Why I Want My Kids to Fail

July 10, 2023

I recently heard a story about the woman who invented spanx. Her name is Sara Blakely. Being an avid user of the product and given the inspirational nature of this story, I decided to share a quick version of it.

In brief, she came up with the idea for the product by cutting the feet off of some pantyhose when she was attending a party. Years later, she was on Oprah talking about the birth of the product, to which many women had told her they had previously done the same thing. Her idea was really not that original.

The only difference was that she did something about it.

Oprah asked her what it was that made her different? Why did she press through the adversity and create the product? Building a business in incredibly hard no matter how great the idea. What was her key to success?

Her key was failure.

She had previously spent time selling fax machines door to door, a job marked by failure. She knew creating a product and launching a business would have a lot of moments of failure, to which she was very resilient.

But more importantly, she shared a story of growing up in her home. Each week, her father would ask her and her brother to tell him a way in which they had failed that week. And if they did not have anything to share, he was disappointed in them.

He wanted to see his kids fail because he knew that if they weren’t failing in something, that means they were not stretching themselves. They weren’t taking risks. They weren’t setting out for challenges.

I see so many people in my practice that tell me they were not allowed to fail growing up and the adverse effects if has had on them.

So, two take aways from this:

1. Embrace failure in your life. If you do not fail at something every now and then, this means you aren’t taking enough risks. Take a risk this week and see if you succeed or not.

2. If you are a parent, maybe try instilling this value with your family. One man decided to take this approach and his daughter turned out to be a billionaire.

Take the next step

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