The Art Of Failing Up

“If you don’t know what you want to do, do everything.” – wise words spoken by my father.

My first aspiration was to be a gymnast. I enrolled in the local YMCA and spent my evenings hanging from bars. Then, I saw someone tumble viciously off the balance beam. I decided I could do flips for fun but, that the balance beam wasn’t going to be my future.

Instead, I turned to books for entertainment and discovered an entirely new world. Some might say I failed at gymnastics and they would be right.

When we hear the word “fail,” so many negative thoughts come to mind. As women, failure comes in various shades of embarrassment, envy, inadequacy, and fear. To fail is an unthinkable destiny.

Here’s the thing, you WILL fail. You will make a mistake. You will not be good at everything. Failure is a part of everyday life.

An hour ago, I failed at making a juicing recipe. I’ve made it countless times before, but this time it came out terrible. It was too acidic, the color was off, and I almost broke my juicer. I tried adding other ingredients and ended up with an entirely new drink that I liked better! This is what it means to fail up.

Fail upwards. Never allow a mistake to define you or keep you down. When you fail at one thing, try another. Sometimes, you’ll find that new thing is so much better than your original idea or plan. I almost failed an English literature class my sophomore year of college. The experience guided me to choose a different major, Communications, which I love and still find exciting some 10 years later. The next time you fail, realize you are failing up – on your way to something greater. Now go, fail on!

What about you? When was the last time you failed up?

Author: Erinn Davis

  • Love this post. It’s a reminder that it is okay to fail at some things but you learn and make it better the next time.

  • A great reminder!

  • Tarah-Lynn

    Such a positive way to think about it! Good stuff.

  • thebayarean

    YESSSS to everything you shared!!! Our sense of “failure” comes from our environment. What one person believe is a failure, another might view as a success. It’s so subjective. I love that you’ve used those experiences as motivation to press on. I’m inspired!

  • thebayarean

    Thank you for reading! Failure is always the elephant in the room, but I refuse to be burdened by it. It’s a daily challenge, but it’s made me a lighter spirit :)

  • Amber Janae

    Such a beautiful post and a great reminder. Thank you for sharing this. We all need to be reminded to not be defined by our failures. There’s always room to grow further.

  • TC’s Views

    This is great! Thank you. I feel like I’ve failed at my blogging experience over the years…but I kept going and I’ve finally gained momentum. I’ve learned to fail up by incorporating my multimedia journalism skills into my culture blog and challenging myself to cover different topics without the worry of negative criticism.

    On a side note, failing usually takes place after someone close to me convinces me that the things I want to do are unrealistic. For example, learning how to play the piano again, teaching myself how to play the guitar, and pursuing my love for music are all things that have been erased from my vision board because one person’s negative judgement. I’ve been told that my relevance in journalism is coming to a close because the profession is on downward spiral to nowhere, and it’s time to rethink my career as a journalist.

    I’ve failed up by purchasing my keyboard, tuning my guitar and writing songs on my spare time. I’ve failed up in journalism by educating myself on the changes in industry by listening to webinars, podcasts and reading everything that I can get my hands on that is going on in journalism.

    I’ve failed up by not giving up…even when I didn’t see any other way.