A Word about Failure



flickr, Rebecca Nicole Montana

When it comes to digging yourself out of a hole,
excellence is an excellent defense.
But failure takes you deeper.

Failure stretches your edges.
Excellence takes you deep within a narrow pool,
but failure grows your breadth.

Excellence makes you an expert at something.
Failure makes you strong at humanity.

Here’s why:
After the failure – you get to see that you’re still alive.
Because you’re still alive, there is hope.
Because there is hope, you can try again.
Or, you can choose to move on.

After the failure, you get to see how the world responds to you.
This clarifies things for you.
Those who are still next to you can be counted on.
Those who have fled are not able to go deeper in their relationship with you.
Do not chase them.
Trust that their response is a gift,
because now you know where your relational edges are.

If no one remains, lean even more into your relationship with Spirit.
As a matter of fact, do that anyway.
Because Spirit is omnipresent.
You can trust that.

Your strongest relationships will be based on Spirit.
Because Spirit is ONLY about the real and eternal.
Like Truth. And Love.
Real love. The kind that transcends personalities.

After the failure, you get the opportunity to deconstruct what happened.
You get to look at your part and see if there is learning there.
You get to choose to learn from the learning.
When you choose to learn from the learning, you get better.
And that is Wisdom. More about that in a sec.

After the failure, you might fail again.
But, now you know how to use failure to work toward your advantage.
And so, you just repeat.

Did you notice something here? Repeated failure is the pathway to excellence.
So fear failure less. Because excellence is not possible without it.

There are all kinds of excellence.
You can be excellent at an art form.
You can be excellent at making croissant.
You can be excellent at computer programming.

But you can’t be excellent at everything at once.
Because there isn’t time.
Excellence requires repeated rises from failure.
And repeatedly rising from failure requires time.

So choose carefully what you decide to rise from.
Otherwise, you may end up making the mistake that Stephen Covey (blessings, sir) talks about.
You climb the Ladder of Success, only to find it is leaning on the wrong wall.

Anyway, back to the idea of time and excellence.
Since there isn’t time to be excellent at everything – you have to make yourself comfortable with the idea of strategic mediocrity.

You can develop excellence at some things.
You can get very good at others.
But there isn’t time to be excellent at everything.
That means you have to choose.
Or not.

If you choose, you get to decide to shape your excellence plan around what matters most to you.
If you don’t choose, if you allow the world to choose for you,
Then you will be really good at a whole bunch of things that mean nothing to you at all.

So choose.

And, as life unfolds, and challenges you,
As your failures show themselves to you,
Don’t forget that you have chosen what matters most.
That way you won’t get distracted and end up living a meaningless life.
And your regrets will be fewer.

One more thing about failure –
It’s not your successes that bring you to your greatness,
It’s your failures.

Here’s why –
When you succeed, there is not much left to learn about that thing.
You have completed that particular life lesson,
You know how to do it and do it well.

Because failure stretches you,
All learning comes from failure.
All WISDOM comes from failure.
At the very least, you learn what NOT to do.

In fact, I might even posit that Wisdom is not possible without failure.
Because success doesn’t bring it,
Wisdom is distilled from the lessons of failure.
Thus, without failure there can be no WISDOM.

So, the next time you try something scary, remember this:
The ONLY things that can happen are,
Or failure, the pathway to all Wisdom.

Seen this way, you can’t lose.
Strike that, you CAN lose.
You can decide not to try.
That’s what failure looks like.

Love, Jen

P.S. Here at Life After Tampons, we are women who choose to use failure as the touchstone of forward movement. If that sounds like you, please join us:


flickr: Rebecca Nicola Montana

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The Way of the Wave-Maker: The Life After Tampons Creed

flickr, Wimena Kane

I’ve been working on a Life After Tampons Creed. Here is what I have so far. I’d love it if you let me know which ones really speak to Beautiful You AND then added your own ideas in the comments section.

I’ll take the best of all of them and build us something really Kick Ass!


The Life After Tampons Creed

Here’s a Hot Flash:  If the last time you thought about yourself someone was crawling out of your uterus, we should talk.

It’s really super that you’re all washed up. Now we can get dressed and go DO something.

If you think “it’s too late,” you’ll find lots of people who agree.

With respect to “what’s next?,” picking something is better than picking nothing at all.

Dying is a bigger deal than failing. But giving up is the biggest deal of all.

Find yourself. You already know where everyone else is.

You’re the only one in your way. If others are there, it’s because you invited them.

Time does not guarantee wisdom. Hard work does. And hard work takes time.

More will be revealed. But probably not today. Get busy anyway.

Who you used to be is less interesting than who you are becoming.

Nobody completes you because nobody is ever complete.

Become an anarchist. Overthrow yourself.

If you’re stuck, change your mind.

Gratitude is sexy.

Don’t worry if the parade passed you by. Those weren’t your clowns, anyway.

If you can’t live your own damn life, why would you be equipped to manage anyone else’s?

Mattering matters.

Don’t make a difference. BE it.

If the past is too painful to remember, stop remembering. (You may want to change your mind about that, by the way.)

It’s more strategic to be happy than to be unhappy.

Smiling helps.

By now we should all be over the fact that it’s not fair that we judge each other by how we look.

We are all too busy thinking about ourselves to give your belly fat much attention.

If you want to be fit, movement is more effective than discussion.

Fear of change is a signal you’re on to something big.

Own your big beautiful roar, but use it judiciously.

You can be bitter, or you can be better, but you can’t be both.


P.S. If this Creed speaks to Beautiful You, please join us here. We are the Difference-Makers you’ve been waiting to meet.

photo: flickr, Wimena Kane

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So, As It Turns Out, My Mom is Going to Die

Bonnie Hippie

I know, it takes my breath away, too!

Mom got sick just after Thanksgiving – breathing problems – and a few days later we learned that she has late stage lung disease.

Not to be too irreverent, and, because I know my mom will laugh when she reads this next part, but she’s got some pretty shitty timing.

Thoughtless, almost.

You see, I have a business to run.

And this was “supposed to be” by BREAKOUT year. This was supposed to be my year to SHINE. This was gonna be the year my modest little company, Life After Tampons, transitioned into a GLOBAL MOVEMENT.

As I say, pretty damn inconvenient.

Of course, nobody knows how anything is going to work out, but I feel pretty certain that this is STILL going to be my year to shine.

This is the year that I SHINE as a caring, devoted, and loving daughter. This is the year – if we even get a year – which I devote myself to making memories as well as building my business.

This is the year that I teach my children, who are relatively inexperienced with loss, how to live comfortably knowing that loss is on its way. This is the year we practice BEING HERE. This is the year we really celebrate every moment, every gathering. This is the year we INSIST on happiness.

The future, when it comes, will take care of itself.

As for me, I personally know WAY too much about loss and bereavement. My alcoholic father died when I was just 11 and my own daughter when I was 30.

If I wanted to, I could create a whole life story around death and loss and why I can never succeed in life because people are always leaving me and blah, and blah, and blah, and blah.

But what I KNOW to be true is that I get to create my own story about my life and everything in it. It’s no accident that the tag line over at my site is “Quit Your Bitching. Change Your Life.” (It used to be “You’ll Thank Me for Kicking Your Ass,” but I got bored with that one. Plus, I figure you can kick your own ass anyway.)

Not that that’s a very strategic long-term plan for happiness.

You see, one of the things my mother definitely modeled for me is that We Are Women Who Rise. All these years later, it turns out that that is the connecting thread that weaves together all of the women in our Life After Tampons community, too.

So, my mother is facing a terminal disease. And I am a woman who rises.

I also run a business. And this year, more than any other, I’m going to have a lot less control over my time. (What we’re really talking about here is control over my “free” time, cause a lot of it is still dedicated to my husband and children – just like you, probably.)

Now, here is where I must include the “mother’s disclaimer statement” and aver that, of course, my husband and kids are part of my dream.

But the reality is that women give the first two or three decades of their lives to the dreams of others, and, for most of us, it is only at midlife, that we at long last get a modicum of time, money, and energy to build something just for ourselves.

Except that stuff keeps happening.

And we keep getting pulled away.

And, if you let it, a sense of hopelessness will descend upon you and you will convince yourself that there is no point in wanting your very own thing.

Cause life is just taunting you, right? It gives you just a wee little taste of what might be possible and then reality RIPS IT ALL AWAY.

You can have that version of your story if you want it — I’m through with it so it’s up for grabs.

The thing is, my mom is going to die, but for now she is in really really great shape, all things considering. And, as she says, NONE of us knows what the future holds.

So we keep on living. We keep on trying. We keep on keeping on because the alternative is a living death. We may still be here, but we allow our dreams to die.

And we allow ourselves to lose our enchantment with life.

I will soldier on because she taught me (and expects me) to do just that. And cause she’s doing it and she’s the one who’s sick, after all.

My mom is a Realist. I am too, but I’ve always been the Realist with a Dream.

You can be one, too.


Here’s how it’s gonna be:

We’re all going to look out for my mom, and we’re gonna snap and gripe and bitch at each other on occasion. We’ll probably talk about each other behind our backs. But we’ll also laugh a whole lot until we kinda sorta pee a little bit in our pants.

Blame that on the babies.

Eventually, my mom’s disease will catch up with her, and she will die. (So will I, by the way. And, you know what, love? Your turn is just around the corner, too.)

My ego wants to be famous. My Higher Power wants me to be generous.

And so I will lead and serve and serve and lead. I will do everything I can to love up the people I love, and that includes my community at Life After Tampons as well as my wonderful family.

This may or may not be our “breakout year.” But one thing is for sure, my Life After Tampons community “gets it.” I know that I have built a community of generous, loving, funny women, and you will show me the way.

If you are serious about taking that turn in your own life, if you are serious about building your own personal Revolution, you’re just gonna have to set all your excuses aside and build the damn thing.

And then have the humility to accept the pace of growth that your personal life circumstances will allow.

There is enough. YOU are enough. This day is enough.

Embrace it.

Love, Bonnie’s Daughter, Jen

P.S. If this piece touched you, we have more. Let us know how to reach you and we’ll send you updates.

Photo: Mom, at Swann’s in Piney Point, MD.  Isn’t she beautiful and fun?

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The Thing I Don’t Want You to Know about Beautiful Me

flickr, Sara Williamson

It’s official. I’m a Mall Walker.

Somehow (probably somewhat related to overeating and under-moving), I put on a bunch of weight these last five years.

I can point to lots of reasons, of course.

  • Menopause?
  • Stress?
  • Depression?
  • Medication?

All of these, none of these, plus — to be a wee bit honest — there was also that overeating/under-moving thing.

Maybe that was more of a problem than I thought.

At any rate, all of that is changing.

It’s a process, to be sure. And I’m directing all of the LAT Tools that I have developed over the past few years of working with thousands of you to this new project of mine.

If you’re curious about this process, here’s a good description: The Live Your Song™ Coaching Curriculum

A little while back, I asked you all what you wanted help with and like a ZILLION of you talked about wanting to feel good in your body again. I thought maybe we could do it together.

If you want a partner in your own process, let me know. If enough of you are game, I’ll put together an easy way for us to help each other. To be clear, this would be a workshop for BEGINNERS, or others (like me) who once were pretty fit, but lost their way.

Sign up below for the “Get Fit with Jen” interest list.


Yours in Health,


P.S. If you want to invite a friend or two along on the journey with us, send them to this link: Get Fit with Jen 

photo: Flickr, Sara Williamson

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