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Lessons Learned: “Learn to Fail”

“‘We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure—all your life…One of the reasons mature people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.” –John W. Garder  


Who knew those three little words would have stirred my biggest fear, impact, and lesson I am currently enduring. I come from an upbringing rooted in southern tradition. First impressions mean everything. Always address those above you by Mr./Ms./Mrs. and sir/ma’am. Every time you walk out of the house, you are a constant representation and reflection of who you are, where you came from, and what you are striving to become. In the words of the honorable and notorious Papa Pope and every grandparent I’ve ever met, “You have to be TWICE as good to get half as much!”   TAG1TAG2


Images: chrisevans.xyz

So with those key proverbs embedded in me since the beginning of time, I know that there is a standard that I not only must meet but also go above. Failure is never an option. Failure has always been perceived as an ultimate let down. In today’s society, we are amongst a generation striving to expand the vision of entrepreneurship and independence. The greatest common thread these visionaries and innovators have seemingly been willing to give in terms of advice is the exact opposite of what I have been trained to understand. Failure is necessary. Seriously, there is an entire community that has devoted and centered itself around finding comfort in the concept of failure. Crazy? Yeah, I know. Now before you look at me like I’ve walked over to the dark side and lost my mind along the way, there IS a method to their madness. In order to succeed by first failing, you have to look at the entire picture. You can’t just fail and sit in the abyss of disappointment and remorse, you have to get up and proceed to the follow-up action. It’s a bipartisan combo. Once you fail, you have to get up and keep it moving like you did it on purpose! 


Photo courtesy: LogoTV

The key to your success is when you do fail, take the time to fully analyze where your shortcoming came from, ask for help, and take it all as a learning opportunity. Learning should never stop, or your growth with surely be stumped. I used to always hate asking for help because I thought of it as a weakness. I now realize that not asking for help is the way of thinking of a fool. Asking for help shows strength because yo are willing to push your pride aside to make yourself BETTER. Besides, if you ask not, you have not. I go by that proverb every single day because what is the absolute worst someone can say? No? Even then, if they say No then you keep asking until you get a yes or find someone who will be your yes. But that is another lesson for another time. With that, failure is okay as long as you follow up with an understanding and added wisdom from that failure. Its not the end of the world and success is just one step closer.  Was their ever a time where a failure was necessary to your success? What did you learn and how did you go about it? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it! Follow me on Twitter @MeganDeniece_

Megan McLean: This is my HBCU

Megan McLean, CEO, The Learning Tree Tutorial and Enrichment Program and Innovo Scholar is participating in ImpactU, the 10-week undergraduate summer incubator.

Megan McLean is an Innovo Scholar and Johnson C. Smith University sophomore. McLean will incubate her business, The Learning Tree Tutorial and Enrichment Program through the 10-week summer-long ImpactU college incubator program. McLean will share her insights with Smith Institute regularly through her “Lessons Learned” posts.


  1. Carlton Davis says:

    Well Deserved!!

  2. This is fantastic! Well done Megan!

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