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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Plan to be wrong, but still plan

    “What if we’re wrong?” That was the question a senior leader asked his CEO as they were discussing business strategies and plans. “We probably are,” she replied, “but let’s move forward nonetheless.”

    This conversation was recounted by the CEO of an $18 billion company recently. Like every organization, they were making major corporate investment decisions based on assumptions seeded by the best available information. These were long-term strategies developed to align with forecasts of customer needs and technological innovation, based on trends and predictions, and presuming an appropriate measure of volatility. In other words, they were making an educated guess. Some people freeze, waffle or delay in the face of such massive decisions, but leaders must ultimately take a position and move forward, frequently knowing that they’ll be wrong, or they have only a partial solution. But failing to prepare for the future isn’t an option.  Continue reading

    Fail Your Way To Success



    Failure is typically considered a bad experience. We don’t perform as expected. We’re unsuccessful at attaining a goal. Our health or wealth deteriorates. We’re unfairly blamed for something we didn’t do. We lose someone or something that we love. But the reality is that all of us experience inadequacy, frustration, defeat and botch things up, multiple times in our lives. The question is, what do we learn from our failures, particularly the significant ones? Do we pick ourselves up and push forward, or does it paralyze us? Do we blame others and look for someone to save us, or do we use it as a tool to shape our future?

    Failure is a hot topic this month with the launch of 2 new books. Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn by leadership guru John Maxwell explores the question of “What do we learn when we fail?” Experiencing failure is a given in everyone’s life, but we often don’t want to talk about it, we just try to endure it.  Maxwell believes that the common saying “experience is the best teacher” is more accurately phrased as “evaluated experience is the best teacher”. His book shares lessons on humility, hope, reality, responsibility, improvement, problems, bad experiences, change, teachability, adversity and maturity, as key traits of learners who succeed in the face of problems, failure, and losses.


    Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams wrote How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. In an interview with Gary Rosen in the Wall Street Journal Weekend Review, Adams advises readers not to follow their passion because it may not be very rational. For instance, a sports enthusiast who decides to open a sports paraphernalia store because he’s passionate about it, may not have a good business plan.  So don’t get passionate beyond the initial stage with something that isn’t working. Instead, try lots of things that won’t kill you, bankrupt you, etc. until something works. Adams failed at inventions, computer programs, and other initiatives, but every time he did something he learned from it, and that skill came in handy. Everything he did was all designed to give him experience that would become a stronger base.


    Experiencing Failure

    While we all experience failure, we generally want to experience it in private with minimal publicity.  After all, it’s embarrassing, especially when it looks like so many others around us are winning. Because it impacts our self-image, it can leave us in fear of greater failure if we see ourselves as losers, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or, we can decide to focus on avoiding that same mistake in the future. We can convert failure to a positive experience, using focus and faith. Focus on what you learned and what you did right. Have faith in God and yourself to change as a result of what you’ve learned.

    The bigger the failure the greater effort it takes to get out of it, and the more we learn. Failure is all relative.  What we perceive to be failure may simply require us to redefine success. The most successful people are those who learn from their (and others’) mistakes, refuse to let those mistakes define them (don’t wallow in them), use them as stepping stones, and share them with others.

    Failure isn’t always your fault, but it may be your responsibility. For example, if you hire someone who later steals from you, it’s not your fault that this person is a thief, but it is your responsibility to hire people who seem to be trustworthy.  So you can learn to screen candidates more thoroughly, and put more security measures in place in hopes that it won’t happen again.  Or maybe you were responsible for a project, and someone on your team lied and failed to perform their assignment as part of that project. Because you’re the leader, you bear the responsibility for that failure, even though you didn’t personally do something wrong. Things may happen that are unfair. There may be a horrible miscarriage of justice, a failure that’s pinned on you. But the situation is now out of your control, and you are carrying the blame. You still have a choice to deal with sour lemons, or to make lemonade. You can’t control the decisions others have made, but you can control how you respond.

    Benefits of Failure

    So as you reflect on your failures, reflect on these accomplishments.

    • Failure is a badge of courage.  If we’ve never failed, we’ve never attempted anything worthwhile.
    • Failure informs us on our weaknesses and directs us to our strengths.
    • Failure gives us something to laugh about so that we can have fun with ourselves.
    • Failure gives us something to cry about so that we can appreciate the happy times.
    • Failure closes doors that don’t fit our purpose and helps point us to opportunities best suited for us.
    • Failure keeps us humble, recognizing that we’re not infallible.
    • Failure helps us appreciate success.
    • Failure highlights our wrong decisions so that we can learn how to make right ones.
    • Failure helps us identify what we need to learn.
    • Failure helps us identify what we can teach others.
    • Failure helps us avoid more failure.

    So the next time you experience failure…(maybe later today?)…don’t kick yourself, curse others, or spiral into depression. Instead, find a quiet spot and spend time meditating on what exactly went wrong, how you would handle it differently next time, what you’re learning from it, and how you can recover from the negative impact of it. Write that lesson down, then move forward, resolved not to repeat it.

    Copyright 2013 Priscilla Archangel



    Purchase John Maxwell’s book here and select Products.

    Watch Scott Adams’ interview here.


    The Spark That Ignited a Firestorm


    Caine was a nine year old boy trying to keep himself busy during summer vacation. He spent his days with his father who owned a used auto parts store. The store had a lot of empty boxes in the back room, so Caine had an idea.  He began creating arcade games out of the empty boxes and setting them up in the front of the store. Not just one game, but many games, intricate games. There was just one problem.  Because most of his father’s customers purchased via the internet, there wasn’t much walk-in traffic, and no one was interested in playing his games. Until one day, Nirvan Mullick walked into the store looking for a part for his car.  He was Caine’s first customer, and he thought Caine was really bright. So Nirvan had an idea to bring a lot of customers to Caine’s arcade. He created a flashmob event that brought hundreds of people to that small store. And Nirvan’s small gesture was a spark that ignited a firestorm and changed Caine’s young life, and along with the lives of many other children and adults.

    Caine's Arcade

    It turned into a Global Cardboard Challenge with over 270 Events in 41 countries, celebrating creativity and community around the world, while raising funds for various causes. Watch the videos to find out what happened and how a seemingly chance meeting sparked a firestorm.

    Then think about these leadership lessons from a nine year old boy. In fact, are you a better leader than a nine year old?

    • You’re never too young to develop and use your gift.
    •  Follow your passion.  Find your magic moment, your spark. That’s where your leadership will shine.
    • The best gifts serve others. How are you serving others with your gift?
    • Success in leadership doesn’t happen solely based on your own actions. You must walk with others in your leadership journey.
    • Don’t sell yourself short. Even when it doesn’t look like much, things can change quickly.
    • If you build it will they really come? Maybe not, but maybe so. But even if they don’t, there’s a lesson in the process alone.
    • Never discourage creativity, even when it doesn’t look like reality. Instead provide encouragement in constructive ways.
    • Always be ready for your big break. You never know what opportunity is right around the corner.
    • One simple idea may be more powerful than you could ever imagine.



    Who’s Your Tiger?

    I caught a few minutes of an interview recently between Charlie Rose, the acclaimed PBS interviewer and recent CBS morning news host, and Jim Nantz, CBS Sportscaster for The Masters’ Golf tournament. The key topic of course was Tiger Woods and his chances of again winning this major tournament. According to Nantz, Tiger’s left knee has been operated on four times, literally rebuilt, but that process has spawned a number of other injuries related to the knee, including Achilles tendon issues. If he is to succeed in his quest to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of major championship wins, Tiger needs to win five more majors. Assuming his body holds up another 10 years, with four majors a year, 40 in total, he should be able to easily best Nicklaus. 

    Interestingly though, they commented that the field of golfers has changed significantly since Tiger’s last major win four years ago. Instead of just the golfers in their 30s and 40s, most of whom have been mentally and physically intimidated by Tiger’s skill, there is a new crop of younger golfers in their 20s emerging who are poised and ready to establish and define their own era of golf. They’re not intimidated by Tiger, or used to him beating them by double digit strokes. They’re confident and fearless.


    I’m not a huge golfing fan so I sought out my local golf pro (my husband) to gain insight on whether Tiger really upped the level of the game, or were the new younger golfers just better. His opinion was that Tiger’s focus and commitment to the game taught other would-be players about the importance of body strength, practice and pure skill. This interview was really thought provoking, so I have two questions for you. Who’s your Tiger? And how do you respond to him? Continue reading

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