Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.

Charlie Chaplin

Although his early life was extremely difficult resulting from his father’s alcoholism and early death and his mother’s mental illness, Charlie Chaplin found the courage to create success from failure. Living in poverty with his mother and brother resulted in him being sent to a workhouse on two different occasions at age seven and again at age nine. He was involved in performing on stage as a child and discovered his ambition to be a comedian. With no parents to guide or protect him, he drew upon his inner reserves and faced failure time and again. He went on to become a renowned comedian, actor, and director whose films changed the world.

Get Out There & Fail!

My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Sara Blakely

Life would be very different if we all had been told as children to get out there and fail! There would be no stigma, no humiliation, no fear of making more mistakes. Every opportunity would be evaluated in terms of what can be learned rather than whether it will be successful. It’s not too late to learn to see your unsuccessful efforts as powerful opportunities to gain experience, knowledge, and most importantly, confidence. Yes, confidence.

When you fail you learn, as Edison famously did, all the ways in which something doesn’t work. You also learn that failure isn’t fatal.

  • You tried a new exercise plan and it didn’t work out–there are many other ways to bring fitness to your life; try one of those.
  • You interviewed for a new job and didn’t get it–you’re going to find out later that you are better off somewhere else.
  • You wore a pair of unpleasant pantyhose and decided to cut the feet off–congratulations, you just created Spanx!

The Best Teacher

You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know so much is because I have made so many mistakes.

Buckminster Fuller

Bucky, as he was known to his friends, understood that mistakes are our best teachers. Taking that risk to extend into the unknown and finding out that that it didn’t create the result you wanted is where new understanding begins. When you decide to view life as an experiment–no right or wrong results, only outcomes–you are free to learn and, most importantly, free to succeed.

Everyone and I mean everyone, who has succeeded in life has failed first. Often, they have failed many times. You may not have heard about it because the stories that are exciting to tell are the successes. Take some time to check out your favorite role model and see what didn’t work, before they became famous for what did.

About Zette

Zette Harbour is an iPEC certified life and leadership coach, and, an award-winning professional storyteller. Her 2 Minute Body Sense Meditation is an excellent practice to support you in accessing your intuition as a part of her online course: Empowering Wellness Through Self-Care. To connect with Zette, book a complimentary Discovery Conversation today.

Her column, Successful Awakenings explores the limitless power of awakening to the brilliant and beautiful story of who you truly are.  Follow Zette at Morphosis Coaching on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Ksenia Makagonova,