You’re Not a Failure if You Give Up. No, Seriously.

PSST: Failure isn’t necessarily bad; it gives you insight

Felicia C. Sullivan
8 min readApr 5


Photo by Trần Long:

I’m preparing for yet another move — this time to an overpriced mistake of an apartment that will buy me time to get my life in order before I leave for Bakersfield come May. The apartment is one of those joints where you’re met with a “chore list” and are penalized for exhaling. Case in point: I was fined $60 before I even rolled in because my cat is 18 pounds instead of the allotted 15.

Welcome home, kitty cat!

When I feel blue, I pull up snaps of my new home. I imagine padding up and down the stairs in socked feet. I picture myself fixing butternut squash chili in the 1940s kitchen. I see myself strolling. Taking up yoga again and all the things. Fantasies sustain me amidst the dread of moving into a home that resembles a totalitarian state.

But I digress.

I’ve achieved great things in my life — I’ve had two books published, I have a master’s degree (which means a lot to me even though it means nothing to the entire planet), I survived a terrifying childhood without turning into Ted Bundy, I had the fancy jobs with the bold-faced titles, I helped people. I’m no longer a raving asshole — though I still rave on occasion, but it’s not asshole in nature. It’s important to catalog what you’ve done, regardless of whether it’s minor or major because it reminds you that you did good, kid.

Your achievements are a reminder of what you’ve accomplished and the possibility of what else you can do. Yet, all too often, our great works are dwarfed by the minor cuts and major failures: the book that flopped, the work that dried up, the people helped who no longer return your phone calls, your inability to stroll and flounce.

It’s like reading one cruel comment amidst all the praise and feeling your bones break, one by one. But I promise you humans break fewer bones than heavy machinery do. You will not crack and crumble from the inside even if it feels like it. But what will happen is the ache and shame and tears — when they quietly subside—and how they make room for information.

My second book was an epic failure compared to my debut. I expected the slew of reviews, interview…



Felicia C. Sullivan

Marketing Exec/Author. I build brands & tell stories. Hire me: My Substack: Brand & Content eBooks: