Gini Dietrich

Failing In Order to Learn

By: Gini Dietrich | May 24, 2011 | 

Yesterday I had a very frank conversation with a close friend. He was describing a situation where he felt like he had failed.

You see, he tried this whole entrepreneur thing and he recently had to get a full-time job. He had to go back working for the man; being an employee. And, in his mind, he failed.

We talked about how hard entrepreneurship is: Not having a steady paycheck, never having a day off, lying in bed wondering how you’re going to be able to make the mortgage.

I know the grass is always greener, but some days working for the man doesn’t sound so bad!

Failing In Order to Learn

We’ve talked a lot on Spin Sucks about failure and how you don’t learn if you don’t make mistakes. And some of you may have already heard this story, but bear with me…there is a point.

In October 2008, the bank called and said that they not only were no longer going to do business with professional services firms, but that they were shutting down our line of credit.

Our payroll, at the time, was $110,000 per pay period. And clients never paid within 30 days so we used the line to carry through the first payroll of the month, paying it back when invoices were paid.

But, suddenly, I was sitting with trying to figure out how to make that 15th payroll without a cushion.

Then the economy really tanked and we lost some clients and we had to let people go. I had no choice.

That. Sucked.

I found myself sitting at home after work, wallowing in self-pity, and wondering if this world wouldn’t be better off without me. I thought about how my former colleagues must feel about me. I thought about how we hit the pinnacle of success and then bombed it in a serious way.

There were so many things I could have/should have done differently. I never should have relied so heavily on our line of credit. I should have required all employees were fully utilized. I should have hired for skill and not for personality.

I was beating myself up daily and I was spiraling into a deep depression.

And then I found this quote by Confucius:

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

I promptly wrote that down and taped it to my wall, where I have to see it every day. It knocked some sense into me and I began to think about how I would pick myself up and, essentially, start over.

The Lesson

When I asked my friend what he learned in the past couple of years, working for himself, he listed about 15 different things. When I asked him how he could apply those lessons to his new job, to his family, and to his friends, he readily had answers that were well thought-out and clear.

So, you see, it’s not in that you never fall, but in how you pick yourself up after you do.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • JimConnolly

    I am trying to figure out how many ways you just knocked the ball out of the park, in one fairly brief blog post.

    Your story is compelling, because it carries a valid message and it’s true.

    You, Gini, are compelling, because you are opening up an important part of your life, so that your readers can learn from you.

    The lesson is compelling, because yet again it assures readers who may be going through a tough time right now, that there is something amazing on the other side of their challenge.


  • I agree with Jim’s sentiment– a simple story in which everyone can see a little of themselves. It’s not always easy going out on your own or taking what ever the next big step is. But you make a good point that failure is not the end but rather the beginning. Thanks, Gini!

  • KenMueller

    If it weren’t for falling and getting up again, I wouldn’t be here. Several times over. And I’m sure I’ve got lots more falling left in me! It helps to have the support of good people around you, including your family. Makes all the difference!

  • Great post. Been there. It does suck. But failing does have a way of helping put things in perspective*.

    And fear of failing AGAIN is one hell of a motivator, as long as you don’t let it lead to second-guessing and creative paralysis.

    * – BTW, I have a lot of extra perspective lying around, if anyone needs any. I buy in bulk.

  • ginidietrich

    @JimConnolly Thanks Jim! It took a long time to be able to talk about it, but I agree in that we’re all human beings, we all have issues, and we all choose to either overcome or not.

  • ginidietrich

    @Krista Life isn’t easy, period. There has been a lot of conversation of late of all these Internet celebrities who are put on pedestals and then torn down. We all put our pants on one leg at a time.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller Ken! How did it go last night??

  • KenMueller

    @ginidietrich It went really well. Gave me some ideas of some other things I wanna do down the line.

  • KenMueller

    @ginidietrich @Krista pants? who wears pants?

  • Great post Gini. The ways I can relate to this are numerous – I appreciate you sharing. : )

    I think one of the greatest things we can do for other people is helping them see how a situation/lesson learned can translate to their own life and move it from a negative to finding something worthy about it. Not everyone can see it, and sometimes we’re too wrapped up in the loss and self-pity to be able to see it. Your friend obviously knew the answers, but having other people help point that out can make all the difference. We all need good friends like you!

  • please please please please please please please please please write that book


    if not, I will steal ALL your online nuggets and give them to the world- and i am only half joking

  • BestRoofer

    Wow Gini, I can really relate. Similar issues have me staring at a sign on my wall everyday that says “CASH- NO DEBT”. I’m still working on it. Hit the ground hard several times. It’s all about getting back up!

  • KDillabough

    We don’t learn from doing things correctly: we learn from mistakes. My caveat: you only make a particular mistake once. If that’s the case, you’ve learned from it. If not, then it’s Einstein’s “doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”

    Your story has so much resonance for me, as I’m recovering from a nasty 2+ years of TM litigation, and now re-branding my “new” 28-year old business. I’ve mentioned it in a few comments before, but now I’m compelled to write my story, so others may also see that:

    You can do it all right, and it can still turn out horribly wrong. But you learn…

    Thanks for sharing @ginidietrich Your words and stories are always full of impact, and resonate to the core. Now I only wish I was at Blogworld to connect in person! Cheers! Kaarina

  • toddlercomm

    I try not to look at it is failing so much as an unexpected result. If we get what we expect all the time, we never grow because we are never challenged. Sure it sucks going through it, but time and perspective makes us stronger and more confident for future failures.

  • “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.” Confucius”Whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are right” Henry Ford”There’s no secret to success, It is the result of hard work, preparation and learning from Failure” Colin Powell”it’s not in that you never fall, but in how you pick yourself up after you do.” Gini DietrichLife is not a photo, it is a movie. If this frame isn’t good enough, make the next one better.A great post, a great lesson, and done with amazing brevity, Gini, Very nice!

  • Hi Gini… I know I’ve shared the following “60 Minutes” story here in the past, but for anyone who needs a lift Coach Carroll is the man for the job! Not exactly Confucius, but it does the trick! 🙂

    “Something good’s just about to happen.” That’s the quote I look at everyday. Not exactly Confucius, but it does the trick! 🙂

    60 Minutes Feature on Pete Carroll:

  • “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.” Confucius”Whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are right” Henry Ford”There’s no secret to success, It is the result of hard work, preparation and learning from Failure” Colin Powell”It’s not in that you never fall, but in how you pick yourself up after you do.” Gini DietrichLife is not a photo, it is a movie. If this frame isn’t good enough, make the next one better.A great post, a great lesson, and done with amazing brevity, Gini, Very nice!

  • ginidietrich

    @JohnAkerson Thanks John! It’s super fun seeing you around lately. You always add additional things to consider.

  • ginidietrich

    @T60Productions Something good’s just about to happen. LIKE A BABY!!

  • ginidietrich

    @toddlercomm That is such a great outlook on life! I suppose you’re a glass half full person, too?? 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @KDillabough One of the things I learned in the past two years, watching a friend go through bankruptcy and starting over, is there really isn’t any failure in life. Rebranding your 28 year old business or starting brand new out of bankruptcy both take a lot of energy, motivation, and stamina, but it can be done. And you’re much further ahead than most because you’re doing it. Again.

  • ginidietrich

    @BestRoofer Mine is a little more blunt – “Have fuck you money.”

  • ginidietrich

    @faybiz Oh be patient, grasshopper!

  • ginidietrich

    @wendykeneipp Thanks Wendy…and thanks for the comment on Twitter, too! I have a friend who has stage four cancer. He has maybe six months left to live. And people walk on eggshells around him. They tell him their thoughts and prayers are with him and they treat him like he’s already dead. I tell him to get his butt out of bed, mow the lawn, go do something. Sometimes I’m more harsh than that. But the point is we all need people to tell us to get our shit together and move on.

  • ginidietrich

    @fitzternet I’m following you around the blogosphere! I’d love some of your extra perspective!

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller You wear a skirt?

  • What a great post this morning, Gini. We’re STILL waiting on that one client to pay, but we have become much more “assertive” and will be calling the CFO tomorrow if we don’t hear anything by EOB today (thanks to everyone at CAPRSA for encouraging us finally to get tough with our old friend/client!). Success over the long haul IS so much a matter of attitude, and mistakes are simply good long-term outcomes wrapped in crappy short-term results.

    No doubt about it, Gini; you and Confucius ROCK! Happy Tuesday, girl!

  • dariasteigman

    Spot on, @ginidietrich . The first time I lost a big client (and they decided to tell me on a Friday no less), I came home and sat down and wrote out a list of 5 people I could call on Monday morning. Just that small act of moving forward put me back in control and made me feel better.

    Plus, in the long run losing that chunk of work opened up the opportunity — and gave me a needed shove — to diversify my business and make it stronger.

  • AnneRyan

    I agree that there really is no such thing as failing. It’s gained experience. It allows for maturation. It makes us vulnerable. Lends us some compassion. These are adjectives not always embraced in business, but they ultimately lead to a business being successful and building long term relationships with clients and partners who share the same values rather than one-off conveyor belt marketing projects that provide little security. As long as our efforts and goals are based on good intent and the right principles in all aspects of doing business, I just don’t believe we can truly fail.

  • @ginidietrich oh i am SO doing it NOW!

  • Another great post, my friend. When I use the word “failure” while I’m training or teaching, I always use my air quotes gesture. Failure’s just a step on the road to success. You learn something important from each and every failure, but only if you’re open to the learning. As this clip makes clear, “If you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived” (Hope it opens!)

  • This is not related to business, but when I left my husband with a two and a half year old, I felt like a pretty big failure. it is not easy to be a single mom, but my life now is better than I ever could have imagined.

    A few years ago, I knew I wanted to write for a living but had no idea how I was going to do that. I now have the flexibility to blog, and I am looking at contacting women’s shelters in my area to see if I can come speak so that I can share with the women there how I left a very abusive marriage.

    I only fail if I refuse to try – even my blog is proof positive of that. It may be small now, but that is only temporary. I also am aware that all those poor choices made me into the person I am today, and I would not change any of it.

    I love that quote too. As a matter of fact, I am bookmarking this post.

  • robbyslaughter

    Great post!

    I think this topic is so important, that I wrote an entire book about it. <a href=””>Failure: The Secret to Success</a>.

  • KarenARocks

    Okay @ginidietrich please get out of my head. I was out for a run yesterday and was thinking about what to blog about and failure was the topic. MY favorite quote (even listed on my FB page) is ” A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure unless he gives up”. I have no idea who said it, but I have been inspired by that optimistic line for at least 20 years. It has held true for me personally and professionally. And yes I will still write my blog post.

  • I, for one, am a lousy entrepreneur. I can’t sell m’self for anything and I completely lack the killer instinct for negotiating and billing. I don’t work for the man only because I want to pick my kids up at school every day – the life of a divorced Dad.

    But it’s just not for everyone, and I’ve learned that. I learned that driving down West Seventh St at 50 MPH racing to get to the bank before it closed. That doesn’t mean I’ve failed, I eventually decided, it means that this life just isn’t for everyone – translating out of Midwestern Passive, it’s not for *me*.

    I think it needs to be said over and over because people often feel that they are supposed live and love that life. That’s not the right answer for many people. Thank you for saying it again, and I hope that other people in my situation can learn to accept their shortcomings with as much grace as I have – after beating m’self over the head repeatedly for a few years, that is. 🙂

  • Gini – thanks for sharing this story, there is something special about the challenges we face in life that really adds something to the internal skill set. These humbling opportunities for leadership, learning and commitment are essential to our ongoing success.

  • FocusedWords

    How can you know when you succeed if you never fail?

  • ginidietrich

    @RogerFriedensen It’s only been like eight months, Roger. I think you’re being way too impatient.

  • ginidietrich

    @dariasteigman That is such a great idea! Next time I’m feeling in the dumps, I’m going to send you a note and you’re going to tell me to do this.

  • ginidietrich

    @AnneRyan And perspective, too!

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 And…now you’re headed to BlogWorld and we get to meet! All because of that decision you made almost six years ago. Well…maybe not, but go with it!

  • ginidietrich

    @robbyslaughter Sweet! I’ll check it out!

  • ginidietrich

    @KarenARocks I’ve been missing you! I’ll be looking for your blog post. And I’m posting that quote on my wall. I like that one, too!

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid I agree – what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you. It’s ridiculous that we (society) put things out there that seem like success and we hold everyone to those same measures.

  • ginidietrich

    @hackmanj The key word here, Joe, is “humbling.”

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords Exactly! And, while you’re here, get your photo in Gravatar. I want to see your face!

  • I have this conversation with friends and have blogged about it many times. I hate failing. I hate, hate, hate, hate it. But i have failed and will do so again.

    As a father one of the most important things I have done is tried to teach my children how to fail. When we play games I don’t just let them win. Sometimes I make a point of winning because they have to learn coping skills. They have to learn what to do when things go wrong.

    I am cautious not to crush their spirit or kill their self esteem, but it is so important. On Thursday we have open house and my 4th grader has a science project that will be displayed. He has done the majority of the work himself and has received some help from us.

    I guarantee that we will see projects at the science fair that look better and more professional. In virtually every case it will be because parents did the work. I won’t have it. I will always help my children, but I don’t do the work because they have to learn how to do it.

    Circling back to the business world I’ll share again that I hate failure but it is important. And within the blogosphere we have tremendous opportunity that not everyone recognizes because there are resources here that we can draw upon.

    There are people here who will help, but that is really sort of a different post.

    Anyway, I better wrap this up because I could go on for a thousand more words.

  • Gini, this post so resonates with my month! You have no idea. I alluded to this last week when you so graciously featured me in your #FF. At that very point, I was standing at the cross roads of entrepreneurship and wondering if I should continue on and fight the good fight or say, “you know what, I may have to take another path and have an entrepreneurial spirit while working for someone else.” NOT. KIDDING. Not to hijack your post, I just want to say, that I too have found ENORMOUS wisdom in the process of failing and am quite happy to say that I’m ok with whatever path I take because I’ll still be doing an awesome job at what I do.

  • ginidietrich

    @TheJackB I don’t have kids, but I agree with you in that you can’t do things for kids…including letting them win. The parents who do things for their kids, like their science projects, are the same ones who call the boss (me) and ask for a raise for their kid or negotiate their starting package. That’s the fastest way to not get the job…and it happens all the time.

  • @TheJackB Jack, I do the same thing when playing games with my oldest. He HATES to lose. I despise the thought of him never knowing how to cope with losing *more* than I dislike his sadness when he loses; therefore, I make sure we play fairly and if I win, I win. Well done.

  • KDillabough

    @ginidietrich Thanks for the kind words, my friend. I call it my most expensive educational experience!

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison When I started the business, I used to think, “When is the other shoe going to drop?” And then it didn’t. So then I started to think, “When the other shoe drops, I’ll just go work at a big agency.” And then the other shoe dropped. And I didn’t go get a job. I picked myself up (it took a few months), dusted myself off, and set about starting again. I say this not to say you have to stay on the entrepreneurship path, but to figure out what makes most sense for YOU. Then do it. It’s not easy. You’re going to cry. A lot. And, when you do, you’re going to call me and I’m going to talk you off the ledge.

  • @ginidietrich Thanks. Expect a call soon! 🙂 After Blog World!

  • @ginidietrich @EricaAllison Auntie G- everyone needs one

  • @EricaAllison @TheJackB Curious, what do you display when YOU lose? It is REALLY easy to point out to the defeated how to act. I’ve found it a bigger lesson learner for them to see me and how I react after they have beaten me (usually at video games). Sometimes I have to fight back being a sore loser…

  • WeissDesigns

    Wow! I love it and so very true. Keep picking yourself up. That’s all that matters in the end.

  • @ginidietrich a few years back I had a father talk to me about his son’s review. I told him that if he wanted to support his son he should keep talking.

  • @EricaAllison My son used to have a much bigger issue with losing than he does now. I remember the tears and how it hurt to see him so upset. Eventually I managed to convince him that it was worth learning how to beat me. I think if we keep at it, they get better about it.

  • @faybiz I think you are right. My son has beaten me three times now in Connect Four. How said is it that I can tell you how many times it has happened. 😉 Anyway, I have actually found that I get so excited for him that it makes losing easier. On the video game front it has be harder, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get irritated sometimes when I lose.

    But most of the time if I smile and say good game it works for both of us. I have definitely noticed a difference in his behavior over the last 3 years or so. He has matured and it has become much easier for all of us.


  • FocusedWords

    @ginidietrich @TheJackB Really??? Mom or Dad negotiates the package???? And here I thought you were supposed to do that stuff yourself. Unbelievable.

  • FocusedWords

    @ginidietrich Yes ma’am. I’ll get right to work on that.

  • FocusedWords

    @ginidietrich OK, I loaded it. Now you can tell me how much younger I look than what you imagined. 😉

  • FocusedWords

    @ginidietrich Didn’t work. What did I do wrong? Or did right the wrong way?

  • wagnerwrites

    I’ve been in both of your shoes. Technically, this is my third freelance career. Nothing is forever. Thanks for the wisdom.

  • ginidietrich

    @wagnerwrites It’s like running a marathon. You finish one, take notes on what you can do better, and do it again.

  • ginidietrich

    @WeissDesigns Exactly!

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison You can even call me here, if need be. I’m just hanging out with thesaleslion johnfalchetto and lisagerber

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords Oh it’s true. I once had a parent call and tell me he didn’t think the raise his son got was fair. Kind of like@TheJackB story about the review.

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords Hmmmm…it should work. I’ll get into the Spin Sucks admin and see if I can tell.

  • @EricaAllison Sounds like you and I need to have coffee this week… Can we make it happen?

    Thank you @ginidietrich for the blog! Means more than you could guess.

  • toddlercomm

    @ginidietrich I consider myself optimistic but you have to be aware of the worst case scenario too. I call it perspective. Be mentally prepared for the worst but hopefully for the best.

  • ginidietrich

    @toddlercomm Totally agree. I think perspective is something huge not many people discuss.

  • ginidietrich

    @justinthesouth My pleasure, Brackett! xoxo

  • JulioRVarela

    Did you write this for me today? LOL

  • janbeery

    @ginidietrich @EricaAllison I’ll be there with Gini, Erica. You’ve got what ever support you need. Decisions like this are never easy. Don’t be bashful about tapping into your support system.

  • @ginidietrich Two weeks to go… but who’s counting. 🙂

    –Tony Gnau

  • janbeery

    I’ve had to make some pretty serious decisions in my life both personal and professional. I am confident I’ll continue to have to make more as we just did a relaunch of kbkcomm

    It’s never easy, there’s no clear cut map. You gather knowledge and experience from you support systems and the pieces fall in the best places for you and your situation. No right or wrong answer, just the absolute determination to continue moving forward.

  • Been there, done that ! And what’s worse is that it can happen again and again when you run your own business! I think partly you have to be crazy to do it, but crazy if you don’t. I think the motto that keeps me going in the tough times is: “while I have breath I have hope.”

  • bdorman264

    No, that didn’t suck; That. sucked. BIG. TIME.

    My industry (commercial insurance) is a direct reflection of the economy. You have $50 mil in revenues; 150 employees; 75 vehicles; life is good for both of us. Fast forward to 2008, 2009, 2010, you have $2.3 mil in revenues; 19 employees; 5 vehicles; hey, who moved my cheese?

    The good news is, your doors are at least still open.

    Having to lay people off is one of the hardest things to do; especially when they are good employees. However, the buck stops with you; you have to make the tough decisions; you are the one tossing and turning at night with your stomach in knots wondering not only who has to go, but are we going to make payroll.

    I think I know who you are talking about in the story and I admire him and I admire you tremendously for having enough of an entrepreneurial spirit to at least jump out there and take the chance. Yes, you are going to get beat up and it might not work, but at least you tried. At the end of the day you were able to still get up; maybe some very tough lessons along the way but you did learn.

    I don’t know if I qualify as ‘the man’ or working for ‘the man’. I am an owner but they never give me the keys to the car, what’s up with that?

    Good post and hope you are having a good time in NY if that is where you are.

  • @janbeery @ginidietrich You ladies are the best! I just might take you up on it! xoxo to you both!

  • @justinthesouth Let’s try it! Thursday?

  • @faybiz @TheJackB I usually do what Jack mentions and focus on the ‘good game’ part and having fun. I also think it’s really stinking cool when he wins and I let him know that, too! 🙂

  • @ginidietrich thesaleslion johnfalchetto lisagerber What. A. Group.

  • @ginidietrich It could also be that I’m reading caroljsroth ‘s book The Entrepreneur Equation – she’ll make you question just about everything! 🙂

  • sydcon_mktg

    @ginidietrich @EricaAllison If you need me, I am hear Erica! Sorry to hear you are having a rough ride!! Gini has some great words of wisdom to offer here, and I am sure plenty of us in this great community we are part of here, could help!

  • sydcon_mktg

    @ginidietrich @FocusedWords @TheJackB Good grief!! Just when I thought maybe I had heard everything!

  • sydcon_mktg

    @TheJackB Ugh, this makes me think about little league baseball. In our little league, they dont keep score until they are 8…and then only in the “playoffs”. No 3 outs, you bat your whole order until you are 8! What does that teach kids about winning and losing or the rules of the game?

    In our house, Mom & Dad never take it easy on the kids! Our lesson to the is life is not fair, there are winners & losers and Mom & Dad cant change things in life for you.

  • AnnieAndreHacks

    oooh ooh me too. this happened to me too.

    I can laugh now but A few years ago when i got laid off i thought i should feel like a failure but what i felt was relief.

    My husband on the other hand has had a heck of a hard time finding a job. We lived in silicon valley and worked for high tech softward companies. It was so bad that we had to leave the bay area and stay in montreal with my family. He eventually gave up and decided to have a go at software QA consulting last March and ow does freelance work.

    We have learned so much over the last few years about ourselves about forgotten passions about our families that we have decided to take our life into a new direction. We’re just figuring things out but if it weren’t for losing our jobs and almost hitting rock bottom we probably would have been bound by our golden handcuffs pretending to be happy with all of pretty stuff and house packed with expensive things… 🙂

  • KenMueller

    @ginidietrich um. no…..

  • ginidietrich

    @AnnieAndreHacks I. Love. This. There is a blog post in this, if you ever want to share. We’d be happy to house it.

  • ginidietrich

    @bdorman264 I am in NY! I’ve already seen a few Spin Sucks commenters. I hope to see tomorrow when dannybrown and I speak. And there was a time I didn’t think I’d get up and keep going. But you’re right. I did.

  • ginidietrich

    @jonbuscall So are you saying we’re both crazy?

  • ginidietrich

    @janbeery I love that you already have a new Twitter handle! I know today is a hard one for you personally. Thinking about you! xoxo

  • ginidietrich

    @JulioRVarela Honestly, when I got your message, I knew you’d think that. LOL!

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords It’s working! It’s working! It’s working!

  • adamtoporek


    This post really spoke to me, and it’s actually one of those posts that I have had a hard time commenting on because I had too much to say. So, I’ll pick the one thing that really stood out: What is truly great about failure is HOW you learn the lessons it teaches. Take your comment:

    “There were so many things I could have/should have done differently. I never should have relied so heavily on our line of credit. I should have required all employees were fully utilized. I should have hired for skill and not for personality.”

    It is the inherent self-doubt created by failure that inspires nay, forces a level of introspection and analysis that one rarely attains at any other time. You can’t get it by going on a strategy retreat, and you can’t get it from a book. It is the pain of failure that makes the questions cut deep and that makes the answers resonate over time.

    When times were good, you may have spoken with someone who said relying on credit was too risky or who told you that you should be more efficient with staff utilization. Maybe you didn’t, but the point is that the lessons were already there; it took failure to help you see them.

    Now comes the hardest part, not forgetting them when the good times return. 🙂

  • @bdorman264 Bill, I can get you those car keys. Just tell me where you want them.

  • @ginidietrich Those parents don’t like me very much because my curmudgeonly nature makes me tell them to stop cheating.

  • @EricaAllison My son doesn’t understand how proud I am when he wins. If he knew how badly I hate to lose he would appreciate it more. But that is ok, he knows I love him.@faybiz

  • @sydcon_mktg I have coached soccer and baseball. When the kids are relatively young I don’t like keeping score because I want them to learn to love the game. But you are right, it is important to cut that off and start teaching them that the world doesn’t give such gifts.

    It is hard sometimes to find that balance.

  • Awesome sauce Gini and wise. I tweeted yesterday we need to eliminate the word “fail” from the books, because some things that APPEAR that way are not.

  • AnnieAndreHacks

    @ginidietrich I’m on it. I would love to share. I’ll start working on it right away.. Thank You. 🙂

  • bdorman264

    @TheJackB @sydcon_mktg Very hard; but in reality, that’s life it is not an even playing field………..

  • ginidietrich

    @KensViews HAHAHAH! I totally missed this. LOL!

  • ginidietrich

    @AnnieAndreHacks Awesome! I’ll let lisagerber know!

  • ginidietrich

    @delwilliams I agree! Let’s see what we can do about that!

  • ginidietrich

    @adamtoporek You’re absolutely right, Adam. We can be given all the advice in the world, but don’t tend to listen unless we have perspective to help us make our decisions. And that’s also why innovation comes out of crisis. We’re forced to change.

  • dariasteigman

    @ginidietrich Call me ANY time. Just to be clear: It was not easy, and it took me 2 days before I told anyone what had happened. But in that interim, I couldn’t figure how to get moving except to get moving. So I did.

  • FocusedWords

    @delwilliams I’m going to disagree here. I think part of where we have gone wrong is in eliminating the “bad” words and using words that make us feel better. Kids no longer fail in school because that makes them feel bad. We don’t measure ourselves against success, we measure ourselves against the mediocre because they don’t fail. The word Fail isn’t bad, it’s what we do after we fail that may be bad. If we don’t pull ourselves up and try again, that’s bad. Let’s celebrate failure as a means to improve and succeed.

  • @ginidietrich Amen – I hate the pity and want solutions – I’m sure your friend appreciates you in spades!

    My biggest moments have come about when someone has given me a serious reality check. It’s not necessarily what you want to hear, but it’s what you *need* to hear. From reality and “permission” it becomes much easier to move on. Funny because I am so often the reality-check person that people come to, but it’s not always so easy to see it when it’s yourself who needs the reality check!

  • FocusedWords

    @wendykeneipp @ginidietrich Count me in on being the reality check person who doesn’t always see the reality for herself.

  • Gini,I truly believe in what you say. We all make mistakes. If we learn nothing from them, then that is failing. If we learn and come back better, stronger, smarter, then we are one step closer to achieving our goals.

    And your post can be translated to other aspects of our lives, like relationships, sports, etc.

    Thanks for sharing your early struggles. Continue building that PR empire. You’re well on your way!

  • The key is getting back up, dusting yourself off and swinging away once again. That truly is one of the biggest secrets of success… well, it’s not really a secret now is it..?

    Just get back up and stay in the game. Always play to win. Those folks who don’t quit always get the ring. Always.

    A big fan and cheering you on Gini – you’re a championship player!

  • KDillabough

    @Mark_Harai Stay in the game: play to win: never quit. Words to live by, my friend. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Gini, I know I’m late to this but when attending a crappy class at blog world, it’s great to at least catch awesomeness somewhere on the web– which is exactly what this article was. I very much hope your friend will look back on this time with a smile.

  • Leon

    G’Day Gini,

    Good stuff. Ya gotta get up and get going again. Although I don’t think that “experience is the best teacher” cos it teaches you to repeat your mistakes.

    I had to say something a bit serious because my real reason for commenting was to congtaulate you for emulating President Obama.

    He too, used the words of Dorothy Fields….. in his inauguration speech.

    A touch of class that.



  • KimDavies

    Hi, Gini.

    I have always admired you from afar. Reading all your comments in such blogs like Nitty Griddy’s and Danny Brown’s, among others. I gathered from these comments, from the compliments they give you and from your site that you are one cool lady and I enjoy learning from you.

    This is my favorite of your site’s posts so far, because I’ve always believed that it does not matter how hard you fall, as long as you pick yourself right back up and made the best out of things. I have faced so many failures in my life including having to give up a career in journalism because of an illness, but I am proud to say that even if I may have gone in a different direction, I am still living out my passion and that is writing.

    Thanks for this, Gini. I needed it. While it made me remember about what could have been, it also made me embrace what is yet to come.



  • DianaBaur

    Hi, Gini. I know. It’s true. You have captured, in essence, why people often don’t even try to make it on their own. The fear of effing it up in the first place.

    it’s hard to sometimes face the things that haven’t worked and gulp the responsibility Kool-Aid. I often joke that buying the farm on the hill and the events that followed led me to one day run down my very long, very dusty driveway, arms flailing, hair flying, eyes wide, mouth gaped screaming “I JUST WANT TO WORK AT THE MALL!” And I did. I just wanted to have someone tell me when to show up, and snivel about not getting my fifteen minute break.

    Mistakes? Yeah. Like trusting people that, had I really listened to what was going on in my head, I would have blown off with something like, “In your wildest dreams would I ever sign a document that includes your name anywhere in it, because you suck.” But insecurity and trying new things sometimes render us deaf to the sound of our own common sense. Or like thinking that if I wasn’t doing something (anything) relating to this project that I was going to end up under a bridge with a shopping cart and a doggie bag from the dumpster (neurotic but true). I worked myself to the point where panic and anxiety threatened to shut everything down.

    I learned from the bad judgement, the misspent money, the exhaustion. I knew one thing: whatever we were doing, we were getting the guest experience right. And we used that as our guide. I don’t suffer fools and bad construction dudes lightly. I know that if I am tired and edgy, it will spill over to my guests. I get my sleep, even if breakfast is ten minutes late. That’s life. The guests would rather see me happy. And while there is nothing wrong with working at the mall, I’ll take the hill in Italy for myself, thanks.

    All of that learning has opened my eyes to the fact that the bed and breakfast and my pottery and my blog are just the beginning. The best is yet to come.

  • DianaStrinatiBaur

    geez finally got livefyre 🙂

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  • Mistakes and Failures are our greatest teacher in life. All of us will encounter failure/s in our life.  What matters most is how we get up and learn from those failures. Thanks Gini.

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