The Act of Heroic Failures

There are a lot of articles out there that talk about failure. We hear it all the time: “Don’t be afraid to fail.” “Embrace failure.” “Failure is how you grow.” I’ve written articles on it myself.

Recently, someone shared a fresh perspective on failure that I’d like to share with you.

Gina Fox approached me after hearing me speak at a conference and introduced me to what she calls “heroic failures” - an idea that focuses on the action piece of failure.

Her father used to tell her one of the more inspiring anecdotes about failure: “Act as if it is impossible to fail.” And for a long time, she interpreted this the way many of us do — ”as this confidence thing,” she says.

“I realized that I had forgotten to look at the word act as a verb.”

If you look up the word act, you’ll get some version of things that mean “performance.” According to Gina, looking at every failed action and taking something from it is an action in and of itself.

So “acting as if you cannot fail” does not refer to the performance of confidence; it refers to the action that happens AFTER you fail.  It’s the performance of bridging a failure and success.

Instead of thinking of failure as an attitude, we should think of it as an action. And if you think of it this way, you realize how much more control you have over your so-called failures, and you realize that it is, in fact, impossible to fail.

That’s where the heroism comes into play. Heroes do not address failed situations solely with attitude. They address them with action. Superman is not successful because of his mindset. He acts. He turns perils into inspiration.

And the ultimate failure?

For Gina, “Not everyone will agree with me, but the ultimate failure is not the failure. If I am not authentic, that is a failure. If I am putting on a ruse in some way, that is a failure. ” Think about your own idea of the greatest failure, and then be the hero in your own peril.

So perhaps we should think to ourselves as Gina does, “It is ACTually impossible to fail.”

If you want more insights from Gina, check out her blog: American Made Mama.