des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

How “Failing” Actually Made Me More Successful

For Creatives

January First. The date that we put so much stock in to be our fresh start. As if that rolling over of the calendar year is infinitely more magical than the day before or after. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been caught up in it for years. But this year, something even more magical happened. Let me tell you about how “failing” helped me focus on the good stuff and actually made me more successful this year.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve felt a surge of energy and hope as the new year rolls around. I get to finally use my fresh, clean planner and the year is full of possibilities. I’m full on bought into it being this magical new leaf that will change the course of everything. Ha! While that can be the case theoretically, it rarely is the reality for me. Yes, I set goals and vision cast with intention, but this year was different.

I bought my Powersheets and Simplified Planner on their launch days (duh!) and had things planned out to dig deep and set good goals. Goals and visions that I could break down and make progress toward. 2019 was going to be my most successful year yet! It very well may be, but the first quarter was very different than years past.

I was full steam ahead and neck deep in launch prep (yay!), we were battling all of the daycare germs and there were just not enough hours in the day. I had to start prioritizing. I decided to hit pause on my goal setting. I had done the prep work and prayerfully (and with much discussion) determined my word of the year – Stewardship. It became time to live that out.

While leaning into the idea of being a responsible, intentional and present protector and manager of my time, resources, faith, heart, and family (every facet of life), I had to lay some things down. Not forever, but for now.

Pressing pause meant not laying out my plan and goals for the whole year, but focusing on what was right in front of me. Launching well, serving you, friends. Making time to actually be in the Word, instead of just passively reading the verse of the day. Leave work at work and focus on my family when we were together.

You might think that sounds like a no-brainer, but it was so hard for me. I’m type-a to the extreme and when I set out to do something, it better be done right and according to plan. I’m my worst critic and push myself harder than anyone else will. So to give myself permission to “fail” was a challenge for me.

I saw many others sharing their annual goals and I felt like I was falling behind. I knew better, but there were days I just felt less than – like I should be able to do that too. Ugh – “should”. What an icky word (I digress…).


It kept popping up in my journaling and prayer. It applies to and touches everything. So in the midst of “failing”, I changed my perspective. I wasn’t not doing something. I was choosing to DO something else better because I was focused on it. I wasn’t missing out on anything. I was, in fact, serving the other areas of my life and spending my time better.

In having laser focus, things fell into place. I was focusing on the right things. I was being successful at the right things. Not checking off things that weren’t right for now.

Read more about defining success for YOU

That was an important distinction. Now, I’m here in April, ready to dive into all of those other things. I’ve revisited and refined my goals and focus for the rest of the year and am on a much clearer path because I gave myself the time to breathe and come back with a clear head.

“Failing” by letting go allowed me to soak in more of the dance parties and giggles; homemade meals instead of takeout; family afternoons instead of work. I was filling my time with the truly good stuff. (full disclosure, there was also a hefty amount of hard work happening – sometimes you just have to get it done)

What is something you could press pause on this week, month, year in order to devote your energy and attention to something else that matters more?

It likely won’t be easy, but the good stuff that’s worth it rarely is. We have to work hard and fight (even if it’s against ourselves) to get where we are meant to be. To learn and become the person we know we can be. So, let’s “fail” at things a bit more often. There are always lessons to be learned when we do.



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