Tag Archives: Failure

Failure Becomes You: Why Failure Is So Hot… (Part III)

Success is exhausting!


Because success isn’t enough – we want perfection.

We want the unbeaten, perfect season.

We want it all and want to break every record along the way.

There’s is only room for one at the tippy-top of any endeavor, which is a real math problem in a world with 7.5 billion people.

If the pursuit of perfection weren’t tiring enough, we go to great lengths to avoid opening up about our failures.

We hide our insecurities.

We protect our secrets.

Up and coming transformationalist, Kyle Cease, suggests we acknowledge our shortcomings, “embrace our insecurity and stop trying to please others.” (Don’t know Kyle? Watch this video!)

The impossibly exhausting pursuit of perfection makes acceptance of failure seem like a breath of fresh air!

The founders of the demotivation website Despair.com have turned our growing interest in failure into a commercial venture stating,

Motivation products don’t work butour demotivatior® products don’t work even better… When we started Despair, we had a dream. To crush other people’s dreams!

The TedTalks.com library is fast developing a robust selection of failure talks, includinghiring people with imperfect resumes, admissions of organizational failure, thebeauty of being a misfit among many.

Acceptance of failure can benefit us personally, interpersonally, as parents and as business leaders:

  • Personally. Perfection requires rigid adherence to protocol and process, a little failure reduces formality, relieves the pressure and loosens everybody up,
  • Interpersonally. Admissions of imperfection allow us to act more genuinely, making us accessible and allowing others to connect with us more quickly and more deeply,
  • For Kids. Failure is crucial to healthy development. If they don’t fall, how will they ever learn to get back up again? (so no ribbon for coming in last again for 15-year old Jimmy Bobby) and
  • In Business. Celebrating failure is a powerful culture change tool, giving employees permission to try new things without risking the penalties failure typically brings.

Thanks to all of you that have shared your insights and perspectives. This topic has created several interesting conversations and I welcome hearing your thoughts by writing me directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Until next week, stay connected!


How to Succeed at Failure: The Failure Formula (Part II)

What do former Metropolitan Museum social media executive, Sree Sreenivasan, and sexting ex-Congressman, Anthony Weiner, have in common?

About the same age, both were incredibly successful residents of New York:

  • Sree, a highly regarded Columbia School of Journalism professor,
  • Anthony, a seven-term winning politician.

Both were the first to occupy the posts that would make them public figures:

  • Weiner occupied a newly created seat on the New York City Council and
  • Sreenivasan was the first to hold title of Chief Digital Officer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

That’s where the comparison ends.

  • Hailed as the executive that brought social media into the executive suite, the Met eliminated Sree’s role as a cost-cutting measure and
  • After making headlines as an up and coming political star, Anthony’s sexual indiscretions forced his resignation from congress.

When faced with failure, the sexter evaded and denied and the social media expert went public, told it all and told it fast. The Congressman didn’t listen, didn’t learn and repeated his mistake. Forever the professor, Sree asked the world for help and advice, offered to take any meeting, hear any ideas and consider all options.

The result?

Weiner has become a cautionary tale, while Sree faces the challenge of choosing amongst a growing list of options.

I am not – in any way—comparing someone’s job loss to the moral bankruptcy of a married sexter sending unwanted pelfies to young women. The issues are worlds apart.

Putting aside the moral and ethical gulf that separates these situations, there is a broader lesson to be learned – Is there a way to succeed at failure?

When faced with clear and present failure, follow the failure formula:

  • Don’t hide
  • Own the obvious
  • Shape the story
  • Listen and learn

Next week, we’ll meet a man that makes failure look good!

As always, I welcome your thoughts and insights directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected…


Failure is the New Success! (PART 1)

And other de-motivational words of wisdom…

Did you ever have one of those everything-that-could-go-wrong-goes-wrong days?

Ever have the kind of day that leaves you thinking that the purpose of our life is only to serve as a warning to others?

No one is perfect.

Yet, we are inundated, tantalized and teased with perfection, every day, in every conceivable way.

From the wrinkle-free faces that grace People Magazine covers to the fat-free, speedo-clad, dripping-wet-with-success of Michael Phelps and his 28 medals…

We LIKE being better,

We ADORE being best and



When the only wrinkle-free thing on your body is the non-ironed work shirt you are wearing right now and the number of pounds and reasons that separate you from your own speedo pose keep growing—it’s not surprising that FAILURE is gaining in popularity!

There appears to be a growing space in our hearts for a few ill-conceived, poorly-executed acts of stupidity on the part of otherwise near perfect performers!

Why did the uber-decorated Olympian go Mike Tyson on an innocent Brazilian gas station restroom poster?

You’ll have to ask Jack, or

You can ask Jim, or

You can ask any of their friends.

But the answer really doesn’t make any difference, not in the face of North Korean aggression and Donald Trump’s comb over.

What matters is that we seem ready to acknowledge and accept failure—something we’ve previously kept under the rug!

Over the next three weeks we will be examining the acceptance of failure and what it means to our everyday lives. First, we’ll hear the story of how one man turned his pink slip into a social media event. Then, we’ll meet a new kind of thought-leader that embraces failure and questions the way we view success. We’ll end the series with a look at an emerging failure-industry that’s banking on our growing love affair with failure.

This topic is sure to stir up some of your own thoughts and insights. Please don’t hesitate to share your thinking with me directly at Jeff@Jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected!