What Is Failure?


Are you like this, too?

Do you struggle to celebrate the successes? Do you linger on the failures?

Someone said to me yesterday, “Wow, you’re getting published all over the place these days!”

It’s true – Yahoo! News, Yahoo! VoicesLifehacker, Dumb Little Man, Under30CEO and several more.

As one should, I simply said, “Yep. Thank you for noticing,” and then I quickly changed the subject from me to her.

Privately, in my secret world that few see, I knew otherwise.

Privately, I knew I’d been rejected by Michael Hyatt, Parenting, and Marketing Profs.

But, as I sit here this morning, shortly after Bible study, I’m thinking those weren’t failures after all.

I made the effort. I did the work.

Did it fall short of whatever expectations those outlets held?

Yes. Once. Can I learn from those rejections and try again? Of course.

If I quit trying… if you quit trying… if you quit making the effort and doing the work, that’s failure.

Right now, I have an opportunity to write for a major news organziation. Those recent rejections are making it hard for me to try and write and help and teach and share.

You know what?

That’s failure.

You know what?

Fear is dumb.

You know what else?

Right now, I bet — in your secret world that few see — some opportunity, some impossible dream has been smothered by a malicious fear of failure.

  1. Write down that opportunity. Now.
  2. Then write down the first small action step necessary to accomplish it.

This weekend, do that thing, please.

Life is short.

And not trying is dumb, too.

My Office While Writing This Post - Homemade Harvest Table courtesy of Rick Bruyns
My Office While Writing This Post – Homemade Harvest Table courtesy of Rick Bruyns
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As CEO and Head Custodian of Miles & Company, Tim Miles helps owner-operated companies do more with less. He's the author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It & Being It.

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Good advice? Please share. Thanks!
  • Phil Wrzesinski

    Oh wow, talk about synchronicity. I just got back evaluations from a couple talks I did in June and the results were not stellar. My first reaction was, “well, guess I won’t be doing talks for them again, those ungrateful people.” My second reaction was a little better, a post titled “Own Your Mistakes”…


  • Stephen Worden / Radio Newark

    The Door of Wonder opens only by acting on the idea that you are here to DO SOMETHING IMPORTANT. I so agree with Mr Miles. Figure out what that nugget is, then BITE IT. Now hold on — it may be a wild ride. Amen, Tim!