Fail It Forward to Success

Posted on October 15, 2012

Loser!Ever feel like you’ve misplaced your keys to success? How about the students you lead? Even with all the emphasis on student success in schools today, many teenagers wrestle with feelings of failure.

Like some of the students in your class or organization, I felt like a failure. In elementary school I struggled with a speech impediment and couldn’t pronounce the sounds associated with the letters F, G, J, K, L, R, S, V, Z, Ch, Sh, Th, and related constant blends. What’s more, in third grade my teacher had a private conference with my parents and asked how I passed the previous grades without being able to read.

And it’s not as though I outgrew these learning challenges. When I graduated high school my SAT scores were so low, no college would accept me. I had to take Development Studies and pass all those courses to get accepted into college on probation.

Yet through it all, I learned an amazing student success principle. In fact, this success principle is not just for students. It’s a key to success we can all apply:

Student Success - Adversity to Advantage

Even though academics were a significant challenging, I graduated college with cum laude honors and finishing my Master’s degree with summa cum laude honors. By the way, much of this success is owed to educators and advisors just like you who strategically invested in my life. So keep doing what you’re doing because what you do makes an incredible difference!

If you or your students need a bit of inspiration today, here are two videos you will enjoy. The first focuses on individuals who allowed their greatest struggles to produce their greatest successes. The second is about a teenage girl who allowed her greatest adversity to become her greatest advantage.  

“People fail forward to success.”
—Mary Kay Ash

“I’m a better person because of Type 1 Diabetes.” —Kelsey Julian


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