Living with Failure

Many times, success does not come easily. You try something, and it fails. You try again, and it fails. Over and over again. It is easy to become discouraged. But you have to be committed to trying again and again. You have to be bullheaded in your commitment.

That one characteristic separates a true innovator from others. True innovators never give up on their vision. Thomas Edison lived with multiple failures when inventing the incandescent light bulb. Norm Larson lived through thirty nine failures when inventing WD-40. Each failure illuminates a different nature of the problem so that we can better imagine the solution.

Jami lived with failure when figuring out how to empower students to tell Dayton’s story – over and over again.

She started by working with one of her star students. He was to be the lead writer and develop a band of other writers. That didn't work. The next year she formed a special team of students called the blog squad and gave them the space and time to write, mentored by a volunteer who was a corporate media specialist. That didn't work.

The story of Dayton needed to be told because there were so many exciting things going on. But everything on their website was stale and dated and she had no writers.

But then one day she was listening to a presentation about an event that a team from the Design Thinking class had put on for elementary students. One of the team members was a young student she didn't know well, someone who kept quiet and lived in the shadows of the school. But she noticed something special in Bevin’s work.

Jami began to explore Bevin’s gifts by asking her to do some design projects for her. Then she learned that this young student wanted to write. Working with a corporate partner, Bevin was trained up as a professional writer through an internship, and the school gave her a class credit for her writing. The student grew in confidence and then began to train other students.

She was able to build the student writers team that Jami couldn't.

And the stories began to flow.

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