It’s #FailureFriday! We’re dedicating the end of the week to reframe our thoughts on failure.

The list below is from one of our a favorite thinkers, Seth Godin. From brave to shameful, Seth ranks the value of failure experiences.

A hierarchy of failure (from brave to shameful):

– Mistakes! A series of failures as you follow a path of persistent long-term effort characterized by ongoing learning and a reputation that improves over time.
– The giant flame out
– Giving up in the dip
– Shortcuts
– Not starting
– The critic, on the sidelines
– Empty hype
– The scam, the short-sighted selfish pitch


The goal of this provocative post is to convey that long-term commitment is admirable and that making mistakes along the way is brave, not foolish. As Seth says, “I have nothing but applause for those brave enough to fail and fail again.”

As you embark on your grey journey, you might be at the stage where the next step is to present your boss with ideas of how you can fold more of your personal interests into your current job function. For most of you, this is probably a scary thought because it feels like a big risk. Consider these two options:

1. You present your ideas in a thoughtful way and get rejected (aka the giant flame out)
2. You decide you’re not ready and don’t ask (aka not starting)

Seth would rank the first option as pretty brave. He’d rank the second as shameful. Where do you rank each choice?

Where do your failures land on Seth’s hierarchy? Does this perspective help you think differently about failure? Tell us in the comments below!

[Image: Robert Dale]


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