The many lessons to be learned from failure

“Winners want the ball”

Gene Hackman in the Replacements (guilty pleasure movie, not just because it is based on my ‘Skins)

Failure as the “best teacher” and “is a good thing” (and even to be encouraged) seems to be a common theme this month all over the webs. My web-FAIL and whole key fiasco fits here too. I am not the only one.

The night of the web-FAIL, my yoga teacher and I were having a conversation after class about how hardcore one of his teachers from NYC is. This teacher apparently walked into class one day and said something to the effect of: “Everything in this world fails. Projects fail. Things fall apart. Relationships fail. Your body fails… What we do in yoga is teach how to be present, witness the struggle and deal with those failures. Let’s go.

To me, the “yoga” in that sentence is “inner strength.” The actual practice of yoga helps with breathing and concentration which certainly help in stressful situations. I also think the well from which we draw in moments of crisis is our confidence– our internal power to stay calm to find a way. 

The problem and solution is on me — I like it that way.

I like video editing because I am usually the last line of de-mess. If I eff up then it is on me to put in the extra effort to fix it – usually solo.Say a camera guy didn’t white balance or did crazy-crop a shot, then it falls to me to try to correct. Or take an audio guy who neglected to get room tone or even a PA who failed to release properly… those things could take hours if not days to rework or fix — and not by the people who created the mess in the first place.

Look, we are all human and shit happens. I get that (my own strong of failures illustrates this). I don’t think there are many out there that want to be an eff-up but I am the type that wants to be the savior and not the goat.

If I make a dumb mistake costing hours? It falls on my shoulders to get it done. It is usually reparable within the confines of the edit and are my hours to spend. Circumstances I like and can deal with.

My lapses falling on others to fill is uncomfortable bordering on painful.

They haunt me.

On a recent freelance project, an application crash at the worst possible moment sent me and 5 other people into a mad scramble. I didn’t do anything stupid like moving and deleting files willy-nilly, but I did underestimate timing, unnecessarily squeezing the deadline and I didn’t follow “backup plan” protocol so that, well, there wasn’t any. I hated every moment of this meltdown especially because it stressed so many others.

I stayed calm, did everything I could do, and with the help of an awesome crew, we got something to screen. It was far from perfect but it wasn’t an utter, complete failure. But it left’s indeleble mark on my confidence.

Walk away and learn.



  1. Hello Jo. Your writing of yoga makes me wish I’d kept it up. As of late, I’ve been dealing with a few stressful situations, and I sure wish meditation hadn’t dropped away. My ability to stay present and not predict a million and one things that could, might, maybe go wrong was a tad too much for me.

    Fortunately, I was able to keep my daily walk in the routine so my head didn’t completely pop off.

    Thank you for walking us through your fiasco and reminding us that it’s inevitable that we will eff up and that we have (hopefully) a long time to live and learn. Have a great one!

    • Hi Tammy! Sorry to hear you’re dealing with some stressor times, thanks for stopping by inthe midst of all that and I’m glad that I was able to provide helpful reminders. The Universe was consiring with/for/against me for — how ironic for this post — I had scheduled this unfinished one months ago and it posted without my prompting it to do so. Surprise! Ah well, sometimes we just have to share our inperfections and even failures with the world.
      Keep up walking and taking care of yourself. And remember that it is never to late to start anew (with meditiation or any practice we wish to bring into our lives).

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