What is The Failure Club
How does The Failure Club Work?
What are Examples of Failure Club Projects?
What is the Story behind The Failure Club?
How do I join the Failure Club?
How do I watch the Failure Club show on Yahoo?

What is The Failure Club?

The Failure Club is support group of individuals  inspired by the desire to push beyond their perceived boundaries.  We believe that the “fear of failure” is one of the biggest limitations on our potential as human beings.  The Failure Club compels you to confront and overcome that fear on a daily basis throughout the course of your year-long project.  Along the way, the word ‘failure’ is literally broken down and new words and associations are formed using the same letters – air, life, fire, real, lure.  With this newly honed ability to view the possibility of failure on your own terms, you have the potential to take on practically anything you can dream up.

In The Failure Club, members learn to defy the fears associated with ‘failure’ by pursuing seemingly impossible goals that they set for themselves. From the outset, failure is not only a highly probable outcome, it is the desired outcome. Only through embracing the reality of failure can its’ societal stigmas be stripped away and replaced with an inspirational alternative.

Thomas Edison famously experimented with as many as 10,000 materials before discovering the filament necessary to complete the light bulb, and consequently, illuminate the world. Had he feared or avoided failure, we would still be stuck in the dark. Literally. To the contrary, he celebrated each ‘failure’ as another definitive step towards ultimate success.

In much the same way, The Failure Club embraces failure as a critical step on the pathway to authentic fulfillment. All too frequently, ‘success’ is what people are willing to settle for when they are afraid to risk failing at something truly life-defining. To give 110% and still come up short means that one has discovered the actual limits of his or her capabilities – a rare and inspiring accomplishment that is worthy of genuine celebration.

The Failure Club process will rewire you to look at ‘failure’ as acceptable and even fun.  It is only then that one discovers that most of life’s limitations are arbitrary, self-imposed, and based on fear.  And when we overcome that fear, we blow away our self-inflicted limits, and we will each achieve results that appear miraculous.

How does The Failure Club Work?

To participate, one must propose a Failure Club project that is then approved by the other members (each group is limited to approx 10 people who ideally are already friends, colleagues, etc). To qualify, a Project must meet these criteria:

  • It must be something that is within the realm of possibility to achieve, but yet has a high probability of failure within the 12 month time limit
  • It must be something that, if accomplished, would be an inspiring project for you and others who know you
  • It should not involve a personal relationship
  • see current and past projects here

Once approved, you have 12 months to achieve the specific, measurable goal that you define. You are expected to play full out and provide regular updates to the group on the obstacles you encounter. If you manage to accomplish the goal you set out, then the primary lesson you walk away with is that you underestimated your capabilities, and you are invited to choose a more ambitious project for the following year. By design, you should be faced with the challenge of continuing to pursue your project on a daily basis despite near certain failure. At the end of the year, the club celebrates those who have come to view ‘failure’ as an inspiring playground of possibility.

Some members continue to pursue their projects, and ultimately see them succeed. Others have discovered that the project they choose was not really suited for them, and have subsequently discovered their true passion. It is all a journey, and members are invited to continue with new projects every year, as many times as they would like (although one may only have one project per year).

Failure *IS* the intended result, and the more times you hit up against it, the better.

What are Examples of Failure Club Projects?

The following projects have been taken on by members who set out to achieve these goals within a 12 month time limit. The only common elements are the audacity of the dream and the courage to put in 100% despite overwhelming odds.  Most projects failed in their designated year, a few succeeded, and a few more have succeeded well after the time expired.

What is the Story behind The Failure Club?

A favorite quote of ours extols: “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”  Living ‘on the edge’ means constantly pushing the boundaries of what we believe to be achievable.

In Dec 2003, a friend told us about how she had performed on stage in a holiday choir, something she had wanted to do her whole life, as the result of a dare with her sister on who could ‘fail’ first.  Gunil Chung and I were captivated by the idea of a support structure that used positive peer pressure and friendly competition to overcome the fear of failure, and we quickly gathered 9 friends for the inaugural Failure Club in 2004.

The Failure Club was created as a transformational, life-altering, book club-like support group to provide a formalized structure in the pursuit of mastery in ‘failure’.  Since 2004, we have been valiantly trying to fail, and failing.  Along the way, there have been some pretty amazing projects and we are constantly amazed by the people who step up to the plate to stare failure in the face.  The club has always spread word-of-mouth, and as such, has been limited to a relatively small group of brave participants.
In 2006, I met Morgan Spurlock, and since then, he has steadfastly supported the vision of bringing this club to a national audience.  That particular Failure Club project (dating back to the first group in 2004) is now live, and can be viewed at screens.yahoo.com

How do I join the Failure Club?

Read about past and current projects and fill out an application here.  You will briefly describe yourself and your desired project, including why you believe there is a high probability of failure, and what would open up for you if you no longer feared failure in any area of your life.  If there is not a Failure Club in your local area, we will help you start one.

How do I watch the Failure Club show on Yahoo?

We are following 7 members of a Failure Club in NYC and each week, you can see a new web-based episode on Yahoo Screens.  New shows will be released Friday’s at 1PM ET/10 AM PT).  You can watch the webisode anytime that is convenient for you.

11 Responses “FAQ” →

  1. tdougherty

    November 19, 2011

    This is great! Nice job guys!

  2. Okay,, I want to start a pod in West Central IL,,, along the tri state area of Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. anyone interested?


  3. Jacqueline

    November 27, 2011

    Awesome overall idea! when I am done with school, I will contact you guys for a quite a project. =)

  4. Funny – looks like I made my own failure club project over the last 2 years as I’ve tried to find what really fits me. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to try different things I thought I wanted and felt like a real loser when the repeated lesson was (uh…IS) that I am still trying to find something that fits – but limiting myself to options that don’t press my face right up to my own fear as I step to the. Time to let people see me and really go for it. Thanks for the kick in the butt.


  5. Eric Wettstein

    December 3, 2011

    I want to leave my very own personal quote for you guys:
    There are only 3 types of people in this world:

    Those who have failed to try,
    Those who have tried and failed and
    Those who have failed and tried again!

    Eric W.

  6. Barbara Sher has been doing this sort of thing for about 25 years. Glad to see others take up the challenge.

  7. My 12TH grade science teacher said it best, ” Life is like a football field. Some people are just lucky and there goal is just on the other side of the line. The rest of us have to run the full length of the field to make our goals.”

    Are you a runner?

  8. Is there a failure club in Brooklyn, NY or Manhattan, NY?

  9. my project that I want to is becaome a artist that gets paid to do what I love to do


  10. Bonnie Blue

    March 11, 2012

    Hey y’all, I don’t know if you check this often, but the Failure Club webisodes are having some serious problems loading unless it’s the most recent show. I can’t watch all that often and often devour 3-5 episodes at a time. Y’all have been a huge inspiration for me. I wish I could keep up with the stories better. I don’t know if anyone else is having a similar problem, but when I click on an earlier episode, the site just sort of freezes up. I have tried from a few different computers to no avail. I really like keeping up with journies- can we get it fixed?

  11. Does failure club have an official webpage?


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