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failing forward with Nikki Bell

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We all want to do a good job. Especially in the nonprofit sector, sometimes there’s immense pressure to do an outstanding job because we need to answer to the community we serve. But trying to do a good job does not equate to the endlessly pursuing perfection. In fact, perfection doesn’t exist and we learn the most when we fail. On today’s episode, our guest Nikki Bell, fundraising consultant and founder of Pizza for Losers, will share with us how we can learn from the smallest to the biggest failures and how to build a growth-oriented relationship with our fear of failure.

Myths that Nikki wants us to leave behind

  1. Failure shows our weakness. Moments of failures show our real potential. If you have not failed at anything, it means you’ve been playing too safe.

  2. Only big failures can guide us to learn. Our work and lives are made up of many small failures more than big, catastrophic failures. Some of the biggest learnings can come from the smallest failures.

Nikki’s tips on failing forward

  1. Take space and time for reflection. Failing gives us an opportunity for introspection. Make sure that you allow yourself to sit with the uncomfortable feeling and observe what is going on and reflect what is your biggest takeaway.

  2. Have a toolkit ready for facing fear. Dealing with fear of failure and pressure to succeed takes practice. Use methods like free writing to dissect your feelings and nurture habits to make you feel comfortable with these stressful and uncomfortable feelings. The more you practice, the more you will become aware of it and know how to respond instead of react to it.

  3. Don’t play the comparison game. Practicing failing forward is a journey, and everyone’s journey is different. Avoid comparing yourself with others or else you might fall for the trap of thinking the person you compare yourself with doesn't seem to have fear or failures, but in actuality you don’t know another that person feels.

My favourite quotes from this episode

Post your favourite quote on social to share with us!

“With failures, we tend to blame elsewhere. It’s really important to get comfortable with uncomfortable feelings. Reflect, work on yourself, and love yourself.”

“Quitting something that’s not working is not failure. The failure is sticking in it and festering there long term just to save face.”

Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership


Nikki Bell

Pizza for Losers

Fundraising Everywhere