In the first week of my online microschool, Self-Directed Learning 101, I asked the teens to create “failure résumés”—vulnerable lists that share the goals they’ve fumbled, opportunities they’ve missed, and personal values they haven’t lived up to.
The point of writing a failure résumé is to see learning as a process of continuous experimentation, to combat perfectionism, and to experience a “growth mindset” and the “design process” (pardon the edu-jargon).
When I gave them the assignment, I shared with them a failure résumé I created from the perspective of 18-year-old Blake. Then I sat down and wrote a new one from the perspective of current (38-year-old) Blake—which, in the spirit of openness and vulnerable disclosure, I share below.
For the record, I define a “failure” as a big goal which I took seriously yet did not achieve. I don’t necessarily regret my failures; they’re often the most important learning experiences in my life.
- filling various unschool adventures trips (16 programs cancelled between 2010-2019)
- purchasing a summer camp (2016)
- starting an alternative boarding school, a.k.a. “hogwarts for unschoolers” (2015)
- maintaining an important business partnership (2010)
- starting a homeschool curriculum business (2009)
- fulfilling my work contracts with various seasonal employers (i quit many of my jobs without much notice from 2005-2010)
- biking across the USA (2020)
- hiking the te araroa (new zealand’s south island, 2019)
- hiking the pacific crest trail (mexico to canada, 2005)
- moving to germany for love (2019 & 2020)
- ending an important relationship in an honorable way (2013)
CREATIVE + HEALTH
- completing a 10-day silent meditation retreat (2019)
- kicking my sugar addiction (serious attempts in 2013, 2015, 2020)
- completing the NaNoWriMo writing challenge (2006 & 2009)