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I’ve Failed … and I’m Totally Cool with That

Angie Morgan, March 11, 2019


I tend to write a lot about success – secrets to success, how to achieve it, setting goals and accomplishing them.  I recently thought about the topic of success and wondered … is success a series of great events, or is it a series of rebounds from failures?

I’ve failed a lot.  I’ve failed in relationships.  I’ve failed at work.  There have been plenty of parenting fails in my life.  There have been situations where I didn’t live my values. There have been times I’ve let people down and circumstances where I’ve felt powerless to influence, yet had to suffer through the consequences.

Yet, when I think about all of these events, I’m proud.  Odd, right?  My pride isn’t derived from my poor choices; my pride comes from recovering from situations where I didn’t act my best, but gave myself a bit of grace, reflected to understand lessons learned, and focused on being better as the result of the experience.

I think failure is one of those things we tend to shield ourselves from.  We certainly don’t brag about our fails, or talk about them on social media.  But, what if we did?

What if we talked more about our imperfections?  What if we were more honest and open about our failures?

Here are a few things that I think would happen:

  • We’d present an image of realness and authenticity in this “personal brand” era – an image that is refreshing to others and pulls people closer
  • We’d inspire others to be more honest about their own failures, their own shortcomings, influencing greater sharing and candor
  • We’d get to the heart of the issues faster and co-imagine solutions that would get us to results quicker
  • We’d inspire greater trust – it’s paradoxical, but the more we talk about our missteps, the more people trust us with responsibility

So, the next time you have a great success, here’s what to do: revel in it, understand your role in contributing to the outcome.  But reflect, too, on all the trials you’ve went through to make this singular success so meaningful.

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