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A failed adventure is better than successful safety

February 11, 2013

A friend from Atlanta was sitting in our Living Room last week. As we talked, he eventually looked at Ginger and I and asked, “So after all you guys have been through over the past 4 years, what are some of the things you have learned?”

I knew he was genuinely interested because he’d walked through it all with us. For the first time, I was able to consider that question without any raw emotion.

You see I had experienced a big, fat, public failure.

In early 2009, I began to cast a BIG vision, engaged many families, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, partnered with one of the largest churches in the country all for one reason: To plant a church that unchurched people would love to attend.

Guess what? Despite our best efforts over 31 months, we had to accept the fact that this dream wasn’t going to come true. Enter the harsh reality of some adventures: failure.

Man was that embarassing. How would I tell my kids, tell those brave families, or couch that on my resume?

So 18 months after the end of our dream my friend sits in our living room and asks what I’ve learned. The first lesson was “top of mind”. Having journeyed the roads of safety and adventure, I can genuinely say: A failed adventure is better than successful safety.


I believe there are two approaches: Adventure or Safety. Each time we are hurt in life we face a fork in the road and are tempted to journey or re-journey down the safe road. Safety feels less risky but anyone who’s traveled it knows that it never provides the deep longing our hearts are designed to experience.

How about you? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of something specific or are you simply fearing failure? If you’re fearing failure, read Seth Godin’s encouragement HERE. If you’re trying to measure risk, HERE are 3 things to consider before the adventure.

A failed adventure is better than successful safety. What adventure are you pursuing?


From → Leadership

  1. Rita smith permalink

    Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.
    – Zig Ziglar –
    That was a BIG dream – I’m glad you have them and now you know more than you did before. Keep on dreaming, because God definitely is shaping you into a leader who will be more in tune with Him.

    • Thank you for your encouragement! I enjoy the company of “fellow dreamers”. I love that Zig Ziglar quote. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Adventures always involve risk and challenge our self-built comfort zones. Failure is always a possibility; and it can be our greatest teacher. Thanks for keeping it real, Mark.
    Good stuff here!

    • Thanks Tim. Someone recently reminded me of a Zig Ziglar quote, “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” Thanks for being an authentic leader Tim!

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