Courage Wellness Wisdom Writing

The upside of failure

I’ve often railed at some of my own personal fears – which I have often seen as failures – but in the midst of this, I received a prompt from the online (international) writing group I belong to look at the upside of failure.

In June, I was really busy with planning for ArtsFest 2023. I’m chair of the non-profit that stages this amazing celebration of the arts in our community. So, while I had an incredibly competent coordinator for the event, I was still the one signing the bills and having to make sure everything went according to plans as promised to our funders. This included having a backup plan for one of my greatest fears – the outdoor event was hit by a storm, which in this part of Canada can mean a hurricane-level rainstorm with high winds. Artists generally don’t like having their work damanged by water or blown away into the lake!

The 2023 event was again a huge success, and definitely something I should count amongst my own achievements. Rain only arrived late in the day and we were able to pack up and protect all of our artists and their work. Read more at The arts will save us all.

But this brings to mind how I have often railed at some of my own personal fears – which I have often seen as failures. So I was doubly inspired when I received a prompt from the online (international) writing group I belong to – Story Republic. It was to look at the upside of failure and as I contemplated this I began to see how facing fears is often an act of incredible courage we rarely give ourselves credit for.

This poem honours that.

The upside of failure

How do we
more kindly find
the upside of failure
except in the unfinished
promise of a poem,
a more lyrical way
to acknowledge
painful moments
of angst
steady feet
one in front of
the other weakening
as they near the top
of a steep hill
with hopes
to succeed
maybe even forget?
A sonnet
in this moment,
how best to describe
the rushing current
of what was wanted
of us
be stronger
more accomplished
perhaps you didn’t
fall short of
unreasonable demands
but instead
were steady
biding your time
for that big finish
that would take you
where you always wanted to be.
We are always
running for new landings
like seeds floating
in the breeze,
sprinkling a future
nobody sees
but it’s there nonetheless
you know what you did
even if it didn’t
measure up
to expectations
that you didn’t really
care about anyhow.
Maybe that’s the reward
of failure
if there is one
after another
and another
let-down that is,
seeing that maybe
what you’ve been
banging your head
against isn’t
worth it and it’s time
to rest against
a softer landing
that disperses
all those dreams
that were never
yours anyway.
Awaken from
that restless slumber
that plaques each night
to rise up
free of the weight
others have
put upon you
it’s your choice now
you decide
where to go from here
without shame
brush the leaves
away and stand up
in their golden glory
revealing what bravery
looks like
because of everything
you tried
and failed
and tried again.
fall oak leaves

By Leanne

Leanne is MightyWrite’s lead writer. She believes in the power of stories that focus on our humanity and how what we bring to the world and each other is what really matters.

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