Monday, July 18, 2005


failure: hooray!

what if every time you failed you said in a big, bold voice "ta-da" and then proceeded to take a bow? this was the attitude we were asked to try on while i was in coaching school at the coaches training institute. while it was a struggle at first, as soon as i embraced this concept i understood what the exercise was intended to reveal - failure is full of lessons.

in fact, 'failing' or what we perceive as failing can often be exactly what we need to have happen in order for us to take the next step, change directions, or simply realize we have set unrealistic expectations for ourselves.

all of that said, hanging onto this attitude can be challenging to say the least. and it's not common to come across people who are really living this attitude. so i wanted to share a recent example that i've found tremendously inspiring.

one of my closest friends recently embarked on a big adventure - canoeing 2,200 miles from minneapolis, mn to hudson bay in canada. aptly named hudson bay expedition 2005 the trip is based on a similar expedition taken 75 years ago by two young boys one of whom later wrote the book canoeing with the cree. my friend scott and his expedition partner todd worked for nearly two years planning the trip. they made a decision to take themselves and following their dream seriously - they secured sponsors, gave talks at local schools, developed an amazing website and after a fabulous launch party set out in their canoe.

two months into the expedition, because of an injury, todd had to make a decision to leave the river. todd shared his thoughts and feelings about this incredibly difficult decision in one of their regular journal entries. he says:

The decision to come off the water was one of the hardest
decision’s I have had to make in my life. I have spent two years of my life planning and working on the expedition. Spending hundreds if not thousands of hours of work, raising money, securing sponsors, fine tuning gear lists, packing food. It has been a lot of work and to fall short of my goal of reaching York Factory is a disappointment, but if I had to do it all over again, I would. I would not think twice about it. I have enjoyed every minute of this expedition and I have learned and experienced things that I am grateful for.
todd then goes on to list all of the things he is grateful for from this experience. and he ends the journal entry with this statement:

I encourage every one to dream big, and to go after your dreams. Although you may not achieve every goal you set out for yourself, there is a great satisfaction that comes with doing your best and giving it your all.

many people would have viewed this turn of events as a failure, a shortcoming to regret or even be ashamed of. but instead of wallowing in feelings of failure, todd takes an attitude of gratitude. he not only is thankful for all that he did experience, he is confident that it was worth the risk. he takes his bow proudly, knowing he did his best.

what have you 'failed' at recently?

what have you learned from failing?

i'd love to hear how failing has moved your life forward, as always feel free to share!

dream big, -kirsten

This reminded me of a fabulous book called "The Art of Possibility" where Benjamin Zander talks about this concept of celebrating failure. Thought you would be interested. ~Laura
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