Saying the F-bomb in Front of Your Mother

saying the f-bombMy mother is one of those women who does not curse. Ever. In, clearing throat, forty-something years I can only remember my mom saying one word she would consider a curse word.

We were at a little league baseball tournament and there was a coach berating his team during warm ups. Now, I know sometimes motivation comes with a rough edge, but his words were sharp and cut deep; things that should not be said to young children. Things that should not be said to anyone of any age.

After hearing one of his rants I looked at my mom and she said, “Yes, he is a real prick.”

My mouth dropped open because that was the first – and last – time I ever heard her say a word that she would consider a curse word.

Me, on the other hand, well…. I will admit, I dropped a bomb or two but not, that I recall, in front of my mother.

But I am not talking about that f-bomb. I am talking about the glorious, wonderful, often-dreaded-but should-be-embraced f-bomb of FAILURE!

Yes, failure. It seems people find it more repulsive than the other f-bomb.

Failure, although difficult during the journey is the most wonderful teacher. It is from my worst failures that I have learned the most and been able to succeed with strength.

You can perform a skill 100 times to learn perfection; or you can screw it up really bad one time and get there sooner. Failure is a wonderful teacher. It reduces us to our core. It eliminates fear because there is nowhere to go but up from there.

I do not like failing at things and I am my own worst critic. I have made some doozies in my time, so there are no stones being thrown. Some of my “finer” moments were followed immediately by the “Holy crap, I’m going to get canned for this, better pack that box now to make the walk of shame less painful.” And yet, they did not.

When I fail I beat myself up for failing more than what I failed at in the first place. If you understand that, welcome to my world! However; I have learned that once I let go of the beating myself up, there are wonderful lessons in failing.

Freedom – to let go of preconceived ideas and learn from a broader perspective.
Adaptability – learning to try something a different way.
Humility – nothing will put things into perspective like a great big screw up.
Humanity – we are all human, we all screw up and we can all move on.

I was talking to an executive the other day about interviewing. He said that he immediately discounts a candidate that only talks about their successes. The ones he is really interested in is the ones that talk about their failures.

He wants to know what happened, how it affected what was going on, how they responded, how they lead others and what they learned from it. Good interviewing tip right there!

It is not always about the failure, but what you do after that counts the most. Embrace your failures, share them with your mother!


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I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

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Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.


Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales and teams; transitioning or downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

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