Failure Sucks! We all fall down, but do we all get back up?

May 16, 2014
Entrepreneurial Spirit

Entrepreneurial Spirit

I failed today! I was teaching the second day of a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) class and I didn’t show up on time. Here is what happened… Lately I have been under a tremendous amount of stress; I am launching a new book, delivering a marathon of speeches and training classes, and running our business Braintrust. Last night I simply forgot to set my alarm or perhaps my subconscious didn’t want me to set it. When I awoke this morning it was 9:17 am and I was supposed to start the CSPO class no later than 8:30 am. In all my years of teaching I have NEVER shown up late for a class.

My one saving grace was my new team member Erick who was co-training with me. Erick did show up on time and when I was MIA, he stepped in and started teaching for me. I got a text from Erick shortly after I awoke and I had to confront him first about my failure. I explained to him that I had overslept and he assured me that he had things under control so that I could have a few minutes to get dressed. If Erick hadn’t have been with me this morning then I would have expected the entire class to have gotten up and left. It would have been a nightmare if it wasn’t for Erick.

When I finally walked into the classroom this morning I was feeling so much shame for my failure. As many of us in the Agile community would do I got in front of the class, admitted to my shortcomings, took a failure bow (literally), and asked for forgiveness. Despite my apology to the class, I spend the entire day beating myself up about my failure. My self-pity and self-loathing reached a high point in the middle of the afternoon. It got so bad that after class I felt myself entering a state of depression.

Rather than sit in my hotel room and sulk, I decide to go for a workout. Fortunately the gym that I frequent was doing a grueling marathon of a workout. It was brutal and it took everything I had to finish it. There were times when I was hunched over, gasping for breath, and wondering if I could continue. At those moments I took a few deep breaths, dug deep, and carried on. But I did persevere and I was actually one of the first people to successfully complete the workout.

On my commute back to my hotel I realized something, that workout was a metaphor for my day. At times during the workout I wanted to quit, I wanted to fail, but I didn’t let myself give up. I gathered up all that emotional

pain and I channeled it into pushing harder. I didn’t let failure overcome me, I learned from it, I used it to light a fire in me. I learned from my failure and I used it to keep me going.

Personal Agility - Level 1 Practice

Personal Agility – Level 1 Practice

You know what, despite having a crappy day, I chose to get back on the horse. I chose to not let what happened today define me. I chose to follow the words of Fred LeBlanc from Cowboy Mouth and “Let it go, let it go, let it go.” I will live to fight another day.

Some days you will fail. Some days nothing will go your way. Its days like these that the world is testing your mettle and your resolve. Are you Agile? Can you roll with the punches? Can you get back up and learn from your mistakes.

Know that you are not alone. If nothing else you can call me for a pep talk, my number is 205.329.3794.

Failing sucks, don’t beat yourself up. Get back up and live to fight another day!



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