Beginnings (Or…The Declarations of a Failure)

I am a failure.

beginningsAnd I am not ashamed or discouraged by that fact. I recently learned the art of failing forward. I realized that my life is a textbook, a history book of its own. And much like we learn from studying the history of others, our greatest lessons come from studying our own history.

I am a failure in life. Life is a pretty big deal, you know. And I have repeatedly failed at it.

“It” is not so easily defined but when I looked at what defines a life I came up with only three aspects: influence, impact, and integrity.

Do others follow me? Have I led others in the right direction? How have I used my influence?

Have I inspired those around me? Have I left my mark on the world and am I leaving a legacy? Have I made an impact?

Have I remained honest and faithful to my Creator? Have I stayed true to my beliefs? Have I maintained my integrity, come hell or high water?

I am sure there is more to life than those three things, but for me those are the core of my being and the reason for my existence.

Life, Leadership, and Love. Those are my major areas of experience and failure and the focus of this blog.

I have started three businesses of my own, worked for many others, and even been fired by my own father. I have been to the top, to the bottom, and spent countless hours trying to figure how to get to the one and avoid the other. I have held trophies and awards with the same hands that have been handcuffed.

I am a follower of the One who made me and the One who saved me first, a husband to an infinitely patient and faithful wife second, and a father to an adorable daughter third. Beyond that I am a lover of business, marketing, leadership, and learning. I am enamored with the pursuit of personal growth, influencing others, and changing the world. One business, one husband, one father, one leader at a time.

Welcome to a journey of discovery. Of life. Of leadership. Of love. Learned the hard way.

How have you found success in learning from your failures? Leave a Comment Below.

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  • Hey Matt! I’m looking forward to reading this blog! You have exceptional insight and transparency and a sharp sense of what a leader should be. And for the record, it doesn’t seem to me that you are a failure in life. Congrats!

    • Matt_McWilliams

      Thanks Lily!

      I am truly learning from experience. The transparency thing is not in my nature, in fact quite the opposite, but I learned that it’s the only way for me to grow. And I want to grow! So the fear of embarrassment in sharing is outweighed by my overwhelming desire to grow as a person, as a leader, as a husband/father/disciple.

      But I am a failure…and like I said I am great with that. It’s just a matter of perspective and what we do with that reality that defines where we go in life.

  • I’ve been thinking about this lately as well. While I’m not old & wise, there’s so much I’d like to tell myself 15 years ago. We all fail, but as long as we get back up, we’re OK.

    • Matt_McWilliams

      “While I’m not old & wise”

      But you are old. Sorry just kidding, you set me up for that one :)

      I actually view this blog as an ongoing “Things I would tell myself 15 years ago” conversation. And the best part is that I can read it 15 years from now.

      • And if we invite time travel, you can read it 15 years ago. Or 30 years from now. Or with Elvis.

        • Matt_McWilliams

          Dude. Elvis is alive, what are you talking about?

  • Matt – great looking blog and such good insight. The best way to learn is from mistakes – and I admire your transparency. Congratulations and I look forward to being part of the ongoing conversation!

    • Matt_McWilliams

      Thanks Carol. I need a colophon eventually. It’s Standard 3. Best theme ever IMHO.

      (Thanks to @496f5107d7edd633a82d0399dd0d50cd:disqus for pointing it out to me)

  • Great post, Matt! I’m looking forward to reading your blog.

    I think my biggest failures in life have been via relationships. I used to (and still do at times) steam roll over people with my passionate opinions. Though people would often know my heart, the way I delivered my message was so hurtful. I’m slowly becoming a better, more empathetic communicator, and my wife has helped me tremendously. Recognizing the failure was certainly the most important first step.

    • Matt_McWilliams

      Though people would often know my heart, the way I delivered my message was so hurtful.”

      Wow, Luke. That is an incredible statement. As @ChrisLoCurto:disqus would say “POW-ER-FUL” (I think he says that haha)

      Wives are the best thing to ever happen to husbands. Seriously though, my wife has done the same for me…although it’s an ongoing project!

  • Matt!! Totally stoked about the blog man! Thanks for postponing the launch so as to not overshadow my blog post too 😉
    I think if I didn’t learn from my failures I wouldn’t learn too much!! Haha. Seems like my failures are, by far, the most abundant source of learning I have haha.
    Thanks in advance for your wisdom ad insight! I totally expect to rolling on the floor laughing at various times as well!

    • Matt_McWilliams

      You’re welcome King Blog Breaker :) #DeadHorse

      I look forward to your awesome comments for sure. I learn so much from them elsewhere.

  • Dude!!! I’ve totally failed as well!! And I will in the future. Hopefully not today though.

    I think talking about your failures gives others the ability to be ok with failing as well. As long as you don’t keep failing at the same thing. :-)

    I do want to say that I don’t think you’re a failure. I think you’ve failed. But your failures don’t define you, they grow you and make you better. I dare say you have WAY more successes than failures. So if you were to put a label on yourself, you are successful.

    At least that’s the way I see it. So proud of you for getting this going!!

    • The Bible does that the righteous man falls seven times. He just doesn’t stay there: he gets up. Sounds like a good tweet :)

      • Nice! What if I’m at more like 700 times? 😉

        • Time to get a new pair of shoes.

        • Matt_McWilliams

          I think the Hebrew meant if you fall 7 times in the exact same place. That allows infinite falling in multiple locations…and time is a location. So there you go.


    • Thanks for saying that. He’ll come back and say he still thinks he’s a failure… We need to work on this guy a bit… lol

      • Matt_McWilliams

        How’d you know?

        One definition says a failure is: “an act or instance of failing”

        An “act” or “instance” is the important part. By definition I am in a constant state of that. And like I said…I am totally OK with that.

        It’s not an Eeyore mentality, but one of TRIUMPH!

  • My life has been hit with many failures. It seems that I learn things the hard way:
    1. Do something wrong
    2. Learn from it
    3. Try again
    4. Repeat steps 1-3

    I look forward to future posts here!

  • Well begun is half done.

    Awesome start, my friend.

  • Hunter

    Congrats on the launch Matt! Proud of you, who you are, where you have come from and where you are going. Good stuff my friend.

  • Great post Matt! I like the clean layout on your blog too!

    Have I found success learning from my failures? Uh, yeah!

    Although, I have to admit, just having the humility to admit my failure, stop trying to fix it, and not blame anyone else but myself, has also been a challenge sometimes.

    No matter what, we are fractured beings. We know that He tells us that. “our deeds are are nothing but filthy rags…”

    I think the real trick here is not to focus on the mistakes too much. This can get overwhelming, ya know? Acknowledge them, use them to change, and then move on to bigger & better.

    May God bless you and your efforts here!

    • Matt_McWilliams

      Wow. Fractured beings…something different about that word than “broken.” More descriptive perhaps?

      “I think the real trick here is not to focus on the mistakes too much.”

      Exactly! That is one of the selfish things I think I will get from this. I have always noticed that writing things out leads me to solve things quicker. Once I put it on paper, it’s like it’s behind me…for good.

      Then it’s time to move on.

  • Matt~

    Love the design and content of the site! Awesome first post, man! And you are no more a failure than any one of us. If none of us failed, we wouldn’t need to read, learn, or improve in more areas than just leadership.

    But we are all human, and, transparency serves everyone well, as we learn from each other’s mistakes as well as our own. Theoretically, that should minimize our own failures if we can learn from what other have gained by theirs.

    I can’t wait to read more content from you here. This is great stuff. Thank you, sir!

    • One word about the design. It reads “Matt Failing” at first glance. Should it be “Matt Forward” instead??

      • Matt_McWilliams

        Good one. Didn’t notice that. Version 2.0 :)

    • Matt_McWilliams

      Thanks Scott!

      The design was the easy part :) Writing…that is sometimes emotionally draining, but a whole lot of fun…and I learn a ton myself.

  • Yeah man, I’m with you on the failing part! We all do it, and it’s refreshing to hear someone willing and open to share theirs. I often think that we can learn far more from seeing someone’s failure and how they recovered than many other things. For one…it lets us know we’re not the only ones who screw up. (Failure has a great way of smacking you down with feelings/thoughts like that – you’re the only freakin one who sucks!)

    Looking forward to following you man!

  • A Bloger is born! Congratulations! Nice first post too. Funny, my post for yesterday was kinda similar. I called it I’m a Big Fat Failure. (I never feel appropriate about linking in a comment.) I believe that using your failures to encourage others almost makes them worth going through. I know that’s a stretch, but I like to encourage that much.
    Failure has such a funny conotation… as long as you recognize that it’s about having failed not Being Failed. I look forward to reading more from you!

  • Laura Johnson

    The sentence that struck me: “I have held trophies and awards with the same hands that have been handcuffed.”
    Can’t wait to read and see your contributions to the world!
    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Matt_McWilliams

      That was the hardest sentence to write by far. It just came out and I immediately said “Should I really share that?” And for a brief moment in time, I was taken back to the moment almost 10 years ago.

      I’ll write about it someday, but for now, know that it is not a metaphor. It really happened.

  • Chad Gill

    Humility! Those that can admit they are imperfect and then fight the fine fight against imperfection are those that will be blessed.

    • Matt_McWilliams

      Wow Chad. Long time, no talk.

      I hope all is well bud. Thanks for stopping by. Great words from you as well.

  • Hey Matt! Sorry for the delay in commenting. Soooo, I love this. I think this has the makings of a great blog! It’s funny because you said transparency isn’t natural for you but boy you’re good at it. And here’s the thing. I, and clearly others, view you so positively for it rather than viewing you as you may fear while putting words to screen. Keep going. Your words are inspiring and life changing.

    • Matt_McWilliams

      Wow. All I got after that Joel.

      OK I got more…2nd wind if you will.

      This comment, like so many, means a lot to me my friend. Thank you.

  • Matt,
    So cool you posted this, I just published my own post on my failure. Check it out – .

    Us failures have to stick together, so we can change the world.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  • Congratulations on starting a blog and being willing to share your failures in order to succeed. I wish you much success.

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  • charleston

    Great stuff man! The biggest failure is never trying.

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