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What failure really looks like

A year ago, a teacher friend of mine - who’s on my email list - approached me at our kids’ soccer game.

He said, “Your emails are SO helpful! I try & teach what you teach to my students - thank you for your work.”

I was flabbergasted & honored - this friend is not my Ideal Client Avatar.

He’s a male high school teacher. I had NO idea that my weekly emails were helpful to him!

Which leads me to lesson 1 of today’s podcast - PUT YOUR WORDS OUT THERE. You never know who might need them, use them, and benefit from them!

Anyway, my friend Lenny was taking my words, ideas, & tools and sharing them with his students - a whole group of people I’d never be able reach, right?

So, I said, What if I came into your classroom & taught your kids some more tools & strategies to help them?

He liked the idea, got the necessary permissions, and BOOM - 3 months later I met his students in real life.

Before I went in the first time, I was really scared. It’s been 12 years since I taught in a high school classroom.

What if they hated me?

What if they thought I was full of shit?

What if they thought I was BORING?


I went in & they were LOVELY. Engaged, asking questions. It was good, so we kept it going!

I’d show up once a month & Lenny told me that between my visits, the kids were taking the lessons & making little changes for themselves.

Every time I showed up, a different colleague of Lenny’s would sit in on the topic.

And every time, I got a little nervous. Yes - I was happy to teach more people how to share these ideas with high schoolers!

But what if THIS new teacher thought what I was teaching was BULLSHIT?

What if I FAILED that day?

Seriously - I’ve got 15+ years of teaching experience, and you think I’d be ALL SET with the confidence, right?

Sigh. Nope. Fear of failure shows up a LOT.

Eventually, Lenny’s principal attended one of our sessions & liked what she saw. After a little while, she asked if I’d be open to doing a full-on professional development training for her team - the staff who are in front of students every day.


What if they HATED what I taught? What if they thought it was a waste of time?

But I did it anyway - because that’s was successful people do: they are afraid, they know it, and they do that shit anyway.

For 4 months, I worked with 15 professionals - educators who have been working in the system for a long time & have a LOT of experience. 

And of course, I was nervous. What if I failed?

What if I couldn’t garner their trust? Or respect?

What if they didn’t take what I was teaching seriously?

FEAR like this is the thing that keeps SO MANY OF US from ever even STARTING.

It takes courage to do something - and FAIL.

Many of the teachers in the room were excited & engaged in the training - they realized how it could make their lives (and their students’ lives) better.

There were others not as interested or engaged - whether they weren’t ready to do that work, were TIRED at the end of a long day, or whatever -

Here’s one thing I know FER SHER:

I definitely did NOT reach 100% of the people in that room.

Does that make me a failure?

Let’s put it this way: if I were a dentist, would there be ANY WAY I could get 100% of my patients to floss & take care of their gums?


But if that were my expectation, it sure as shit might feel like failure.

This kind of “failure” is part of the game. We need COURAGE in order to put ourselves in the line of it.

Are you not starting something because you’re afraid not everyone will be on board?

Or that some people will flat out DISAGREE with you?

You’re setting yourself up to stay STUCK if you do that.

Failure isn’t in the doing something IMPERFECTLY.

So, what does failure really look like?

True failure looks like NOT DOING IT AT ALL.

The real failure looks like never taking the chance.

I don't’ see myself as a failure because the classroom endeavor was an experiment. It was a challenge. And I didn’t reach everyone in that room.

But it was not a failure.

In fact, I can’t think of anything in my life that has BEEN a failure - even the shit that hasn’t worked out.

The business I left.

The relationships that ended.

The challenges I’ve faced.


Nelson Mandela said, “I never LOSE. I either win or I learn.”


 I’m so much more productive, happy, & successful when I remember this.

Be afraid & do it anyway - because…

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said that. Let me say that again -

Do that hard thing - even if it’s scary, because it will change YOU so fundamentally. It will propel you forward, even if it’s not a rousing yippee-kay-yay success!

Go - travel. Start the blog. Write the Facebook post. Take the selfie. Go on the date.

Start the business.

Put your ideas out there.

If you’re struggling to reach your goals, then go grab this freebie: 5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals.

Download this simple tool to take action on your goals…by next week, you could be moving forward! Go to & grab it.


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