A to Z Challenge: F is For Failure


I’ve found parenthood much like sports, in that you try your best in the moment, but after the final whistle, you can look back on so many moments and beat yourself up for not doing more.

F imageIn the A to Z Challenge, F is for Failure. My friend Meredith at Perfection Pending blog wrote of her stalker. She (the stalker, not Meredith) is an awful woman, “full of negativity, ‘shoulds’ and ‘you’re not good enoughs.’ The stalker? It was her. Meredith. Always harping on her about how she’d failed.

Failed as a mom, failed as a woman.

Parents know this feeling, right? It’s what nags us for not doing enough. Or doing too much. Or doing the wrong thing. Little regrets, and big regrets, that leave us questioning ourselves. We compare ourselves to others, to our expectations.

It’s a toxic internal dialog. How could we not fail?

My impression of Meredith as a mom and woman was upbeat, engaging. How could she have this voice inside her? I understood. I’m impressed and grateful she battles that voice and wins, a little every day. My stalker showed up at night after a day of fatherhood.

My unreasonable stalker

He popped in at the end of a work shift to criticize my writing.

Oh, he hated my blog, too. He’s unreasonable. He’s condescending. He’s never satisfied. You might have one of him tailing, too. I wouldn’t want to share a pizza with a bloke like this. Why in the hell would I care what a guy like that thinks?

I cannot ignore failure, real or perceived.

I can hit the pillow at night vowing to try again tomorrow. I won’t fear failure. I’ll accept failure as part of my nutrition, the pile of vegetables that goes with the bacon double cheeseburger of success. (Yes, I went there).

Thomas Edison found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Bill Gates reminded us to heed the lessons of failure, not just to celebrate success. Michael Jordan, Colin Powell and Steve Jobs each spoke of failure – but also the value of trying, persistence, of not fearing external pride.

I want to swing hard at failure for my kids’ sake.

My players should chase their dreams

I want to swing hard at failure for my players’ sake, too. They should audition for the play and try out for the team. They should apply to their dream colleges.They should take shots at the goal – even if they miss.

A thousand times they can miss, and what should they do?

Shoot again. And know I’ll stand on the sideline and clap. A thousand times, I’ll clap. The only way I can fail? If I just stop trying.

failure quote


  1. jmgoyder says:

    Wonderful post!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks – I didn’t fail, did I?

  2. Lyn says:

    Eli, tell that stalker to sling his hook, take a hike, push off. The idiom doesn’t matter, he’ll get the message. What would that stalker know about blogs? Just ignore him. Take the kids out for pizza 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      He’s so out of here, Lyn. I feel like he’s had a smaller and smaller voice within me. I predict pizza in our future on Wednesday, in fact.

      1. Lyn says:

        I was just looking longingly at the pizza in the freezer. Maybe I should share it with my granddaughter for lunch 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        If you two need any help …

  3. ksbeth says:

    what a great message, at times, we are our own greatest critics.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      we ought to be our greatest advocates, instead, don’t you think, beth?

  4. I think we all have this type of stalker at times. At least, I know I do and can very much relate more than I wish I could.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I just pay him no mind. He’s jealous.

  5. vrein11 says:

    Thanks for naming that darn voice! The stalker.. now to put it in its place!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Stalker makes it sound like he belongs in a police lineup somewhere … thank Meredith for the coined term. You should check out her blog!

  6. For a milliseconds I considered including “failing” in my F-words (oohs, that didn’t come out as I intended) today, but no. Because even “failed” cupcakes may become wonderful cheesecake bites if given a chance.

    In job interviews people ask “what are your strengths and weaknesses” – I don’t like these terms. I believe there are qualities that come into effect in one or another situation. Don’t send your ducks to eagle school, and everybody wins.

    Quack, quack, quack, off I go (whatcha gonna do for Q?)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Unless you use salt instead of baking power, there’s a good chance you can salvage failed cupcakes.

      What if your weakness is “I can’t hold a job.”? Maybe honesty isn’t the best policy.

      1. Tamara says:

        Somebody who can’t HOLD a job has terrific qualities… He manages to GET a job over and over again, so he must be charming, convincing, clever,…

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Want to be my agent, Tamara?

  7. V says:

    Wonderful post and I like this blogging challenge

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks V! I hoped to get a day or two ahead, but that hasn’t happened yet.

  8. I like the term stalker much better than critic. Stalker says it like it is – someone who follows you around, makes you feel uncomfortable, wants you to be afraid of failure. After this uplifting post, my own stalker is shaking in her boots 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      A critic implies there might be something positive added – stalkers don’t think that way, do they? And with them, control and manipulation rule.

      You’re tons stronger than your stalker, Melissa. I look forward to reading you more. I definitely will!

  9. Kim says:

    For some reason it is so much easier to support our kids when they don’t succeed than it is to be kind to ourselves – or maybe that’s just me??

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’re right on the money, Kim – we lend incredible support to our kids, but what does it say if they see us treating ourselves unkindly?

  10. tamaralikecamera says:

    My stalker is awful. She thinks no one is uglier on earth than she is. And more useless. Sometimes.
    Also, I think you reversed the order of the vegetables and the bacon cheeseburger. (just kidding, but my western MA status made me write that. she’s a stalker too)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have a one-way ticket to Siberia for your stalker – or at least Cleveland. I hope she slips on a banana peel and falls where elephants have just walked and before the guy with the shovel could get there. If you catch my drift.

      Aren’t bacon cheeseburgers banned in western MA? I should spend a year there and write a sit-com blog.

  11. I love this! And I think it’s kind of neat that we both blogged about failure today. 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Emily! I’m off to check out your failure … oh wait, you know what I mean!

  12. laurie27wsmith says:

    It’s just as well we don’t have the video referee for parenthood Mate.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      And it’s too bad we can’t mute the inner commentary, mate!

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        That’s a real bugger.

  13. Great post! I definitely have a stalker following me around sometimes. I try to ignore her most of the time but sometimes she gets to me.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Kathy! Stalkers get away with a lot, until we smash their fingers in the window. Or refrigerator door.

  14. Rorybore says:

    “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I use that for soccer! (The kids ask, ‘who’s Wayne Gretzky?’ Oy.)

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