US Navy SEAL Jeff Nichols on How to Handle Failure

Failure is something we all encounter in life. Sometimes the incident is small, other times large. It can also depend on our perspective. What seems small to us may seem like a larger failure to someone else.

But what if you could change your perspective and realize that our ability to handle the failure is what determines how it affects us? As Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

That’s not to say that we can’t be disappointed by a particular outcome—and that’s okay. Failing to acknowledge that is actually a larger hindrance to moving forward than trying to ignore how deeply we’re disappointed. Even angry. It’s dwelling there that also creates a hindrance.

So what to do?

It begins with acceptance of the failure, realizing that, small or large, it’s the forward movement from that point that counts.

Even Navy SEALs encounter disappointing failure. So how does someone like Jeff Nichols handle it?

In the video below, Jeff Nichols explains what he calls “setting up your path to manage points of failure”.

As you watch, consider a time when you may not have handled failure well—either by remaining angry, or even ignoring how disappointed you felt. And perhaps how those choices are (still) affecting how you handle failure in the present, and will in the future.

What could you do differently?

What ways have you perhaps mishandled failure? What did/could you learn from that experience?

What are some ways you’ve handled it well? And what did/could learn from that experience?

Let us know in the comments after you’ve watched the video.


Jeff Nichols is a former Navy SEAL who has gained recognition as a high-performance trainer and coach in the fitness and tactical training realms. He served in the United States Navy, specializing in the SEAL teams, and later transitioned his skills and knowledge into coaching athletes, particularly in areas like strength and conditioning, endurance training, and mental resilience. Nichols has become known for his expertise in human performance, working with elite athletes, military personnel, and individuals seeking to enhance their physical and mental capabilities. Through his coaching and training programs, Jeff Nichols aims to help individuals achieve their peak performance levels and overcome various challenges, drawing from his experience as a Navy SEAL.

QUESTION: Coach, I’m doing alright with my arm strength for my pullups but my hands get really tired. Do you have any ways I could make them stronger?

ANSWER: While having good upper body strength is needed for pull-ups, your hand strength is almost more important because you can only go as long as they’ll let you.

We’ve put together an article full of great tips about how you can improve your grip strength.

Try this article, too—Grip Strength Training for American Ninja Warrior.

QUESTION: Hello to all at SGPT. I’ve been going to the gym regularly for years but I feel like I’ve hit a plateau and I can’t get past it. In researching new ways to work out, I found your site and your 6-month program is very appealing. My question is can it be done by females or are your workouts just for males wanting to go into the military?

ANSWER: We have lots of females following our daily workouts and we do have a few in the 6 month training program as well. If you can’t do one of the routines, scale it or hit me up with a question about alternatives so you can get to the level you want to train at.

Go Through Failure to Get to Success
How I Turned a Massive Failure Into a WIN

If You Can’t Walk, Then F-ing Crawl

Seal Fit Stack

SGPT Upcoming Events

Personal Online Coaching

Work 1-on-1
with SEAL Grinder's Brad McLeod
To Achieve Your Goals

pic of brad

Personal fitness training from Brad McLeod, Navy Seal and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. Delivered online, directly to you.

"I recommend Brad to anyone that seriously wants to go to BUDs or anything else in life... try these workouts. Hooyah!" - Chris H.

learn more button