Using Past Failures to Adapt and Improve 

Life is a journey and failure is part of it. As we grew up, we failed all the time. When learning how to walk, we would stumble, fall, and get back up to try again. We made mistakes learning how to talk, but we used those mistakes to learn the language even better. However, as we got older, we began to view failures as taboo. It seems now as if no one wants to talk about their failures.

Something we do talk about is persevering and never giving up. In order to do that, we need to embrace our failures, learn from them, and move forward. That is how you strengthen yourself, your business strategies, and your company. 

In a recent episode of Digital Conversations with Billy Bateman, Sean Hackner – Vice President of Marketing and Sales at NetWise – shared the importance of persevering and not giving up, even when facing setbacks and failures. “Failures are lessons, and lessons are meant to be learned,” stated Hackner.

Hackner understands that there is no golden bullet in marketing. It’s about trial and error. We make the best decisions that we can with the data that we have at the moment.

Adapting/ Pivoting

Being able to adapt and pivot is important when things are not going right. Hackner gave a great sports analogy to explain this idea. There are many instances where the halftime whistle is blown and one team is losing by a lot. But after the half, they come back on the field ready to go, and end up winning the game. They are playing with the same ball, on the same field, with the same referee, and the same team. What transitions them from failing in the first half to winning in the second half is their mindset. They looked at where they performed well and where they need to make improvements. They then adjusted their strategy and mindset, created a new plan, and executed it. 

Just because something isnt working doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means you have to come back at it in a different way, just like the sports team. They had all the resources they needed to succeed, they just needed to adjust their mindset and way of executing their strategy. That is successful pivoting. 

The hard part is starting that conversation. We want to talk about our wins and our successes, not our failures. But we need to be talking about both what is and isn’t working. That is how we will adapt and improve quickly and efficiently.


Talking about failures does not just need to be an internal practice. People are moving a lot toward LinkedIn and social media marketing. Outreach is heavy on social media platforms. But you still hardly ever see anyone posting about failures or things that didn’t work out. 

An easy way to personalize yourself and your company is by giving both sides of the story. Putting both the good and that bad out there and being transparent about obstacles as well as successes. Doing that will make you real and relatable. It will set you apart from competitors and make you way better in the funnel. People want honesty. They want real. Giving people the good and the bad will not only make you relatable, but will cause people to want to be a part of what you have to offer.

We all go through similar experiences of trial and error. No organization is perfect, but we should focus on continuous improvement and learning from our pitfalls.


“Unless you’re adapting, you’re really setting yourself up for tremendous failure,” emphasized Hackner. “Little failures along the way are good. Learning and adapting along the way is even better.”

As we learn to accept the failures we face as learning opportunities, we will be able to adapt and change. Sharing these improvements will also create opportunities for personalization and connection with future prospects.


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