[Episode 98] Failure.
It’s an experience that I've had to wrestle with a lot in my life and therefore something that I have reflected on a lot over the years.
Yet the most recent encounter I had with it was with my family last week. I was saying goodbye to my girls as they were headed off to school and my 11-year-old daughter looked back at me, absolutely depleted. When I inquired why she was dreading school so much today, she replied,
“State testing. I’m gonna fail.”
Thankfully we had the time to pause and connect. I let her know that failing this test was actually impossible for her because it’s not a pass/fail test. It’s actually a tool for educators to gather data about how students are performing state-wide.
But more was at stake at this moment with my daughter and it was a chance to help her reframe what failure means in her life and in our family.
If you look it up, the dictionary definition of failure is actually “a lack of success” while the definition of success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”.
So what that effectively means is that failure (aka the point of a lack of success) is only failure if we stop right there and stay stuck in that moment.
If you’re an entrepreneur, then you have a certain tenacity that won’t LET you stop here. You identify what didn’t work, you reflect on what happened, and then you make an improvement. You pivot.
And what’s more is, the only way we are going to accomplish our goals is to take messy action, to take risks. The failures are the means through which we are made stronger.
In my daughter’s case, even in the worst case scenario (she bombs the test), that data would still be helpful and informative for educators because it would show them where they need to fill in the gaps in instruction. Even if she was an outlier, it would still be important data.
And even though my daughter is not someone who always benefits from traditional teaching methods, I am not willing to let my children opt out of state testing. (PS: In episode #40, I interviewed Nicole Connell who really dives into the struggles students face when they don’t “fit inside the box” of traditional education. If that’s your kid too, you can listen at megbrunson.com/40.) I do this intentionally because I want to teach them that they can’t simply avoid the things that are hard in life.
But there is one thing I am quite clear about: making sure my kids know that their worth will NEVER be defined by test results. Try your best. You may have to skip a question and move on, but you also might recall the answer later and be able to revisit the question. These are life skills I want them to have and they will never learn them if I eliminate all the challenges in their life.
A failure is simply proof that you put yourself out there, you did something risky….and you found something that didn’t work. And that very experience is going to give you the guts to try something new and ultimately shift your perspective altogether.
Most people who are “crushing it” have not done it on their first try. Anyone I know who I would call successful experienced a slew of failures before discovering what worked. By allowing our kids to wrestle with failure and all the emotions that surface with it, we are preparing them for the process of arriving at their very best ideas.
We have to start welcoming failure and see it as the means of arriving at our next breakthrough, our next success.
If you’re feeling stuck trying to reframe a recent moment of failure, I invite you to come share it in the FamilyPreneur community so that we can help you brainstorm and give you feedback. You are not alone and we are ready to support you and help pivot in the direction of your personal success.
About The Host
Meg Brunson has been marketing to moms for nearly a decade. After leaving her corporate job at Facebook in 2017 to be a more present mom to her 4 daughters, she founded EIEIO Marketing; a digital marketing agency focused on Facebook Marketing for family-first businesses.
Through highly targeted, results-driven, Facebook Ads she's delivered results for her clients that include: doubling their lead volume, generating 62% more sales than the in-house team, attaining a 16x return on ad spend, and reducing the cost per lead by 99%!
After helping her daughter launch her first business, Storytime With Kiki, at the age of 10, Meg began hosting the FamilyPreneur Podcast: an interview-style podcast for parent entrepreneurs, raising entrepreneurial children.