My Weekly “Resume of Failures”


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This weekend I attended the GAFE Summit in Kansas City. I was fortunate enough to hear James Sanders, co-founder of Breakout EDU, speak during the keynote. During his talk, he mentioned his personal “Resume of Failures.” Although most of us have seen the article referring to the Princeton professor publishing his career lows, I was even more moved to see an educator I admire display bravery and vulnerability in such a public setting. Therefore, thank you, James, for inadvertently inspiring me to publish this post:

To begin with, the word “failure” has always been an idea that stirs me to my core.

Here are some questions I often ponder: We fail every single day, so why is it unusual if someone publicly admits their failures? Does admitting that we are not perfect make us “less than” someone who we believe is doing everything right?

No one is perfect and we know this. But, I often believe that our personal perceptions can be our worst enemies. Sometimes failure does not push us down, while other times it can. It is often difficult to admit to ourselves the dark places of our failures. I find this to be especially true when we are tenacious to a fault. We can try to train our brain all day long to think we love failing, but if we are actually struggling sometimes during the process, are we doing an injustice to our learning journey if we cannot be genuine, open, and honest?

Even though I fail every single day (or several times a day, if I want to be REALLY honest), I am going to start giving myself the grace to feel uncomfortable when I do not live up to my perfectionist standards.

I know I will grow during the journey, stay positive, push through, and become better as a result, but in the moment, it is okay if failing does not feel great. What I am finding out, is that what matters is my patience through it all.

So, on that note, let us start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Therefore, to end this post, I am going to leave you with a list of ways I have failed this week:

My Weekly “Resume of Failures”:

  • I did not charge my presentation pointer and clicker, so during my presentation today, I had to click the trackpad the old-fashioned way to get to the next slides (There is a first time for everything!).
  • I ate a ridiculous amount of BBQ over the weekend and blamed it on the fact that I am in Kansas City, even though I live here now.
  • I did not do any laundry over the weekend and am now staring at a huge pile of clothes.
  • I did not work-out this week, not even once.
  • I have had an unusual creative block on an upcoming presentation I will be leading.
  • I skipped my dental exam because I was too focused on work (Don’t worry, I eventually rescheduled it!).
  • I tried an activity with students that I thought would be a blast, did it ended up not living up to my imagined standards.
  • I spent too much time beating myself over the mistakes I made above (and most certainly more that I forgot about) instead of just being me.

Although I tend to think about my mistakes at unhealthy levels, I know that by writing this I can help someone else who feels the same way. I hope that through my openness and discomfort with this, that I can encourage you to own the uncomfortable journey that comes along with failing as well. Let’s start giving ourselves the unwavering love that we give our students- We deserve that grace, too.

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