You Cannot Fail!


A little over two years ago I left Austin, Texas for a move out to my current home here in California. Before leaving I stopped by Austin Presbyterian Seminary to say good-bye to the students and staff who had been so supportive of the spiritual direction work I had done there over the years.

What I remember most from that last visit was a brief talk with Jackie Saxon, the Vice President of Student Affairs. She asked how I was feeling about the move.

“I feel both excited and scared”, I replied.

Jackie said, “Excitement and fear are two sides of the same coin. They go together. That shows your goal has heart and life. If you felt no fear, neither would you feel any excitement.”

“You’re right. I just don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. I don’t know if it’s going to work out. I’m going where I feel led, but it all seems so uncertain.”

Jackie took hold of my shoulders with a firm, yet compassionate grip, looked me in the eyes and said these words that still ring in my ears as prophetic truth: “Hear me. You cannot fail! It may not go as you have planned it, but that is not failure. Whatever happens is the bridge to your next adventure. You cannot fail!”

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What would you attempt if you knew that even those inevitable missteps and sidesteps were all ok? What if what seems like failure (when things don’t turn out as you hope and plan) is actually the bridge to your next adventure?

What if you could not fail? What adventure would you go on? What change would you make? Who might you become?

As we enter 2014, I encourage you to live as if you were enrolled in a school where there is no failure, only learning. The school is life, the curriculum is what is present in your life right now, and the Teacher is Spirit/God/The Universe, who is collaborating with you for your highest good and the well being of all concerned. With that understanding, what would be a wholehearted step forward for you, an adventure worthy of your precious energy? Knowing that you simply cannot fail, what will you do?

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10 Responses to You Cannot Fail!

  1. Jazz says:

    Ahhh, Scott, I do miss your presence in Austin. This came to me via a friend’s FaceBook post. Beautifully stated. One thing I will do? I just did. Signed up to receive your blog posts!

  2. Dana says:

    Thanks Scott. That is a beautiful philosophy and a beautiful post! Thanks Herb for putting it on Facebook!

    • scott says:

      Thank you Dana for taking the time to read it and for posting a response. Wishing you all the best!

  3. Jennifer Benes says:

    Looking forward to more words of reflection.

  4. Sarah says:

    Reading your essay as I ended my day was just what I needed. The “buzz” of my move wearing off, my old dream still for sale, I have felt some failure in that I am holding this space of not knowing. Thank you.

  5. nancy mccranie says:

    This is a great story! Dang, I love that Jackie Saxon! And I love you, too, Scott. I’m doing a series at work called: Being Brave. This week was The Courage to Begin. And next week is: The Courage to Fail. And it’s not really failure…it’s the bridge to your next adventure. Great! And thanks.

  6. Thank you for this reminder! A great way to start the day!

  7. Hannah says:

    This reflection is such a great reminder of walking in mystery, not knowing and yet knowing all will be well.
    Thank you friend

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