Video lesson

The road to mastery is paved with failures and face palms. Honing a skill means putting in the time to get better at it — and being ok with the mediocre and downright awful results along the way.

Reflection questions

  • Think of a time when you tried something new, like starting a new job or going camping for the first time. What rookie mistakes did you make? And how did you improve over time?
  • What is something you’d like to get better at? What concrete steps can you take to hone your skills?
  • What is something you’re good at today? How long did it take to reach that level, and were there bumps along the way?

Exercise: Create your own Misadventure Merit Badge story

  1. Think about a time in your life when things ended in a belly flop instead of a graceful dive.
  2. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, consider what the experience taught you and what life skills it helped you develop.
  3. Write down your story as a reminder of the value of failing forward and the importance of looking at past mistakes and misadventures as opportunities for growth.
  4. If you feel comfortable sharing your story with me, email it to me at
  5. For inspiration on putting your story together, download my book, Simply Blunderful.

Tools and tips from around the web

The Importance of Failure: Why We Should Fail Forward

Failing Forward — And Why It’s OK

The Upside of Failure

Why Do Some People Succeed after Failing, While Others Continue to Flounder?

How Failure Holds the Key to a Meaningful, Successful Life

It’s Not Over: Failure Is Success in the Making

How to overcome your fear of failure

Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

How to fail forward

Are You Risking Enough Failure? How To ‘Fail Forward’ And Succeed Faster

Fail forward: How Setbacks Can Fuel Future Success