5 Takeaways from Failure

5 Takeaways From Failure

My friend Amanda Jensen is starting her health and fitness coaching business and invited me to join her September Accountability group. I was excited to join because getting healthier has been on my mind now for quite some time.

Unfortunately, I have allowed other things to distract me from taking care of myself physically. I am growing exponentially spiritually and intellectually, but I have been seriously neglecting my physical body.

Ready for a Change

I have known for a while that I’ve needed to stop eating unhealthy foods and to start consistently exercising. I am now officially heavier than I was when I was pregnant with my boys (we won’t say how much heavier) … yikes.

What we eat is important for our bodies and our health, but it is also important because what we eat can drastically affect performance in other areas of our life. So, with Amanda’s nudging, I said yes. I signed up for the program, checked in with the accountability group and was ready to go. I was going to do it. I was going to stop eating and bad and start exercising starting September 1st.

Good Intentions

Well, September 1st came and went. A week later, Amanda sent out the invitation for the accountability group for prep week. I was good at this. I set my intention. Purchased all sorts of healthy food. Made a cute little image to remind me of my “why” and the whole nine yards. This part was easy. No eating healthy or exercise was required yet.

Then the next week came. I was inundated with things to do for work and at home and my youngest son was sick and missed three days of school. My good intentions… out the window. I built myself back up, it was just one week, the next week would be better right?

The next week came and instead of eating right and exercising I found myself stuck in bed with the stomach flu. I wasn’t so much worried about eating healthy as being able to eat anything.

By all accounts, my month of healthier living was a failure.


Just because I failed for those three, ok four weeks, doesn’t mean that I am a failure. And it doesn’t mean that I won’t reach my goals. However, I did learn some things.

  1. Accountability and Support.
    Accountability partners are essential for success. You alone can do the work, but don’t do it alone. You need someone there to cheer you on when you have your bad days, and to keep you honest when you need to push harder.
  2. Forgive.
    Don’t beat yourself up over past failures. The only thing you can do about them now is to change your future. Just because things haven’t gone as planned doesn’t mean you can’t try again. (When do things really ever go exactly according to plan anyway?)
  3. It Takes Time.
    New Habits take time to develop. Repetition is the mother of learning. It takes repeated success to make lasting change. We can’t expect to flip a switch and instantaneously be different.
  4. It’s A Climb.
    Life isn’t a race, it isn’t even a marathon, it’s a climb. As long as we keep pushing ourselves up, we will be head and shoulders above where we started. Climbing is a slow process and at times it can feel like you aren’t making any progress, but when you look back, you can see how far you’ve really come.
  5. Plan.
    One of my teachers growing up had a sign in her room that said, “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” Those 7 P’s have literally stuck with me since elementary school. We will never “find” time. What gets scheduled, planned, and prepared for gets done. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, don’t be disappointed with your results.

Fail Learn

In his book Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, John C. Maxwell talks about how failure can be our best teacher.

When you are successful it feels so good, but sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what it is you did right to get there. For me, I find it’s easier to know what I did wrong or what I could have done better. These lessons are invaluable to growth. There is always something we can improve. We can always do better.

Fail Forward

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchhill

We should not let the fear of failure hold us back because it’s not a matter of if we are going to fail, it is more a matter of when.

  • We will fail. We can either learn from it or repeat the same mistakes over and over until we do.
  • Failure isn’t a bad thing. It is an amazing teacher. Embrace it and pick yourself up again.

Quicker Getter Upper

5 Takeaways From Failure 1

In August, I had the opportunity to go to Florida to complete my certification as a John Maxwell speaker, teacher, and trainer. While I was there, I met an amazing woman named Bonnie St. John. Bonnie’s right leg was amputated when she was five years old. Despite that, she became the first African-American ever to win medals in Winter Olympic competition. She brought home a silver and two bronze medals at the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

We were honored to hear her speak after being awarded the John Maxwell Transformation Leader award. In her speech, Bonnie talked about why she wasn’t the gold place winner in her event. In the determining race, Bonnie fell. But her fall wasn’t why she didn’t bring home the gold. In fact, both she and the gold medal winner had fallen during the event. The reason she came home with silver instead of gold, was because it took her longer to get back up after her fall.

This was a game changer for me. We are going to fail, that’s a given. But the winner in this story, the one who found success, was the one who picked herself back up from her fall quicker. She was the “quicker getter upper.”

Pressing On

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

So, my goals for September didn’t pan out. I failed. But, I learned that despite our good intentions, if we don’t act we can’t move forward. My next step then is to act on my intentions. And when I fail, because I will, I will forgive myself and be the “quicker getter upper,” so that I can move on and try again. Because the more I try, the better I will get, and eventually, I may even turn a weakness into a strength.

5 Takeaways from Failure

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2 thoughts on “5 Takeaways From Failure”

  1. After a rough day at work this is so what I needed to read. Thanks for the renewed perspective. I once heard the acronym F.A.I.L. As meaning First Attempt In Learning. So what if we have a few first attempts, it is what we learn from those attempts that eventually lead us to the outcome we hoped for and if it doesn’t then maybe it is just not meant to be. I have been struggling with depression and it seems my vision is distorted and makes me feel like everything I do leads to more failure and pain. We just keep moving forward day by day knowing that this too will pass.

    1. It is hard when it feels like our vision is distorted! You are amazing and have the right attitude – one day at a time – doing the best you can do! I love the FAIL acronym!

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