Another day. Another failure.

I Am Failing Every Day

Embracing the power of consistent failure

Ellen Goodwin
4 min readAug 11, 2023


I am a failure.


I am failing Every. Single. Day. This is not a deeply held secret. I’m weirdly, proud of it.

I was brought up to hide any and all failures. To refrain from speaking of them in proper (or perhaps, improper) company.

For right now, though, I’m a failure.

And I’m ok announcing that.

In April, my husband bought me an Arbor Day gift (Arbor Day is always the 4th Friday in April. If it’s not on your calendar, it should be.)

I believe it’s the best holiday of the year. You celebrate trees. You can plant one or do something nice for the trees in your world. There are no specific foods attached to the day or defined traditions.

Usually, there are no gift-giving obligations, but I celebrate a little differently and believe in tree-inspired gifts, or at least gifts of some kind.

For Arbor Day 2023, my husband bought me a pull-up bar. Obviously, this was something I had broadly hinted about. While it really had no connection to Arbor Day, it was as good of an occasion as any to give it to me.

He gave me the bar because I have decided to be a person who can do a pull-up.

I want to be that person who can jump up to the bar and pull myself up with seemingly, no perceivable effort.

“Oh, this? I do pull-ups every day. Sometimes with a cocktail in one hand.”

As of now, that has yet to happen. Thus the ongoing failure.

I have taken the steps that will ultimately get me to success. I bought bands to wrap around the bar to assist me; without them, I would just be hanging from it and looking silly. I have a wooden box to stand on to grab the bar. I ordered a 12-week program designed to get me to my first pull-up.

Day by day, I am doing what the program tells me to do.

Today it was four sets of four different kinds of pull-up progressions. (I did pull-up grips, chin-up grips, neutral grips, and fake pull-ups from a suspension trainer.) None of the efforts were Instagram-worthy. Or, really, worthy of any photo…



Ellen Goodwin

Productivity Consultant, TEDx Speaker, Podcast Co-host, Author of DONE: How To Work When No One Is Watching. Learn more at