All posts tagged: Failure

Pain in the Present Tense

For me, failure is a feeling. It’s a heavy weight in my stomach. I get hazy and lightheaded.  Things start to slow down. Lately I feel very heavy. When I feel this, I retreat. I isolate. I pick apart all the moments, actions, words that led to this particular moment and I evaluate them, polish them, put them in a line like dominos and knock them all down with one touch, only to pick them up and reorder them again. Glennon Doyle Melton, the author of Love Warrior, wrote something that caught my attention the other day and resonated with me. She said: “We have to choose carefully where we do our truth-telling… If you are going to share widely – make sure you’re sharing from your scars, not your open wounds….When we truth tell widely in real time, it’s alarming to people because it can feel more like a cry for help than an act of service. You have to be still with your pain before you can offer it up and use it to serve …

I Was “Breakup Girl,” And Then My Job Dumped Me

This will not endear me to you: Until my mid-20s, I was convinced that I was special — that my life was actually charmed. That was the through line to my life story: Things just went my way. Hard work paid off. I earned good grades, had halfway normal parents and halfway decent boyfriends. My high school graduation speaker was Gloria Fucking Steinem. I got into Yale. I had the time of my life. I had an amazing dog named Montsi — a gorgeous white shepherd/tundra wolf mix who was my protector and soul sister. My books got published. I always had cool, land-in-your-lap life-changing experiences, like living and bonding with a family and “sister” in Mexico who looked just like me — whom I’m still friends with — and lucking into an awesome apartment with my best friend in Boston and winding up on both Geraldo and Ricki Lake in 1994, just because I looked exactly like Tonya Harding, which is a long story. It wasn’t that things never went wrong. They did. All …

My Company Sank and Nearly Took My Morals With It

I’ve never been afraid of failure. I always think of the potential for failure as pure “dare”—and can’t resist staring it straight in the face to see if I can beat it. I always thought this was a noteworthy trait of mine, a good trait. Hell, I even gave speeches about the benefits of not being afraid of failing: learning, experience, trying out innovative ideas, pushing your boundaries, surprising yourself. The trick, I say in those speeches, is to pick good failures, failures that give you more than you lose, whether insights or learning or experiences or, heck, even just great friends or one helluva a good story. You weigh the pros of what you might achieve and accomplish against what the worst-case scenario might be and say: Can I live with the worst, if it comes to that? I had always taken risks in publishing, tried to do things people said “couldn’t be done,” made things from scratch without enough money or enough time or enough team or all three. I did these things, …

I Lost $52 Million and Lived to Tell About It

“I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I promise you this is the very best thing for the business,” he said. “Yup, I know. I’m 100 percent on board,” I exhaled. And with that, my then CFO and I knew we were ending a $52 million contract. Making that decision was the best thing I’ve ever done for my business. I’m here to talk about failure, but, to be clear, losing this deal wasn’t my big failure. Sure, I felt like a failure to my team. We felt totally incompetent, like we had been playing a game of checkers when my supposed collaborators had been playing chess. And, sure, I felt like the business was going to take a nosedive towards a dramatic end. But still, those things didn’t make me feel like a total failure. The failure was in ignoring the warning signs that had been looming for at least two years. Anyone looking at my predicament could have spotted this dramatic, climactic ending 50 miles away. And when I look …

Margit’s Note: It’s a Flop!

It’s really hard running a website. No, it ain’t brain surgery, as a favorite colleague used to remind me at AOL (no comment). But even for someone who has a gazillion years experience running editorial teams for dot coms, there are days when you want to hit the big red “delete all posts NOW” button. It’s especially hard when it’s your baby. Your own creation. Your side gig. Your passion project. Your potential business. Your “Hey!! Look over here! Don’t you want to pay me to do this? You know you do.” Wink wink. Hip flick. Google Analytics tells you no one liked that “PETS” issue, you’re on your sixth Art Director (because your vision, their vision and your micro-manage-y approach has led to you making Picmonkey art at the last minute…more than once) and three people have unsubscribed from your newsletter. I speak theoretically, of course. The grind of a weekly publication is no joke. But then, the next sunshine-y day, you get a traffic bonanza for a meaningful essay, 50 people attend your …