The art of failing gracefully

Festival of Failure

“Give me 4 years and I’ll get you to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.”

6 months earlier I had signed up for a summer high board diving course and now the coach was saying this. 

A wry smile. I moment of possibility, then a flood of embarrassment. This was just flattery, nothing to be taken seriously. There’s no way I could ever be good enough for the Olympics, especially as I had just started out. 

A few weeks later, my first ever somersault off the 3m board resulted in a spectacular fail. Hitting the water was like smashing through concrete. I walked out of the session with an array of stinging red blotches all down my thighs, stomach and arms.

I showed up to the next session and of course dutifully finished that course, but the fear was inside me. I was tentative and worried it would hurt. I’d lost my nerve.

Instead of taking that avenue all the way to the Olympics, I returned to the start line. 

It was the first, but it certainly wasn’t the last time I let fear win. Sometimes it was fear that I couldn’t do it. I would be exposed to not know enough. Sometimes it was the fear that I could actually be really good at something, take it all the way. What an awfully great height to fall from. What if I never recovered?

Self-sabotage is the art of getting in your own way. I did it my whole life.

The physics of vulnerability. It’s pretty simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. Daring is not saying, “I’m willing to risk failure.” Daring is saying, “I know I will eventually fail, and I’m still all in.” Brené Brown. 


There are three parts to the art of failing gracefully.

Phase 1: The Reckoning

It is tempting to ignore the bad things that happen to you or how they make you feel. It’s these vulnerable moments which we should be paying closest attention to. 

What do the voices in your head say? Write them down and ask yourself, “what emotion am I attaching to those thoughts?”

Phase 2: The Rumble

We all tell ourselves stories, it’s time to rumble those stories. What is the absolute truth? What is the story that I am attaching to the truth?

Phase 3: The Revolution

During Phases 1 and 2, you may have learned some uncomfortable truths about yourself. Rumbling with your story and owning your truth fundamentally alters how you view and engage with the world. It allows you to get up, dust yourself off and write a new ending to your story. One where you have the power to rise up above your shame and self-doubt no matter how many times you’re knocked down.

It requires immense courage to take a mirror to our own behaviours. It can be uncomfortable and scary. Still, the relief you’ll feel dismantling your personal walls, accepting and forgiving yourself for past mistakes, far outweighs the shame you might feel at first.

You can absolutely follow these steps and artfully learn how to fail gracefully. 

If you would like me to guide you through a 14-step process to do this comprehensively from a multitude of different angles and perspectives I am now taking bookings for Breakthrough Calls.

I three sessions available: 23rd, 30th and 31st July 20:00-21:00 BST.


Leave with a clear understanding of what is at the core of the problem.

Map out a series of 3-5 aspirational intentions for your future.

Break these down into the very first set of action steps you can take fully supported by coaching, leadership and NLP-based tools to aid integration.

Vulnerability sounds like the truth and feels like courage.

Speak soon,


PS To grab your half price Breakthrough Call click here.