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Cyriel KortlevenI learned a new word!  It’s not even in the dictionary yet.   Truth be told, I’ve tried unsuccessfully for years to have “azboob,” the Arizona version of the word “haboob” describing a massive dust storm, become a part of everyday vernacular.

While at the recent Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) meetings, noted international speaker Cyriel Korleven spoke about the creative and entrepreneurial mindset.

Among his interesting insights, a new term:  “nearling.”

A nearling is a positive word for something new that was done with the right intentions which has not (yet) led to the right result.

“The nearling emphasizes that initiatives are always valuable, even when they don’t lead to the expected result,” he said.  “Use nearlings to go from best practices to next practices and treat them as minor victories.”

Korleven pointed out that we have “mistakes” and “failures,” but both sound negative.   We have “experiments,” “trials,” “tests” and “attempts,” but those are intentions at the start of something.  A nearling is only recognized in hindsight.

Korleven said we should be proud of nearlings because:

  • You took initiative.
  • You always learn from them.
  • Others learn when shared.
  • You will move others.
  • Serendipity may cross your path.
  • Success is often built on nearlings.

And most importantly, he emphasized that it’s better to cherish your nearlings than hide your mistakes.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio


  1. My cousin has a saying tattooed to his arm. It’s originally from Tracy McMillan and it says, ““Everything works out in the end. if it hasn’t worked out yet, then it’s not the end.” I’d like to think that “nearling” is the business equivalent of that saying. And thank you, cousin Chris Daniels, for the life lesson. Cheers, David

  2. Thanks Scott, yes, one of the big advantages of the ‘Nearling’ (BTW you can turn the letters into learning) is that it doesn’t have a negative connotation. You should be proud of them because you took initiative. And that’s what we need in these changing times. We have tried to get the word ‘nearling’ into the dictionary but it wasn’t a success … luckily! It remains a nearling.

    • We even have already organized a nearling-conference. Instead of only sharing successes, we invited entrepreneurs and professionals to share their nearlings. What have they tried but just didn’t work out. A lot of times, you can learn a lot more from a nearling than a success-story.

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