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Why I Love Failure. - Debra Trappen
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Why I Love Failure.


F – A – I – L – U – R – E

(Take a moment and notice how this word makes you FEEL…)

Experiencing failure is inevitable. (There, I said it.)

So many of us fear it and continually seek ways to avoid it – including giving up on our dreams.  In our culture failure is almost always categorized as a negative experience.  One to feel shame about and hide from one another.  We are advised to avoid being “associated” with failure and to keep our “brand” (both personal and professional) surrounded by stories of success.  This practice can paralyze progress, derail purpose, and extinguish passion.

There will always be a chance we will fail – whether we are doing something we have done before or it is our first time.   Once we accept it is inevitable, the next step is recognizing and embracing failure as healthy and necessary.  Failing is a glorious (yes, glorious) part of our lives and brands.  These steps are not only bold and brave, they also help us create a richer, more rewarding life… and a more confident personal brand!

I have worked with oooooodles of entrepreneurs over the last 15 years and definitely believe there are two types of “people” in the world–> those who fail and those who triumphantly fail forward.  John Maxwell’s book “Fail Forward: Turning mistakes into stepping stones for success.” is an excellent read on this mindset.  If you need a refresher or want the highlights before you purchase it, I found this fantastic summary online!

View failure as a blessing that leads you to a better outcome than you could have ever imagined! Fail FORWARD into greatness!

Imagine the wonder each day would hold if we were open to the possibilities and trusted there will always be exciting, lesson-filled experiences and opportunities ahead!  The catch?  We HAVE TO view failure as a BLESSING that leads us to a better outcome than we could have ever imagined.  In other words, it takes FAITH… lots of it.

Another mindset shift we need to overcome is believing we are the only ones failing. This is an easy spiral to fall into, especially in today’s social media streams filled with everyone’s highlight reels showcasing unicorns, rainbows, new cars, trips to the gym, and killer client acquisitions.

Remember, you are NOT ALONE.  We ALL fail.

Many successful people have failed while attempting to achieve their goals. Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Oprah… the list goes on.  They were fired, rejected, experienced roadblocks, and all of them GOT UP AND TRIED AGAIN!

DontBeAfraidToFail-MakeTheChoiceDon’t be afraid to fail.  Make the choice to fail forward. Use it to learn, grow and become who you were meant to be.

Now, I realize it is not always easy to embrace the “No Fear of Failure” concept, so here are some tips and tricks to help keep you on the right path and focused – with a positive mindset.


1. Don’t make failure personal.

Be careful not to attached failure to your identity.  Just because you didn’t land that client or raise the first round of financing doesn’t mean YOU are a failure.


2. Take a moment to walk through the worst-case scenario.

Seriously – will the world end if you fail?  If you lose your client or job – what is the worst that can happen?  Can you deal with it? If you can, then GO FOR IT!  If not, can you put a contingency plan in to create a net?

(This video is filled with straight-talk from my friend, Theresa Fette.  Her LEXI talk contains practical advice on being fearless through being afraid… and at 11:00 she shares a fabulous story showcasing the “Worst Case” technique!)


3. Stop obsessing over it.

Getting caught up in your failure WILL NOT change the outcome.  Changing the past isn’t an option; designing your fabulous future IS.  Stop over-thinking.  Shake the dust off and jump back in… Yes – fail forward!


4. Release the need for the approval of others.

This is a tough one for many, including yours truly.  Being judged or losing others’ respect and esteem is an all too often fear when we think about “failing”.  We allow our actions to be influenced by what people will think or say about us.  I know this is not easy, but we REALLY need to remind ourselves of this – DAILY–>  We are living our lives – not theirs!  What others think of us is none of our business or concern.  If we give too much power to other people’s opinions, we run the risk of rocking our confidence, hiding our spark, and holding us back from our true greatness and purpose.

Moxie Memo: Having truth-talking champions in your world to remind you to boldly push through your fear IS important.  Choose those people wisely!



The first time I heard this concept was at a Women’s Leadership Summit in 2010.  Melody Biringer was sharing her wickedly RAD serial entrepreneur mindset of embracing the “FLIP IT” concept.  When something isn’t working – write down the opposite and try that!  She complied the stories of 40 women in business to showcase various ways of “Flipping It”… Click here to read the first few stories, including mine.

Okay… now what?

Right now, this very moment, you can become someone who fails forward – going forward!  Are you with me?


I will embrace failing forward.
I will seek to learn a lesson from every failure.
I will continue to try. The only failure is not trying… and that is NOT how I roll. :)


In a nutshell:

Stop fearing failure – embrace it.  When you feel “the fear” creeping up, call one of your champions and work through a few of these tips and tricks until you are on the other side!


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