Risk and Failure in your Career

How do you deal with failure? This weeks podcast is with Scott Sandage author of Born Losers- A History of Failure in America. Failure is common in all of our careers, it is inherent with taking risk in our lives. Scott’s book describes in an interesting way how failure has come to be viewed in our society. The ideas for the book came when Scott was in the book store and noticed how much has been written about success and how little has been written about failure.


An example of failure is Ken Jennings who took a smart risk and became a contestant on the game show Jeopardy (Canadian game show host Alex Trebek) After 2700 correct answers, or rather questions, he incorrectly answered a question – he failed. Now we all know who has 40,000 workers that work 4 months per year (FedEX was what Ken answered, H&R Block was the correct answer). Like all normal human beings he eventually failed. Still Ken went home with over $2.5 million.

Ken was asked what he was going to take away from this experience and he answered, “during my life, I think I made a lot of safe and practical choices, I never took a chance or did something that for me would be a dream…being on Jeopardy has been that dream. You are much happier when you go for that long shot and play to your strengths instead of always doing the safe easy thing, I am grateful to this experience, if nothing else, for having taught me that”.

This week what smart risk could you take?

  1. Now go and do it.


How do you deal with risk and failure? Continue the conversation on my blog.

Taking smart risk, along the road with you!

Alan