Responses to Rob’s “Failure Resume”

Rob’s essay, My Failure Resume  struck a cord with several last week. Below are some of the responses we received from the MTI Community.

I have just finished reading your essay ‘My Failure Resume’ and it hit hard. The level of self-reflection necessary to conduct an internal evaluation such as this must have been tough and, honestly, not something I think I would have been capable of until now.

I think people these days get caught up in the ultra-positive mindset of ‘reach for the stars’ and ‘don’t look back’ mentality. Maybe, myself included, what a lot of people really need is to sit themselves down and take a cold, hard look at what they’ve done and what they want to do and think about how the decisions that they’ve made in the past are preventing them from reaching their current goals.

A common phrase is ‘what’s meant to be will be’ but all this phrase is, is an escape from taking ownership of your actions and recognising a failure when it’s staring at you in the face – something I am finding myself do more and more.

I’m in a point in my life where there are about to be a lot of big changes and having a clear head before taking on the next round of challenges is necessary if I want to achieve the things I want.

After reading your failure resume, I believe it’s time for make to write my own before I enter this next stage in my life and all I can say now, is thank you.

I can’t thank you enough for this.  I’m sitting in a hotel room working for an agency (Diplomatic Security Service) that is, for lack of better phrasing, the little engine that could….but won’t.

When I saw the headline today, it immediately struck a cord.  I reflected on the meaning and finally sat down to read the article and it floored me.  I served as an officer in the USCG for good nine years and always felt out of place.  I was an early CrossFit koolaid drinker and swore by it.  When I made up my mind to give SF a go, I was fortunate to meet a couple of 5th group guys at a CrossFit seminar.  They quickly instructed me to look up military athlete and start following your programing.  I still have the email between us when you graciously sent me the first version of the SFAS selection plan.  Long story short, it worked…well.  I passed easily at age 35 and was on top of the world.  My mistakes came when I got my current job and failed to complete the Q.  I regret it every day.

I’m finally getting to where you are now.  I am using those (and many more) mistakes to find what I have always been looking for.  I really want to thank you for boldly sharing your story.  It’s a poignant reminder to keep reaching and not falling into the trap of settling.

You probably know that you have saved lives.  On the battlefield and the the windowless offices. I used to run a USCG CF affiliate and lead loads of classes but realized your mission direct approach is the way things should be.  Because of you, I have made some of my closest friends and (you) helped renew a passion for health and fitness eventually help themselves.  Not 2 hours ago, I was speaking with a no shit old timer/war hero who told me :”Mistakes are our classroom…”

Thank you for what you do, your service, humility and leadership.  There is an army of people that owe you a huge debt of gratitude.  I look forward to following your lessons for a long time.  Please let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you.

Thanks for such a great piece in my inbox this morning, very inspiring and a testament to your professionalism.  The message of “the grind is all” is also well-received.

As a former collegiate strength coach/sports med guy who came up roughly during the same time frame as you, I’d also like to express my appreciation for MTI’s programming – I well remember the temptation of unnecessary complexity and gimmicky elements that too often derail the science.  Your material has truly set the highest standard in the field and my team members love it.

Thanks again, please keep up the great work!

We’ve corresponded a few times and I’ve visited the gym, though Charlie was running the session so we haven’t personally met. There isn’t a great way to post comments on your site (good thing!), so I just thought I’d say kudos for sharing the failure resume, especially the stuff about relationships and marriage. If more men had your candor about failures specifically in that venue, I think we as a culture would be much better off in a myriad of ways.
My wife and I are actually in the process of listing our home in Dallas and, pending successful sale, trying to buy one in Jackson to move our young family there, so I hope to meet in person some day soon. I can’t pretend to know anything about you personally beyond this article, so no idea if you have a faith, but my prayer is that your note might help some other men avoid a few mistakes and be that much bolder in their lives as well.

Thank you for your authenticity in sharing your resume failure. It has encouraged me to do the same. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your articles more frequently the last 2 months. You are a huge inspiration to me as a fitness coach. The failure resume was very valuable to read as a young coach to learn from the mistakes and successes of others as I am in the beginning stages myself.
Macey Hickox
P.S. Man my legs are sore after 16 400m sprints this morning as my husband and I are trying for a spartan sprint with your obstacle race programming. Thanks for that! Some of the speed workouts I’ve been substituting with hill sprints since Spartans are on very variable terrain.
Have a great weekend, thanks again for all you do!

I just finished your Failure Resume essay. That was ingenious. Something i would not have thought to do, but will now. The perspective i think that can offer anyone willing to do so i think would be invaluable.
I’ve been following MTI for a long team, mostly readership. I have yet to buy into a plan, but will be attending Air Assault next year and will more than likely buy that plan from you guys.

Read through “My Failure Resume” between taskers today.  Just wanted to take a second to say thanks.  I’m mid-30’s, recently Navy separated, wife pregnant w/3rd boy due in April, condensed physical therapy doctorate program starting in May, tight finances, and ton of other real life gnarlies that seem to take too much time and energy.  Generally terrified of the next few years, but have also never been this motivated or capable.
One of the most valuable things I’ve found to keep me on task in my grind is good insight from the guys who have gone before (originally typed “old guys”).  “My Failure Resume” is impactful and useful.  I’m sure you got plenty writing it.  I got a lot reading it.  My goal is to clear as many trails as possible for my boys and any others who come behind.  You’ve been clearing trails and it’s very appreciated.  Keep grinding.

Just wanted to take a moment to drop you a line and say thank you. I have been a LONG time follower of you and your programs for years. The failure resume is something I have thought about and wrote down in short form here recently. Glad that we can get it out there and learn from it. My only comment, and I see both side of the argument, is that I’m glad you stuck with your content and didn’t jump on with the box mentality. I have brought many colleagues over from boxes and they love your programing.

Keep up the amazing work.

I have been following your website for years now, and yesterday I read you article on “My Failure Resume.”  It gave me a lot to think about; about, my own failure.  I often wonder where I would be if I took the road not taken.  Unfortunately, I would never know.  For the most part, I can put that out of my head, but I also have a lot of days where I live in the past, preventing me to not enjoy the present.  In fact, very seldomly do I enjoy the present.  Many days I feel like a hamster on the wheel, or Groundhog Day.  Even though, I managed to realize quite bit in my life, including starting a new life in the US and succeeding in most of my goals, I still can’t shake the feeling that somewhere along the way I have lost my way and my passion.  I feel stuck and lost.

Honestly, under different circumstance I think we could have been friends.  Just like you, I’m an introvert and I have always had a warrior flame burning in me.  Due to some bad advice, I back out of the military, but I took a LE way.  Now, many years later, I learned many things about myself along the way, and learned a lot about the world.  But I have also made mistakes.  I got married out of loneliness and had a child.  Even though she is a great person, I am stuck in a loveless marriage with a person that I have nothing in commune.  Just like you I have found someone else in my life and I’m on my way of making your mistake number “4.”  I often wonder if in a big scheme of things losing my son is worth it.  But also over the years a bake a provider only.

Anyway, the article gave a look into your soul, if you want to call it that.  This statement: “These days, I’m hesitant to travel to teach a course to a unit without first vetting the students to ensure they are ready for this high level of a course. And many times, I’ve decided they weren’t and turned down the business. I didn’t want to waste the students’ time and the unit’s money teaching a course many would not gain from,” made me realize why I start reading your posts.  It confirmed me how humble you are and honestly you should be proud of it.  I deal with a lot of people daily, and Sir, being humbled and not chasing money, it is such a dying thing.

Thank you for the great article.

Rob – Thank you for sharing this.  I could see myself in so many of the failures you shared, not because I’ve lived the same life (I’m a 32 year old woman with a newborn baby, married, live in Texas, etc) but because failure is a human experience & the threads of failure tie us together.  Ultimately, all our failures share immense similarities.  I may try to write something similar.  I see the value.  Thanks for the idea & example.

It is a little after 5 am here in Okinawa, Japan and I just read your “Failure Resume” article while I sip my coffee in preparation for my morning workout.  Thank you for sharing that with all of us.  I think I will do the same and write my own.  But, I have a warm start as I share some of the same failures as you.  Today, that article hit me particularly hard.  I need to stop making excuses, change some things, and own the past in an effort to have a better future.  I am about to turn 39 next month. I keep telling myself I am getting old and fat.  I can change one of those things.  My fitness level has been relatively high and I keep leaning on that crutch while my waistline has grown.  As an active duty Marine, a company commander for that matter, I need to work on looking the part more than I have.  (There is a lot more to this, but I am trying to fit this email in the 8 minutes it takes for my eggs to boil.)  But really, I owe it to my family to take care of myself so I can be around as long as possible.  I too wish to be fortunate enough to live near my two young boys when they are adults.

I’ve been a follower of your work for some time now and often get a lot of value out of the knowledge put out on the website, especially the Quiet Professional stuff.  I recently read your failure resume and found it very inspiring.  I’ve been in an interesting professional quandary as of late and needed to read something akin to that.
Just a quick synopsis of my career: I’ve been a professional Firefighter for 13+ years and a National Guardsman (Infantry; combat deployed) for 10+ years.  I’ve consistently put myself into “the grind” over those years by way of changing departments, volunteering for OCS and subsequently commissioning back into the Infantry with the Guard, pursuing my degree, taking the promotional exams and making rank in the fire service. This has somewhat alienated me to peers who I leave behind and constantly put me back into the “novice category” for my respective positions.  I don’t mind it because it keeps me humbled and hungry for improvement. It does however make my transition more difficult as I’ve often felt the interpersonal relationship struggles working against me.
I too feel the sting of my previous failures and regrets while on my way toward professional development. I too may have done a few (or perhaps a lot of) things differently; but I know I’ve been at least true to my own ethos and beliefs and will continue to move along the path I’m on.  So, in closing, thanks for sharing your story.

Good Morning Sir,

I read your article this morning and just wanted to say thank you for sharing. It struck a chord for me and reminded me to remember my Failure and Successes and most importantly to focus on the important aspects of my career.
I’m a law enforcement officer for a municipal city in Southern California and am currently applying for a lateral position to a neighboring city of much better standing. I fell victim to a specific supervisors practice of writing people up when they’re applying out as a selfish unspoken method of retention and it’s caused great stress; However, the background investigator is aware of these practices from the this agency employs and is continuing me onward regardless.
Your thoughts and opinions reminded me to try and avoid the negativity, stay professional and and just keep working hard so, sincerely, thank you.

If you haven’t yet, read Rob’s original essay here: My Failure Resume 


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