Everyone is telling me to fail.

Everyone is telling me to fail.

You’d think these posts would get easier after the first one.  That having done one, I wouldn’t be as worried about the rest.  But I guess a perfectionist procrastinator is always a perfectionist procrastinator.  That’s what I get for surrounding myself with amazing #eduheroes as inspiration.  Totally worth it though.

Over the past few weeks I have found myself at various conferences and professional development and noticed an emerging trend.  Everyone is talking about failing.  They’re talking about how important it is to teach our kids that it’s ok to fail and even as teachers we need to throw away our fear of failure and take risks.  One thing that I think hasn’t been getting as much play though is HOW to fail.  We talk about being ok with failure, but what do we tell kids (and ourselves) to do after they actually experience that failure?  For a lot of us, once we fail, do we know what to do to get back up?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  Because frankly, I’m in a fail cycle.  I have had a few setbacks as a coach and as a tech facilitator and I’m feeling a little lost.  I already feel as if I fight an uphill battle and when I make mistakes or through no fault of my own (I’m looking at you Cold and Flu Season) let down my teachers, it’s as if I’ve fallen that much further down the hill.  I worry that I won’t be able to gain back what little trust I had and that teachers will hesitate to buy into what I’m selling because it hasn’t worked out perfectly before.

How do you gain back that creative momentum after a setback?

Source: lyrafay.tumblr.com

I’m still learning.


4 thoughts on “Everyone is telling me to fail.

  1. Hey Pal,

    First, here’s to hoping that you are well and happy! Been a while since we connected.

    Second, the way I see failure is if you weren’t failing, you probably aren’t stretching yourself. Easy successes are usually the result of tackling too many easy tasks!

    That being said, too many failures might just mean that you are tackling things that are outside of your ability — or the ability of your teachers.

    In the end, failure should always be instructive. We should analyze the reasons for our failures: Were we wrong about what our people were ready for? Were we wrong about our own capacity? Were we wrong about the amount of time, energy or effort necessary for pulling off the change that we were trying to pull off?

    Failing isn’t great all by itself. It is only useful when we use it as a tool for deep reflection — kind of like a formative assessment for ourselves.

    Hope this makes sense!


    1. Yes, I definitely think I am missing that reflective element. It’s a radical mindshift to think of failure as something to learn from rather than a personal flaw. Thanks for the reminder!


  2. Hey Katie,
    I agree with Bill points and need to add, give yourself some grace. I think when we fail we get in our own heads and believe that others are super focused on our failures when in fact they probably aren’t – most likely they are looking at their own and having the same internal dialogue with themselves about failure. I have seen you in action and know you are an amazing instructional leader so don’t beat yourself up over the setbacks – focus on the successes – I think you’ll be surprised at what you have accomplished!


    1. Thank you! And you’re so right. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve apologized to someone for whatever grievous transgression I thought I had made, only for them to say they hadn’t even thought about it!


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