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I surround myself with young people. One theory would be, it keeps me feeling younger. But, in actuality, it often makes me feel my age. The last 6 months, one of our young men went through a grueling interview process to become a law enforcement officer. Last week was the culmination of an interview with the Chief. Monday, the letter came. You will not be hired. You will not be a peace officer with us. You did not make the cut. You can reapply in a year. Devastating.

So where do you go when you have been labeled as “not making the cut?” How do you move on?

With age, with experience, we know that in life these disappointments come. Sometimes more often than not. We do not make the cut – in jobs, in interviews, in proposals, in marriage, in parenthood, in sports, in hobbies … in life.

You are not good enough.

Two obvious choices come: stand up or sit down. You can take the stamp, write I’m not good enough on your forehead, curl in a fetal position and cry.  Which, of course, is a very tempting response. And, maybe even a good idea for an hour or two. Or…

You can stand up. You can embrace the fact that this is how life works. We don’t always get want we want. Life is not always fair.  Ok, I’ve stated the obvious.

It’s also important to remember that nothing stays permanent in life unless you make it impossible to change. As much as you may feel like you are in a slump, failure mode or stalled out, the fact is that you will only stay there if you stop. If you quit moving forward, success won’t come. The only way you can change your life for the better is to seize the day and put forth the effort to make your situation change for the better. Change is a natural part of life, so if you are worried about the changes that you are seeing, take a deep breath, and figure out a plan that will make change become a positive thing for you.

When you feel you have failed in business, in a negotiation, in a proposal, in a relationship, or even as a parent or spouse – what now?

Fail Forward, man! Stand up, grab the challenge and fail forward. Hard and fast. Mary Belden-McGrath, the master trainer for Driven for Life, can easily be quoted saying, “Fail forward, fail fast.” It is a favorite of hers.


So, what now? You got turned down, didn’t make the cut. There are 17,000 state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States, ranging in size from one officer to more than 30,000. Ready, Set, Go!

There is not a blog long enough to include all I learned in BOLD: Advanced Leadership, but one of the things I clearly walked away with was the precept that there is really no such thing as a setback, everything – yes everything, whether in business or personal life is a building block to where you can and are going. You just have to reprogram your thought process to say, “Oh, it’s a no? Challenge accepted! Game on, let’s do this.”

Fail forward, fail fast and move on.

Deb Bostwick
Staff Writer

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