How We Made Lessons Out of Losses



Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because he was ‘too short’. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a news anchor because of her ‘emotional instability’. Ellen DeGeneres lost a prime-time sitcom show because her character ‘came out’ at the age of 39. We’ve all experienced failures, but we all can turn them into lessons.

NYMAC Member – Charlotte Gardiner

  • At 17 years old, I packed up all my things, left my small town, and flew to Toronto to start a Fine Arts degree at a university I had always dreamt of attending. I thought I was doing what was right, what I was supposed to do, and what was expected of me by friends, family, and society. I quickly realized it wasn’t for me and within three short months, I had moved home. I felt like such a failure. What I realize now looking back, is how much I learned about myself through that experience, and how that experience led me to my true passion: social work.

NYMAC Member – David Awosoga

  • Track has been a staple in my life for the last 3 years. One would think that training for over 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, 10 months a year, would produce more than a mediocre freshmen university season, including a last place finish at the conference championships. Yet that is exactly what happened to me. These disappointing results crushed my confidence as an athlete and really challenged me to reconsider what made me fall in love with the sport in the first place. I’ve been working hard to turn these failures into positives and though some days are harder than others I feel that I have made some big strides (pun intended).

NYMAC Member – Brianna Boyse

  • Safety has always been paramount for me and how I navigate through life. Being a risk-adverse person, my desire for safety kept my feet on the ground instead of going on an important trip. I felt so much regret! Anxiety made me say “no” when “yes” may have been best, and hours of joy and happiness were lost to this illusion of protection. My ‘failure’ had been letting my fears withhold me from experiencing life in all its glorious grandeur. I’m overcoming this by embracing uncertainty, along with the messy adventures that occur when you aren’t solely focused on surviving- but rather on thriving. Anxiety ended up being a blessing in disguise, as it has shaped me into a highly empathetic, thoughtful and imaginative person!


We all experience failures – even three inspiring and successful NYMAC members. It’s what we do with those failures, what we turn them into, that makes us our best selves. Lessons, not losses.