PUBLISHER - Failure: Learning and growing as a person


Pass on what you have learned. Strength. Mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. 

– Yoda, Star Wars VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)



The preacher talked about failure recently, referencing Abraham, the father of our faith. He could have used just about any biblical hero as an example. Apart from Jesus, they all failed, just like us.

But the mark of a man is not how many times he/she falls, but how many times he/she gets up. We can learn from failure.

My daughter is 6. She loves to win and hates to lose. She’ll cheat to win if necessary. I’m trying to teach her that it’s OK to lose.

The best sports coaches are the ones that can teach this lesson.

The best people are those that can grow beyond their setbacks.

Introspection is needed of our lives. We should often evaluate ourselves.

Many of what I deem as failures in my life were out of my control. These are not regrets, they are just life.

My father’s death, my mother being bedridden – what could I have done different to bring a different outcome? Answer — nothing. But I’ll always question my decisions.

Sometimes I see my very makeup as a failure. I’m an introvert, more comfortable at home by myself than in a room of people. I recently told a preacher friend that I’ve always disliked church socials. That was freeing and thankfully he didn’t bash me over the head with the Bible.

Add in anxiety and some obsessive-compulsive disorder and I’m pretty messed up. I’ve failed as a friend because of my “weirdness.” When someone hurts me deeply, I usually have no more use for him or her. But like the Yoda quote above, maybe I’m starting to learn from this weakness and can grow beyond it.

I should be growing. Like Frank Sinatra, I’ve took the blows …

In love, I’ve been rejected far more than accepted. I’ve been done wrong and hurt by those I love.

In my career, I’ve won more than 20 awards for writing, but more seconds and thirds than firsts. Failure? Yes, by the world’s definition.

After being promoted to publisher at The Chronicle, I gave up a side job – youth director at my previous church. I felt that job was something the Lord wanted me to do and I served for two years. During this time, I wrestled with whether God wanted me to be in vocational ministry. He answered “no” and pretty clearly.

The world defines this as failure. But God’s not through with me. I’m still teaching His Word and learning from it. I’m at peace and strive to be a better servant of God where He has placed me.

As publisher, the decisions I make affect not just my employees and their families, but all of you who rely on this newspaper for local news. It’s not easy. If we have a bad month, I take it personally, as a failure.

Each day I sin and fail my King, who forgives me by His blood.

Failure doesn’t define me. After I stumble, something else kicks in — perseverance, one of my best qualities. It keeps me fighting to do better and I’ve come away with a lot of wins in life.

Now on the home front, my wife and daughter say I do well, putting God and family first in my life. Still, I can always do better. They deserve the best of me.

God mostly gets the shaft, as time runs short each day. I’ve got to work on that relationship. I’ve got to make time for the one who holds my life together, helps me learn from setbacks and grow as a person, in spite of myself.


“When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
 When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?” – Jeremiah 8:4



Brian Whitmore is the publisher of The Chronicle. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. Whitmore can be reached at

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