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Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure Hardcover – May 1, 2011
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Smiley speaks openly of his failings "very few achievers want to show off their warts by acknowledging mistakes," especially when they're shameful or embarrassing--and what could be more embarrassing than telling the world you went to jail because you bounced checks for pizza?--but this is exactly what Tavis Smiley does.
Lest you think he's bragging about his time spent locked up, you find instead that this was the fall that taught Smiley the value of money: where he learned not only diligence when it came to spending and saving but learning how to manage his finances. A lesson he learned so well that he was in a position to purchase the building in California where his media empire is located without getting a bank loan. Failing up from check kiting to financial independence.
Learning how to see perceived failures in a way that rebuilds you and helps you go back to the drawing board is an incredible gift.
In Fail Up not only did he print some really personal missteps he did it in a way that shows us how he took them and turned them around. Smiley mentions his well-known firing from BET. I remembered when he was let go, but I never knew the story behind it.
After reading this book, I located some pictures I'd thought I'd lost which had stayed lost for a long time and for a good reason. The pictures represented a time when a major failure seemed to consume my life. The pictures were the before, and I have been living the after. In those pictures, I could feel the embarrassment and humiliation that that time represented for me. But in reflecting on Smiley's words, rather than see the failure of that time I started to see the ways that I failed up. I could see the ways I and my family recovered and rebuilt ourselves and our lives and to see this situation as what it was--the welcome mat we needed to reach our goals.
Smiley's book spoke to me. When you're trying to make your way there are things that come up that can seem catastrophic, but to think of these fiascoes as the best thing that could ever happen makes all the difference. In the midst of wrack and ruin, there is a ray of hope if you can fail up.
While I have no intention of being a leader on the level of a Tavis Smiley, I'm definitely a leader in my own small way. Fail Up has become a refrain in my mind when dealing with those seemingly crushing situations and even the everyday day ones that may look like disaster on the surface.
Rather than failures I'm earning my "success scars." Rather than setbacks my own failings are "opportunities to grow."
This book reminds us that we all fall down. It's what you do afterward that counts. You can fail or you can let Tavis teach you how to fail up.
In this warts-and-all memoir, Tavis owns up to a number of embarrassing doozies, ranging from getting arrested for writing bad checks to padding his timesheets at a job to graduating 15 years late from college because he flunked a course the second semester of his senior year.
Tavis has not only survived but flourished mightily. In fact, the brother proves himself here to be humble enough to air his most-humiliating faux pas so they might serve as cautionary tales for anyone contemplating following in his footsteps.
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to see that aa an opportunity to do better. He tells us what happened, takes responsibility for his actions and show how he has
achieved success . It is not what happens, it's what you do to get over it. Lessons learned.
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." ~Samuel Beckett
The Seller's price point was extraordinary.
The book is small with larger print, so you can read it in one sitting. I would recommend this read as an essential. Enjoy, as I did!