Fail like a Boss Image
Fail like a Boss


J. K. Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly bankrupt, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from surviving on welfare to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.


Failure brings many negative thoughts to the table and it’s high time we recognise the potential and positive side of failure. I think failure is great! There have been numerous times (often at the lowest points of my life) that I have been, or felt, like a failure. I was guilty of letting the feeling of failure take my self-esteem and energy to engage in life. Depression polarised my apparent (and sometimes true) failures leaving me crushed. 


Funny thing about failure is that it eventually gave me the strength, learning and motivation to actively make my life great.


Our inner monologue is often caught driving negative chant “I am a failure”.  Whether this is a perception or a truth it does not matter. What does matter is the way you handle it.


When you have a setback, or fail, there is a choice to be made.

Option A:

Give up and hide.

Option B

Fail like a boss. Own it, learn from it, dig deep and feel the surge of motivation as you head to the starting line again to nail it.


I made a choice to change my attitude and take failure on in the best fashion I could. I fail like a boss and feel freaking incredible about myself when I think – screw it; I got this. What do I change and let’s go again.


It simply means that if you are faced with a setback, understand it is not your final destination. It is a stepping-stone in your journey that is getting you to where you need to be.



Failure is Common.  

Pretty much every facet of our lives has the potential to fail. We all experience failure… often! Everything to baking a dud cake, being fired from a job, not handling a tough conversation, not having a nice house, your plant dies or having a relationship turn sour.


Find comfort knowing you are not alone in experiencing failure. We all fail.


Award winning author J.K. Rowling embraces failure: "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default."


Some of the most inspirational stories ever written (or lived) are based upon on personal triumph over weakness or loss. Indeed, one can hardly find an historic or current-day success story that isn’t also a story of great failure.



Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he and his brother co-founded Walt Disney Productions, one of the best-known motion picture production companies in the world. Disney’s revenue last year was US$45 billion.


Henry Ford went broke five times before he founded the Ford Motor Company and became one of the richest people in the world.


Michael Jordan lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn't let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. “Star Wars was rejected by every movie studio in Hollywood before 20th-Century Fox finally produced it. It went on to be one of the largest grossing movies in film history.


Music mogul Simon Cowell’s record company went bust before he picked himself up and forged on, creating reality show big hitters such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol.


In 1954, the manager of the Grand Ole Opry – a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville – Tennessee – fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told the future king of rock’n’roll, ‘‘You ain’t goin’ nowhere... son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.’’


Albert Einstein’s teacher described him as ‘‘mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams’’. He was expelled and refused admittance to Zurich Polytechnic School. The University of Bern turned down his PhD dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful. In 1921, Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics.


After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM said, ‘‘Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little!’’ Astaire – whose stellar stage, film and television career spanned 76 years – kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.


Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15 out of 22 in chemistry. Among his many later accomplishments, Pasteur created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax, and invented pasteurisation.


Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone with the Wind was turned down by more than 25 publishers.  Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the bestseller which has sold tens of millions of copies.


Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher, Vanguard Press, sold six million copies of the book.



Own your Failure

Until we take personal responsibility in some capacity, we can never move on to the next step.


Intellectually, we even acknowledge that the greatest achievers — past and present — also routinely experienced colossal failures.


But still, we hate to fail.  We fear it, we dread it, and when it does happen, we hold onto it.  We give it power over our emotions, and sometimes we allow it to dictate our way forward (or backward). Some of us go to great lengths to avoid failure because of all the pain and shame associated with it.


A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

George Bernard Shaw


A natural reaction to failure is to either play the blame game or ignore the failure all together. There is absolutely no benefit in taking this course of action.


It is important to still give yourself time to process and recognise your feelings. Get hurt, angry and frustrated - just don’t stay there long. Obsessing over failure is unhelpful and will have significant negative impact on your mental health.



Learn and Plan

If we don’t learn from our mistakes and failures in life, then we are doomed to keep repeating them, whether we realize it or not. Every mistake is a learning opportunity, and after you've moved past your emotions, it's important to revisit your mistakes with a new perspective. Look at what you did that went wrong, but also look at what you did that was right, and what you can do better next time. Failure is rarely so black and white.


We can’t stop obstacles from appearing in life, but we can choose how to handle them. They may block our vision temporarily, but if we persevere then we can discover opportunities that have always been waiting for us on the other side. As we get more efficient with this process, we enable ourselves to see the positive side in even the toughest of situations.


The best part about failure is that you often get another chance. Angel Chernoff at Marc and Angel Hack Life points out that mistakes are simply a form of practice.


Every great artist was once an amateur. The sooner you get comfortable with practicing and making mistakes, the quicker you'll learn the skills and knowledge necessary to master your art. You'll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won't work. So get out there and try again. Either you succeed or you learn a vital lesson. – Win.N



Failure can be Motivating

It's okay to fail at something over and over, but as soon as you give up altogether—that's the real failure


Nothing offsets the negative effects of failure better than taking affirmative action! This is option B – Failing like a Boss. Get back up and try again.


So how do you maintain enthusiasm? One good way is by realizing that you are now one step closer to success thanks to the lessons you learn.


Most people achieved their greatest success one step beyond what looked like their greatest failure. -Brian Tracy



Recognise the benefits of failure.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." In other words, your chances of getting things right on the first try are slim to none. The more you try, or experiment, the better you'll get at it.


• You build valuable experience and knowledge

• You build strength of character and focus

• You find more ways of being creative and sharpen your problem solving skills

• It gives you an opportunity to redefine your goals or set upon a new path, if necessary

• You build flexibility and open mindedness

• You increase self-confidence and self-worth


Next time that you are looking in the mirror and the word failure comes to mind – look yourself in the eye and see the potential. Game On.



A fitting poem from Edgar Albert Guest, known as the People's Poet born in Birmingham England  1881.


Don't Quit

             When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

when the road you're trudging seems all uphill,

when the funds are low and the debts are high,

and you want to smile but you have to sigh,

when care is pressing you down a bit - rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns.

As everyone of us sometimes learns.

And many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don't give up though the pace seems slow - you may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;


Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor's cup;

and he learned too late when the night came down,

how close he was to the golden crown.


Success is failure turned inside out - the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

and when you never can tell how close you are,

it may be near when it seems afar;

so stick to the fight when you're hardest hit - it's when things seem worst, you must not quit.



Please share your comments below if you have turned a failure into a success. We would love to hear your story.


Emma xx

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Leave a Comment

Andrea @ Sublime Finds on February 19, 2015
Really enjoyed this post - especially the success stories that had many failures before they got there. I have long subscribed to the theory that you don't fail until you give up... up until that point you're still figuring out how to make it work. The idea has brought me comfort in tricky times! x

Kate on February 17, 2015
Awesome write up, failure can be scary but the quicker you fall the faster you grow. So learn from everything you do right? Thanks for sharing! Kate (

Hardeep on February 16, 2015
You're absolutely right-the feeling of failure can be so self consuming. Your words are so inspirational Emma and reading this has made me reflect and appreciate so much. Thank you x