Don’t Fear the Mistakes, Instead Fail Fabulously


"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from." - Al Franken

Fail Fabulously. I first heard this term when I was attending my first coach-training workshop. I disliked it from the moment I heard it. What was fabulous about failing? Failing was failing. When I failed at something I tried I was embarrassed, humiliated at times, and you couldn't convince me that it was a fabulous experience at all.

This is probably why I spent a lot of my life avoiding making mistakes by playing it safe. But that goes against the gutsy practice that I encourage and write about so much now. That was my mistake, but we all make them. It is a big part of our being human.

We are taught from a very early age to be perfectionists. We live in a world where quotes say:

  • Whatever we do, do it right
  • Measure twice, cut once
  • Do it right the first time, or don't do it at all

But ultimately, I think the problem is not in making mistakes, but the stories we tell ourselves about the mistakes. Oh, and those little (or blairing) name-calling voices in our head that start telling us how stupid we are or how incompetent we just proved ourselves to be or how this one failure leads us to consistent failure. "There you go again. You can't do anything right, can you?"

Well, over the years, I have learned to fail fabulously. And this is a new rule, and perhaps even a value I now hold. I now feel if I'm not failing fabulously, then I'm not really living this game called life. I'm not growing, I'm not learning, I'm not challenged or motivated.

"While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior." - Henry C. Link

It’s really all about how you bounce back upon failure. I have decided to put more weight into quotes like:

  • It is all about how you react to failure
  • The comeback will always be greater than the setback
  • Nowhere to go but up from here

I can happily say I have failed fabulously in my life. I am getting really good at failing and learning from it. I have something to celebrate.

It’s okay to make a mistake or fail at something, there I said it. Just make sure you learn from it and grow for the better.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard

Photo credit: Varvara Grabova


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