Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Now Let's Go Fail"

I have heard six different commencement speeches during the past couple of days.  They were all very good, but the best one was from an undergraduate student (now a new graduate) from the Smith School of Business at Maryland, Manas Kulkarni.

The theme of Manas’ message was “Now Let’s Go Fail.”  You can hear the entire speech at this link and fast forward to the 54 minute mark.

Some of the great thoughts and sound bites:

*Failure is not necessarily the opposite of success

*Failure and Success are “two points on the same learning curve”

*Failure can help accelerate success

*We should actively try and fail – this is a means to achieving and appreciating success

*When we embrace and understand failures, we can use the understanding to seize success

About a year ago a wrote this blog entitled “We Celebrate Noble Failure.”  But I like the way Manas says it even better.  We need to transform our relationship with failure if we are going to innovate and achieve even higher levels of Mission Impact for those we serve.

In a few weeks, Manas will start his new job with Teach for America in San Francisco where he will be teaching math to kids in the inner city.  I have no doubt that he will experience failures, but I am totally confident that he will be a great success – and those children he teaches will be the great beneficiaries of that success.  Good luck Manas!

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.


  1. This is a theme that certainly resonates with entrepreneurs! Culturally there is a geographic gap in the mindset of how failures are perceived especially in entrepreneurial ventures. On the east coast, startups that didn't achieve economic success but still translate into tremendous educational success through "failure" are still deemed as a black mark. However on the west coast, the startup community is much more accepting of this notion, and approaches it with a philosophy of "your next venture is going to be so much better!" We on the east coast could surely benefit from this mentality and not just with entrepreneurship, but with all endeavors and challenges to which we have the courage to undertake!

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