The “F” Word


By: Erin Wimmer, Teaching & Learning Librarian for Eccles Health and Sciences Library

Most of us were cautioned against using the “f” word when we were growing up. Some of us may still feel squeamish about it in adulthood. And it’s almost never advised in professional settings.

But why? It is part of our lexicon. Part of who we are and how we get things done. It’s the 21st Century and I’m advocating that we reconsider the “f” word.

I am, of course, talking about failure. What did you think?!

No one likes to fail. It is rough when something you try, something you poured valuable time, money and effort into, does not work out the way you anticipated. But perhaps that is exactly where the problem lies.

When a new product, project or service produces the result we hoped for, there is no incentive to review what contributed to the achievement. No need to analyze the road to success, to see if anything could be improved moving forward. Failure, however, requires this reflection and often leads to a better, stronger, even more sustainable outcome than we could have anticipated!

This is why I am attending Strikethough. To understand that everyone fails. To learn how to fail productively. To develop a culture of exploration and inquiry in libraries that allows us to try things that just may not work. To leverage failure to work for me.

Rather than fearing failure, let us embrace it. Let us learn from our setbacks, reflect on our process, and always be willing to try, try again. Let us learn the “f” word, live the “f” word, and, eventually, come to love it.

Learn more about Strikethrough and register for the workshop!