Willing to Fail

Willing to Fail

I know you’re going to find this hard to believe but when I was 2 years old I was riding a bike without training wheels. I don’t remember any of this, but the way my mom tells the story is that I would run beside the bike and when it picked up an appropriate amount of speed I would jump on the seat and cruise around the mean street I grew up on. Actually it was a crescent, Chestnut Crescent to be precise. I promise I’m not taking this opportunity (just) to brag, although I do think it’s pretty awesome. Stick with me here and I will try to make a case for how you can get out of your comfort zone and take some risks.

My mother never recounts the part of the story where I fell off the bike repeatedly, scraped my knees and bumped my head (which explains a lot). She just talks about the success. This is, of course, the best part of the story in most people’s view. Not to me though. I love hearing about the failures. Not in a mean way. I don’t like seeing other people fail. It actually makes me feel sick to my stomach. I don’t need other people to fail for me to feel successful, however I do want people to put themselves in situations where failure is a real option. You learn from failure. You learn what you’re made of, you learn how not to do something, you learn humility, you learn SO MUCH!

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve failed. Like legit, fell on my face, embarrassingly failed. Here’s another way to look at it. You, yes you reading this right now, you’re a failure. When you were born you did not know how to walk, you couldn’t even talk or spell… that’s pretty embarrassing. Remember all of those times you climbed on the couch and fell down right on your butt? Of course you don’t remember… you were a little scientist running multiple tests. “Ok, what is this pan going to sound like if I smack it across the side of the fridge for the next 2 hours”? After time, society beats this behavior out of us. We’ve been conditioned to stay in line and not attempt anything different for fear of failure or embarrassment.

I understand the fear but I refuse to let it dictate my life. I still have a ton of fears and I’m working hard to overcome them. I still hear the voices of detractors trying to shame me for their own emotional benefit. That stuff is there… but I’ve shifted towards having empathy for those people. I understand they have to live with that venom coursing around in their body, but while they do that I’m out here failing forward. Hey, maybe writing this article will be a failure… I don’t know.

Here’s a riddle. What exists when it doesn’t exist? A failure… If you’ve never experienced failure you have failed. I believe it would be a massive mistake if you didn’t go out there and start failing right now.

This isn’t about building yourself into a better entrepreneur this is about building yourself into a better person. At the end of this journey through life you want to ensure you got the most out of it. So get out there, run beside your proverbial bikes, jump on and see where the ride takes you. Hold on to the handlebars though because you’re in charge of this ride.


A branding expert, keynote speaker, a video producer and a proud Sudburian. Cliff Skelliter runs Launchpad Creative, one of Northern Ontario's leading marketing firms. He and his team have worked with the New Sudbury Centre, the Sudbury Wolves, Entertainment Tonight Canada and Graphic-Con.

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