Failing Forward

by Lillian Roth

Success. As a perfectionist, I grew up thinking success was achieved based on the amount of A’s on my report card, trophies on the shelf, and votes on a ballot. I often placed accomplishments before relationships and struggled to see the bigger picture of my purpose and efforts. This battle of perfection and peace is impossible to win, and only adds to the pile of self-doubt that our society seems to feed off of. Over the past three years, I have had both significant accomplishments and undeniable low points. The try-hard in me wants to label these low points as “failures,” but I have recently embraced the mentality of “failing forward.” To me, failing forward is becoming better because of your mistakes, learning from your errors rather than expend the effort trying to defend them and cover them up.


This year, I have come to redefine success. Success is turning hurdles into spring boards, discouragement into empowerment, and unmet expectations into reinspired goals. We all have our own circumstances, hardships, and struggles that make failing forward difficult and often uncomfortable. The world we live in doesn’t like to see the bounce back, and often anticipates the second downfall. But when you surround yourself with an inspiring Girl Gang, readjust your purpose and learn from your missteps, failing forward becomes easier.


After losing my reelection for SGA President, the “forward” aspect seemed like an impossible next move from this failure. I didn’t know how to channel my passions, lift up those around me, or make an impact without the title to back me up. The funny thing about titles though is that they’re only as impressive as the people who wear them. The actions you take, the words you speak, and the people you learn from are a true testament to a leader’s impact, regardless of any title. With the incredible women in my life, I took a step back and realized that this election clearly wasn’t victorious, but it was successful. Successful because I connected with students from different circles and unique backgrounds, sparked conversations surrounding mental health awareness and sexual assault prevention, and developed a deeper passion and commitment to women empowerment on campus.


I was frustrated by the lack of resources or platforms to show women they are not alone in being overwhelmed and certainly not wrong for feeling undervalued. I wanted to create an outlet that helped women on campus see their highest potential and understand they deserve more. With the help of some insanely supportive girls in my life, we started Truth + Dare.


Our team shares a common vision of empowering women and of breaking through the ridiculous standards set for us, and also those set by us. Today marks one month since our launch, and I could not be more thrilled with the feedback we have received, posts we have written, and goals we have met. The women of Truth + Dare inspire me everyday and I am confident that these successes will only continue to blossom. The truth is we must lean on the women in our lives to seek purpose and potential as we dare to challenge expectations and fail forward. Truth and dare, no option.

Lillian Roth