that was about $5,000-10,000 a year in business. I was so frustrated. But it turned out to be a blessing so I could focus on customers that generate more profit. The customer was very needy and not very profitable.

  • JWBrady

    Sometimes you may not find or discover the answers to the “Why” questions. Therefore you may need to just simply accept that. Sometimes the answer to “why” may not fully provide you with comfort either.

  • Matt Law

    John Maxwell is one of those guys that gets you started on the leadership journey. The 21 Laws was my first leadership book and was very impact on my life. I read Failing Forward after going through a terrible business time which included bankruptcy back in 2008 and it really lifted my spirits. I’m going to check out this book.

  • Bonface

    Loosing helps you learn a new way of not succeeding

  • Rick Conlow

    Too many times I don’t learn from my experiences because I am not honest with myself. This most often relates to these private mistakes you talk about. I wonder if others are in the same boat as me. I have noticed that this is where fear rears its greatest challenge, and that it takes real courage to learn needed lessons in life.

  • AT

    My failures have been the greatest experiences of my life. I did not feel that way at the time, I thank God I can share my experiences of losing a job I loved, losing a business, and other setbacks that allowed me to dig deep into my spirit and tap into the grit I needed to become a successful minister and educator. What an amazing journey my life has been!

  • Mere Birch

    You can’t be perfect but there is room for improvement. I once had an unhealthy pattern to shift the blame when things did not work how I planned. Plan your work & work your plan. If it all turns to custard do not blame. Planning is my main ingredient now.

  • ron

    When i loss my job as a high school football coach, i learned how to be a better listener. I also learned how to manage in such a way as not to de-motivate people and help create a climate where the truth is heard and facts are confronted as a team. Lead with questions and communicate the shared goals and visions often. Finally hire passinate and skilled people.

  • frances murphy

    I learned that God is my everything when I’m up and when im down. When I lost my job in 2013 that’s when I realized sometime you lose to learn that God will supply all your needs. I learn how to put all my trust in God and not other things.