Fail Forward, Fail Forward, Fail Forward

Reflecting and goal setting are both huge parts of my life. This year I have a lot of various goals, but one of the main goals I have is to successfully fail. I’m aiming for three big failures this year.

I can hear it now, you’re thinking, “What the what?!?”

How can you successfully fail? And why would anyone set a goal to fail

Those are some very valid questions my friends and it’s your lucky day because I have answers. One reason I have set a goal to fail is because of an observation I’ve made which is that every successful person has failed. Most of the people that inspire me in life are people that dealt with rejection, didn’t have their act together right away, and *gasp* weren’t always as incredible as they are now at doing the things that they do. This might sound pretty simple, but I think there is a little bit of revolutionary truth engrained here. The success of someone who didn’t have to work to gain or keep it is rarely viewed as success (i.e. Kardashians[–joking, but not]). Another reason I want to fail is because if I can look back at something and realize I failed, it’s also a sign that I successfully tried. There are many things I want to accomplish that I often don’t because I have a vision in my head of how things should go but I give up before I’ve started when I realize that I don’t have the time, resources, [insert excuse], etc. to make it happen the way I think it “should” happen.

For example, a lot of my goals this year are related to art and social media, which require me to be willing to try things and fail at them– publicly. I have a lot of broad life and career goals and though I have some more practical ideals, I ultimately dream to work in a creative field. Having said that, I can’t grow in my various artistic passions if I’m not working on them. In addition to that, people won’t even know that I’m trying to participate in those fields if I’m not sharing the things I’m working on. Not to mention, sharing the things you’re trying to do is a great way to document growth and put yourself in a position to get connected with other people in your field who can give you advice, inspire you, and someday might even need your help.


Often times, I aim to schedule hours and hours of time to create something that is so creative and so awesome that it will change the world to the point where everyone will be mind blown, cats will meow, bees will have knees, and everyones’ lives will suddenly have meaning when they see what I have done. But the fact is that 1. That’s not how art works, Emma and 2. I don’t have time for that kind of mad scientest creativity. Even if I do have genius ideas that would take forever and a day to accomplish, I don’t have endless hours in my life right now to spend producing the fantastic productions that I (someday) hope to produce– but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t create things or work toward my goals at all. It means I have to work toward my goals, recognizing that mastery and improvement take time. Fortunately and unfortunately, this also means that I will create and do things that are less than great. And if I want to build consistency, I will do less than great things often.

If you had a goal to become a great public speaker and you practiced and practiced your speech in your room everyday, would that make you become a great public speaker? No. You would probably improve your speaking skills and you’d likely even do a great job giving that one presentation to the one audience you’re preparing for, but your limited experience of actually being with various audiences wouldn’t make you a great public speaker. There’s a difference between giving a good speech one time and being a great public speaker.

Now, if you take your speech and deliver it to many different audiences

APTOPIX Miss Universe Pageant
Steve Harvey knows how to fail like a boss

time and time again, would that likely help you become a great public speaker? Yes! And chances are that it wasn’t all sunshine and daisies along the way. You probably encountered screaming babies, crazy elderly folks, and people who didn’t like your message– and people straight up told you that. You might have gotten stage fright or completely forgotten the speech,nbut you kept trying anyway. You delivered the speech again and again and again and through it all you learned more and more and became a better speaker.

This year, I’m hoping to experience stage fright, memory loss, screaming babies, and crazy old people.

Okay maybe not those things exactly, but I am hoping to pursue the things that I want to pursue with full recognition that I’m likely to suck a lot of times and have determination to keep doing them anyway. This blog is a perfect example of that. I would like to be a more effective and consistent communicator and diversify my online presence, so this year one of my goals is to post a blog post every week. I hate myself a little bit for creating that goal because I feel like I don’t have time to perfectly craft the messages that I really want to deliver on a weekly basis. I rarely ever feel like I’m “done” with the things that I write because I know there are always ways I can make it better and more hours I could pour over it. This year, however, I’m not letting myself do that. Instead, I’m telling myself,

“You have dreams and goals that are valuable. In order to make them happen, you have to try, and the more times you try, the more times you’re likely to fail. Eventually, all these failures will be just like the lightbulb– a success– but until then keep going, keep going, keep going. Stop trying to be perfect. If you aim for perfection, you will always miss the mark.”

So here’s to all the crappy instagram photos, the nonsensical blog posts, the ugly portraits, and the recipes I can’t follow. Here’s to the less than perfect form in my weight lifting and all the laughter I encounter at my expense.

Here’s to failing forward and never giving up.

Live, Learn, Love, and Leave a Legacy,


What about you? Are there any areas of your life in which you’d like to “fail forward?” Let me know and stay tuned for next week’s post when I fill you in on one of the ways that I have already managed to fail forward this year 😉


In the meantime, watch this precious video of kid president giving you that New Year’s inspiration you didn’t even know you needed.




One thought on “Fail Forward, Fail Forward, Fail Forward

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