DCL 5.2 Instruction | Take the “You” Out of Failure

In this DCL module, the sessions presented by Tom Atema do not entirely follow the notes.  Tom decided to share on the subject of ‘Failing Forward’ from his own experience. The video has been included in full to use at your discretion.

Video Presentation: Tom Atema, VP of International Ministries and Strategic Partnerships, EQUIP


The first important step in overcoming failure is learning not to personalise it – making sure you know that your failure does not make you a failure. If you personalise failure, it will become exceedingly pain­ful – sometimes both emotionally and physically. For many people, the pain of failure leads to the fear of failure. Fear of failure will stop all forward progress. Here are several results of enslavement to fear:

1.  Paralysis

2.  Procrastination

3.  Purposelessness

4.  Self-Pity

5.  Excuses

6.  Hopelessness

You cannot avoid fear. No magic potion will take it away. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. George Bernard Shaw asserted, “A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” To overcome fear and its awful grip, you have to be will­ing to recognize that you will make many mistakes in your life. Nonetheless, you get up and take action. If you take action while still making mistakes, you can gain experience. That experience eventually brings competence, and you make fewer mistakes. Fear is no longer paralysing because mistakes become your friends – your teachers.



  • Do you fear failure?
  • Are you willing to face your fear and get moving?
  • What is the next step you need to take on the road to becoming all God wants you to be and do?

DCL Meditation and Inspiration Media and Notes © Willow Creek Association.
DCL Instruction Media and Notes © EQUIP Million Leaders Mandate Volume 2