Failure And The Good News About Messing Up


Whether you watched the Oscars this past weekend or not, you’ve probably heard by this point that there was a major, historic and completely baffling mistake at the pinnacle of the program. The presenters were given the wrong envelope for Best Picture. The wrong movie was announced. The wrong cast, crew and directors came onstage and accepted the trophy. Eventually, someone came on stage, switched the envelopes and, finally, the actual winners came up. The result was a stage full of confused and embarrassed individuals and an audience full of shocked stars. How does a failure of that magnitude happen? Someone messed up, big time.

It turns out that an accountant tasked with the job of tallying the votes submitted the wrong envelope. That’s it. Just a mistake, but unfortunately for these individuals, this failure happened with the whole world watching. Have you ever felt like that—like everyone saw you mess up? To fail is human, but to fail in front of others can be excruciating. But there is good news about failure: it does not determine who you are. There is always something valuable to be learned, even if in the moment all you want to do is crawl in a hole and never come out.

Setbacks and mistakes happen. Get up gracefully, apologize when necessary and move forward. Failure can stop your forward momentum, but you have the power to decide if this is going to be just a “pause” in the journey or a full stop. Everyone experiences a “wrong envelope” moment at some point in their lives, but this in no way means that you are not qualified, not experienced, not smart enough or not capable to do what needs to be done. The accounting team that messed up at the Oscars may currently feel like the whole world is on their shoulders, but in a matter of a few days, the world will move on to the next viral moment.

People will move on from your failure, and you should give yourself permission to do the same. Learn from it, try not repeat it, but keep going. Failure is inevitable, but the good news is that you don’t have to be defined by that one moment.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

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