You Aren’t The Failure You Think You Are




I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT FAILURE A LOT LATELY and I’ve come to the following conclusion:

Most people don’t really know what failure is.

THEY THINK they know, but they’re mistaken.  Many people labor under the misconception that if you try something and it doesn’t work out the way you wanted or expected then you’ve failed.

This is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

I CAN’T BEGIN to tell you how wrong this is.  After a lot of thought, self-reflection and some recent (and not so recent) conversations with people who don’t support or believe in the vision I have for my life, my art, my intuition, my dreams, I had an epiphany about the true nature of failure.

FAILURE AND SUCCESS are not opposites.  In fact they aren’t even related.  Nope.  Not a whit.  Not a bit.


SUCCESS is when you achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself.   It’s a metric that’s determined by you and your ultimate desires.  To some success is earning a 6 figure income or laughing more each day; to others success is creating the perfect hybrid between the crunchy and chewy chocolate chip cookie.  If you set a goal, be it big or small, and achieve it you have succeeded.

BUT WHAT IF YOU SET A GOAL and that goal kicks your ass up, down and all over town?  Isn’t that failure?


WHAT YOU HAVE DONE is not succeeded in achieving your goal.  Maybe you were missing some key knowledge or steps in realizing your dream of creating the first fully functioning spaceship out of felted cat hair.  Maybe your goal merely needs some fine tuning or some scaling down.  My point is that what you have done is not succeeded in achieving your goal this time.  THIS TIME.

Tweak it, spin it, spank it and try again.

You have not failed.

THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO FAIL and it is guaranteed to work (or not work as the case may be) every single time.

The only way to truly fail is to never try.



So next time things go awry and you find yourself feeling defeated, stop.  Take a deep breath.  Step back & look at what could be done differently.  Then do it differently and try again.

Do it differently and try again.

Never give up on your dreams.


Even if it’s creating a cat fur spaceship.

Kisses & Chaos,

Alli Woods Frederick

images ::  i’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me – peter runkewitz  ::  via vogue italia  ::  via freelance folder  ::
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  • megan

    I love this. It’s all too easy to feel like a failure when you haven’t accomplished what you set out to do, and we’re all too quick to call ourselves failures when we would never say that to another person in the same situation.

    Your blog is one of the gems in my morning reading. I love your unique perspective. 🙂 Keep up the great work.

    • You are so right, Megan. Not to mention that most of us would never tolerate another person treating us the way we so often (mis)treat ourselves in such situations. I think we could all learn to be a little more kind and patient with ourselves and show ourselves more love and compassion.

      And thank you so much for the love. You have no idea how much it made my day. <3

  • Success is a learning process, anyway. You may get into the thick of your goal, and realize that’s not what you wanted at all. I know I have done that a lot of times. At that point, it is totally okay to reassess and put your old goal away. My degree is a great example. I started my degree with the hopes that I could get a nice government job with great benefits. Then I learned what is involved with the jobs I would qualify to work. The requirements DO NOT fall in line with my values. Now I have different goals. Easy peasy.

    • You’re absolutely right. Success and goals are all malleable…fluid. Flexibility is essential to achieving any degree of success. Rigidity only causes stagnation…