Get Ahead of Failure

Brené Brown wrote in Rising Strong,

“Daring is not saying, ‘I’m willing to risk failure.’ Daring is saying, ‘I know I will eventually fail and I’m still all in. Fortune may favor the bold, but so does failure.” (5)

There are three steps we should be taking in the failure cycle built into living lives boldly.

Step one is acknowledging that failing is guaranteed. Step three is getting back up again after you fail.

Step two is what you can do in the meantime.

Get a couple steps ahead. Put something in the bank. Anticipate the pitfalls and plan for them.

Being in crisis mode creates two challenges: first, it makes failure more likely as you scramble; second, when you fail in one realm, your failure is more likely to spill into others.

Students: do your homework before it’s due. You will have bad days, and if your girlfriend breaks up with you the night before an essay is due, you’ve just piled one failure on top of another. (Teachers, we need to enable this by giving some advance notice. Short-notice homework on top of 2015 student busyness causes student failure.)

Teachers: Get further ahead in your programming, your rehearsal planning. Have your students performance-ready a week earlier than they need to be. You are going to get sick at some point this winter; denying it won’t make it less likely to happen. So acknowledge that your body’s immune system will fail, then take step two and get ahead before it happens.

Same with snow days. Don’t let the failure of the roads to be drivable cause failures in other parts of your life.

It takes discipline to stay on top of Step Two. But the reward is getting back up after inevitable failure more quickly and more successfully.

Now to better use that advice as pertains to my own writing…