When You Fail…

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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And you WILL, there are a few things you must do to move forward, not backward. How do I know? I am still learning to do them everyday when it comes to life, family, parenting, and marriage!

Failure is inevitable. Because you’re a human being. When imperfect human beings choose to do life with other imperfect human beings, the perfect storm for mess-ups, mistakes, and colossal failure materializes.

I used to take failure really, really hard. Years ago, when my wife and I would fight, or I would lose my temper with my kids, I would treat it as if the world were ending and there was no margin for second chances.

This is not to say that I didn’t take the mistakes I made seriously, or that I don’t now, because I do. I learned then, and I continue to learn now, the value of sincere apology and repentance. I just stopped allowing failure to wreck an entire day or week. I stopped treating mistakes like they were going to end my family right then and there. Yeah, I took it that hard!

When you and I fail the people we love the most, we can either sit in our mess and allow it to defeat us, and be convinced that we will never be any better than the mistakes we’ve made, or, we can rise up, punch the failure square in the nose, choose to overcome it, make amends and move forward.

Here’s what I’ve learned to do over the years. Mind you, I will never stop learning to do these things when I fail. If you’re also still learning, then you and I are in good company!

Lick your wounds.

Take a moment and lament. Feel regret over the choice you made or the words you said. It’s okay. In fact, it’s human to feel ashamed or sorrowful. Allow yourself to cry over the damage you caused or the hurt you brought about. Find a quiet spot to be alone and lick your wounds. You need to do this before you can start over.

Get up.

You have a few hours, maybe a day (max) to lick your wounds and then it’s time to get up! Pull yourself together, pull yourself up, and get moving. Find your children, look them in the eye, and apologize. Wrap your arms around your husband or wife and genuinely apologize for your failure. If you won’t get up, you will never get moving! If you won’t get moving, failure will hold you down concrete blocks on your feet.

Own your failure.

The most important, humbling thing you can do is own the mistake you made. Early on this was difficult for me. I am a first-child so growing up, my way was always the right way, and my perspective was the right perspective. It was tough to concede defeat, even when I knew I was wrong. But, restoration and resolution cannot begin until the failure is owned. That’s the wise thing to do. If you continue to shift the blame to your spouse (or, God-forbid, your children), you’re foolish. The healthiest thing you can do is own your failure.

Move Forward.

After you’ve owned your failure, move forward. Years ago I read an article by John Maxwell talking about failure. He talked about how to successfully fail. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? His point was that everyone fails, everyone screws up, and everyone says or does something they don’t mean at some point or another in their life. When we fail, we have two choices- we can either allow the failure to destroy us and cause regression, or we can use it to propel us forward, and grow. That’s called forward motion. That’s what it means to fail forward.

Chances are, if you’re like me, you’re reading this and thinking through a few moments of failure you had this past weekend, or even this morning. Maybe you made a mistake that is weighing heavy on your heart. Why not start the week off right by finding the person you wronged, your spouse or your children, and apologize?

If you don’t you can expect the cloud that has settled in your mind to stay put. You can expect that nothing will change. But, if you decide to do something about it, then you can expect to move forward and grow. Isn’t that worth it?

Have you messed up lately? Who in your family do you need to apologize to? What is stopping you?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.