Redefining Failure: A Conversation with Sara Blakely


Is fail a four-letter word in your vocabulary? Do you define yourself by your failures?  Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, offers a redefinition of failure. She states, “Failure for me became not trying, versus the outcome.”

Our perception of an event and what we think the event means in relation to our self can determine how we cope. How would your life be different if, like Blakely, you could learn to celebrate the fact that you tried, rather than be shamed by a failure? This mind change could be instrumental in more effectively dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression.

One of our greatest weapons against failure and its mood busters is changing our thoughts.

The other important factor in Blakely’s ability to reframe the definition of failure is her father. We all need someone that encourages us and helps to reframe thoughts. Sometimes a professional counselor can fulfill that role. One of the ways a therapist works with clients is to assist in identifying positive affirmations that are meaningful for the individual. These affirmations, as well as the reframing of thoughts, help to change the way you think, define what we want, and give direction for change and growth. Fail no longer has to be a four-letter word.

Written By: Ann Sheerin, MA