Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

The F Word

Last week Emily and I had the pleasure of traveling to beautiful Antwerp to teach ET&A to 60 young women as part of Women2Women Belgium. During my time there I found myself learning just as much as the students, if not more. These women were INCREDIBLE. They were with us every step of the way and even anticipating our next move before we verbalized it. As we were leading a session on failure, and encouraging them to share their “smart mistakes” with each other, one of the students asked if she could share something with the group.

It was an email she had written to her boyfriend whose sports team had just gone to a high stakes competition and failed miserably. But, she was re-framing what failure (or the “F” word as I like to call it) means. What a generative and giving space this was. This was a gift that she gave to all the other women in the room – and she was delighted to allow us to share this gift with you, our blog readers. And as you read what she bravely wrote, you can apply her insights to just about any endeavor one chooses to engage in.

“Sports isn’t just about the medals or getting first place. It’s about getting up in the morning and going to practice. It’s about failing and not letting it stop you. It’s about working your butt off. It’s about being tired. It’s about sore muscles. It’s about getting injured and trying to come back even stronger. It’s about disappointment and turning it into a lesson. It’s about wanting to be better than you were the day before. It’s about pushing your body and mind to its limits.

What makes you an athlete is being able to do all of that. What makes you an athlete is not doing it once, but doing it everyday. What makes you an athlete is turning defeat into wisdom and strength and using it when you go back to practice. What makes you an athlete is loving all of it.

Being able to do all of the above makes you a winner. You are not failing. You are winning.”

-Ana Decoster, W2WBelgium 2015