Imagine if failing were actually a good thing…

What if you Didn’t Fear Failure? 

How do you define failure?  Failure is defined as a lack of success, or a lack of expected outcomes.

Although this is a legitimate dictionary definition, buying into it is costing us time and money in a major way. For example, would you consider Serena Williams’ recent retirement announcement a failure…not exactly with 23 grand slams behind her belt. Let’s celebrate her iconic career versus most recent loss.

I experienced this first hand when on the road doing research to write a book on Greatness. Ironically the new book, is now appropriately titled ‘The Flip Side of Failing’, a topic that I never thought I would write about. I’m a recognition expert – Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness is my holy grail. So, you may ask yourself “what is a recognition expert doing talking about failure?”

Well I’ll tell you. What I learned from interviewing incredible, successful Canadians is that, they lean into failure. Accepting failure strengthens them so that they are better equipped to achieve success. Their direct experience and understanding of failure is more realistic than the average person. Simply put, they had to fail to achieve what they wanted. When Kevin Rempel was overcoming a major catastrophic injury from his Motocross accident, he was left paralyzed. He had two choices, “do I stay down, or tackle hours of physiotherapy to recover and overcome so that I can redefine my success and myself”.  Kevin did not want to succumb to depression like his dad who was injured and confined to a wheelchair.

Success for Peter Mansbridge was to become one of the most respected news anchors across Canada; his long decorated career interviewing over 13,000 people including world leaders, covering decades of royal weddings and funerals, and every natural disaster over a 20 year successful span was impressive despite the fact he didn’t have a university education. 

For Heather Moyse, having come in fourth only 1/100th of a second behind the bronze medal team in her first Olympics, fueled her determination to come back with a vengeance, which was rewarded with the first gold medal in female Canadian Bobsledding with her partner, not once but twice.

You see, great Canadians like you and I, we don’t believe in the traditional definition of failure. We throw it out the window. We reject it because, in fact, it is not necessarily your lack of success. It can actually propel yourself toward success, because you’re going to set the bar higher. By setting that bar, you’re going to have to fail once in a while, because you’re comfortable with not playing it safe. 

Frankly, what is so unexpected about failure anyways? It happens to every one of us. And it happens every single day in little tiny ways and huge ways sometimes.

So, let me invite you to consider, what is your definition of success? What if in fact success could be defined by what you do with your failures? (This is advice I’d give my younger self among other things). If you’re not living your life, if you are not building your business, if you are not stretching your career to the point where you will encounter failures, then maybe you’re robbing yourself of success. Want a gauge of this? There are lots of resources for you to lean into failure as opposed to let it roadblock your success. 

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve