Give Me Failure, or Give Me Death

Coming in under the wire, this is my contribution to Holly’s Mentor Roundtables post

One can only hope that you saved whatever the hell you were working on first and backed up your files. You DO have a backup, right? You don't, do you. That's a fail if I ever heard one.

Have you failed in life? No? Then you have nothing to teach me. It’s just that simple. In my life and my career, the biggest gains in my life have come from the result of a huge, drastic failure. Failure to finish college. Failure to manage my vices. Failure at my first stab at a career. All of these things were monumental failures. And you know what? I learned more from those than anything else. And that’s what I have to offer. My failure. My experience.

So what do you have to offer? What have you failed at? Because if you haven’t failed, you haven’t been tested. It’s easy to give mentoring advice when you don’t know what happens when the shit hits the fan. How’d you deal with it? What was the fallout? How did you grow?

Because that’s what I would want. Pain is learning.

{ 4 comments }

Raven March 3, 2010 at 9:30 am

I’m not sure what to say to this because I agree. I’m not interested in learning from people who want to do everything right (or pretend that they’ve done everything right). My best experiences about being tested always have revolved around being humiliated or having my expectations blow ass up in my face. Like, when I was depressed and had to fight it. Or, getting fired or failing my 3 of my Econ classes in college. I wish more folks would embrace that, instead of trying to sound like mistake-less experts. It’s trite and condescending. It’s boring and makes me rant in the comments section of a blog post.

Steph Auteri March 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Thanks for this one, Andrew! I often worry that, by being so open about my mistakes and struggles and overwhelming neuroticism on my freelance blog, I’m totally screwing myself. It’s nice to know that there can be value in that.

Norcross March 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I’d be willing to argue that there is MORE value in that. After all, a mentor is still a human being. I don’t need a mentor for a skillset (in most cases), rather, I need to know how to react and handle things. And failure usually brings about those opportunities.

Elisa March 3, 2010 at 4:59 pm

It’s pretty hard to believe anyone who says that they have never failed at anything. Or act like it. You kind of know they are full of shit…