Professional Speaking Failures and Wins

In December I had a colossal failure in my professional speaking career.

Wait, “colossal” isn’t big enough.  It was like (COLOSSAL * 10).  It was huge, embarrassing. Honestly, I spent the next three or four weeks wondering if I should even try and speak professionally again.

I know many of you who have heard me speak are thinking “geesh, it couldn’t have been that bad.”

Trust me, it was.  (I won’t go into why, or where, or who….)

In contrast, I just got back from a busy trip in Baltimore/Boston, where I spoke seven times.  And in my HUMBLE opinion :p, I hit it out of the park each time.

The feedback I got from any of the seven reassured me I am doing the right thing.

When I’m on the road, before I leave each morning, I pray that I will touch someone’s soul that day.  In each of the seven, I did.  And I’m proud of that, and humbled and grateful to be able to do it.

I remember a trip in the last year where a career professional heard me speak a few times and she finally asked “are these real stories you are telling?”

YES, absolutely!  It’s a crazy world out there, and job seekers are full of amazing stories that seem unbelievable.

When I meet with you I get the stories, and I see the pain, and the hurt, and the despair, and also the joy, and the other feelings.

I fail.

And then I win.

And I fail some more, and I win a few more times.

But I keep on trying.  I keep on doing.  I keep getting up, and moving forward.

Please, tell me you are doing the same.

No matter how many failures you face.

No matter how many times you feel like giving up.

For the weeks and months of self-doubt… please do not give up.

A failure in one group might be a learning experience for another group.

A failure somewhere might be what you need to keep you sharp and aware for the next opportunity.

Get up, move forward, and don’t despair.

If I didn’t give up I would have missed out on my chance to help encourage, inspire, lift and help hundreds of people last week.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people might be waiting for YOU to get up again.

12 thoughts on “Professional Speaking Failures and Wins”

  1. I can assure you this message was an answer to one of my prayers as I have been mulling over giving up on ALOT of things in the past few weeks.

    Its good to know that some of the people that we see out in the world as ‘making it’ still have the same daily struggles with getting it done as those of us still trying to break through.

    Thank you for this post.

  2. Jason, fantastic message. Someone once mentioned to me in conversation, “If you don’t give me a chance to fail, how can I succeed?” I have since passed this very message on to others, and I use it in coaching. Boy oh boy I think you have inspired many. Thanks for posting.

  3. Great words of wisdom, Jason. We can all use this pep talk once in awhile whether we’re employed or not.

  4. Must share NRWA’s quote of the week:

    “There are no failures, just experiences and your reactions to them.” ~ Tom Krause

  5. Jason, thank you for ‘succeeding’ by writing about your experience — that takes courage when it would be so much easier to slide over it & let it go. For several years, I had a sign in my office that read: “Failure is a state of mind.” and “if you’re not failing, you’re not succeeding” (Tom Peters). I’ll share your post with my clients! Thanks again!:)

  6. Jason – thanks for sharing your human vulnerability with us and for so consistently presenting a clear, POSITIVE message. You rock…

  7. Peter Bregman, blogger for the Harvard Business Review, says in “Why You Need to Fail” (

    “If you have a growth mindset, then you use your failures to improve. If you have a fixed mindset, you may never fail, but neither do you learn or grow.”


    Harry Potter author J. K. Rolling famously said: “It is impossible to live without failing at something. Unless you’ve lived so cautiously that you might not have lived at all.”

    Brene Brown talks about “The Power of Vulnerability” in her June 2010 TEDTalk:

    Brilliant post, Jason.

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