Make Friends With Failure – Your Life Will Thank You

Failure is not something we generally celebrate is it?! In the following story Churchill Education co-founder and director Tricia Velthuizen talks about how making friends with failure has become an essential part of her recipe for success and a happy, fulfilling life.

Make Friends with Failure

I schedule failure twice a week.

Don’t get me wrong, I am highly likely to fail more than twice a week but I am guaranteed to encounter my own failures every Wednesday and Friday.

At the beginning of the year, I committed to attending pottery classes twice a week. These pottery lessons have been great for my learning in three key areas.

Here is the first…

I know when you think of learning pottery and the clay and the wheel, you are probably thinking of Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and the movie that made pottery seem sexy and easy – Ghost. That was what Randall was picturing when I told him I had signed on for pottery. His optimism is one of my favourite qualities in him.

Well, let me tell you, Hollywood definitely glossed over what pottery is really about: failure.

Woman at a pottery wheel

Yes, good old fashioned, messy, “even your mother can’t think of something good to say about that, let’s stuff it in the back of the cupboard” failure.

Regular, scheduled failure has been good for me.

Sometimes, as we get older in our careers and lives, we stop risking the embarrassment of being a learner and making obvious mistakes.

Becoming a potter leaves no room for the “what if” of learning. It is an absolute guarantee that I will make a mess in my learning. Even if I think I have conquered this clay creation, my mistakes can show up in the firing process. Cracks appear, glaze can look nothing like I planned or my creation can even explode.

The one guarantee in pottery is that there are no guarantees.

I am confronted twice a week with my mistakes, and it is teaching me to laugh swiftly at my mess ups and just as quickly make one of two decisions.

Option 1: I throw that mistake in the recycling bin, because in pottery there is always room to repurpose that clay for a fresh creation. No experience is wasted.

Option 2: Keep it, let it harden up enough for a second possible mistake: trimming my messed up pot and sometimes, even salvaging my failure through a second chance.

Either way, I move on.

Make Friends with Failure

Failure at the pottery wheel every Wednesday and Friday reminds me every day of the week that all failure leads to learning.

Failure in the pottery studio has allowed me to let go of failure faster across all areas of my life and to lighten up on myself. And I am regularly reminded that failure is an opportunity again and again to sit down at the wheel and throw another lump of clay.

I bought myself a secondhand wheel for $100 and popped it in the corner of the shed just so I can experience more failure on the weekends too!

If you need a little help getting comfortable with failure, sing out and I can send you one of my poxy pots to pop on your desk and remind you that a little failure goes a long way in life. I have more than enough failures to share!

And yes, I am wearing Crocs in my photo. No, I am not ashamed..😂

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