Growing Through Failure


Last Updated on February 22, 2023

Doro Bush Koch and Tricia Reilly Koch

Remember being a kid and measuring yourself against the wall, marking the measurements over time? Maybe you’re still doing that with your children and grandchildren. There’s a certain delight in seeing the upward progression. It’s a solid marker of change, something obvious when most of our transformation has happened on the inside.

Not all growth is linear. In fact, most of us lose a little height in our later years! What really matters is that we continue to grow in other ways, in our body and spirit.

Too often people confuse growth with achieving success, even though it’s actually from our mistakes that we grow the most. When something’s easy on the first try, we remain unchanged. Maybe happy for a few moments, but no different than before.

But when we fail? That’s when the magic happens. We’re forced to think in new ways, to expand our field of vision. In the face of defeat and difficulty comes true growth. We might lament the time we spent on something that didn’t turn out, but there’s no such thing as wasted time or effort. So-called “waste” is the best fertilizer for plants, and it’s a gift for our growth.

Sometimes people get stuck on wanting things to look good. Humans like praise and crave acknowledgement. But it’s important to remember that there is no one kind of input that provides everything we need. Living creatures require variety. Plants need beautiful sunny days, but they also need the skies to gray and the clouds to let loose with rain.

People are no different. Even if we wish for every day to be beautiful, we need watering, too! What educators are teaching our kids and grandkids now about

“growth mindset” reminds us that even those dark days filled with clouds and rain are performing a service.

As long as we remain open in our mind and heart, we can soak up nutrients, in whatever form they come. And then we get to wait and see what blooms.

If You Would Grow — Shine the Light of Loving Self-Care On Yourself
by Daniel F. Mead

If you would grow to your best self

Be patient, not demanding

Accepting, not condemning

Nurturing, not withholding

Self-marveling, not belittling

Gently guiding, not pushing and punishing

For you are more sensitive than you know

Mankind is as tough as war yet delicate as flowers

We can endure agonies but we open fully

only to warmth and light

And our need to grow is as fragile as a

fragrance dispersed by storms of will

To return only when those storm are still

So, accept, respect, and attend your sensitivity

A flower cannot be opened with a hammer

Growing Bolder contributors Doro Bush Koch and Tricia Reilly Koch are sisters-in-law who founded the wellness company BB&R, Bright, Bold and Real over a decade and a half ago with a very clear goal: to share with others what they’ve learned about mindfulness and holistic living with the intention that everyone begin to live their best life. Learn more about their retreats, workshops, courses and popular Health Gig podcast at

This article is featured in the September 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.

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