“I still fall on my face sometimes and I can’t color inside the lines. I’m perfectly incomplete. I’m still workin’ on my masterpiece.” Jesse J.


As the story goes, Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. During this process, a well-intended colleague said, “Tom, give it up. This will never work.” Gritty Tom replied, “Dude, I’ve discovered 9.999 ways NOT to make a light bulb. Why stop now?”

Grit is a fundamental component of success in all areas of life. Grit involves staying the course despite failure, adversity and progress plateaus. Too often when a goal or task feels challenging or uncomfortable, we back away and/or give up. Life limiting, what-if thinking reinforces our fear of failure.

“What-if I look stupid? What-if people laugh at me? What-if it never works? What-if I fall on my face?”

Thomas Edison’s light bulb illuminated the world. His grit helped him kindle a flicker of hope despite numerous failures. I imagine his what-if thinking embraced a light at the end of the tunnel.

“What-if I learn from my failures? What- if I take myself less seriously? What if I am more than the sum of my failures? What-if I feel afraid and do it anyway?”

In the spirit of honoring Tom and improving my grit, I proudly present my Beautiful Failure Resume. It is complete with typos, incorrect dates and subjective experiences of reality. Ironically, reflecting on and writing my failure resume gives me the feeling I have finally turned on the lights.


Beautiful Failures Resume
Laurie Boussom, LISW-CP, FVHB

Early Formative Failures: 1968-1980

  • Believed Guerrilla warfare was being fought with actual gorillas (It was around the time Planet of the Apes was released.)
  • Asked my parents why the Youth in Asia were such a big deal (euthanasia)
  • Prioritized boys over my girlfriends
  • Believed I couldn’t “do math” based on a teacher’s callous comment
  • Cheated to pass geometry
  • Failed to resist pressure to drink and try mood altering substances
  • Believed I controlled pretty much everyone’s feelings and behavior.
  • Failed to understand that all emotions have a place and a purpose
  • Thought I had all the answers (I didn’t even know the questions.)

Educational Failures: 1979-1999

  • 1979: Kicked out of college for academic ineptitude
  • 1994-1996: Dropped college algebra 7 times, passed the 8th
  • Failed to take many courses me as I thought I wasn’t smart enough
  • 1997: Graduated with honors, University of Michigan, Master’s of Social Work (ranked #1 in the U.S, at the time) and continued to believe I was an educational faker.

Relational Failures: 1994-2008

  • Failed to allow space and time to get to know and appreciate me
  • Perpetuated the belief that I was worth less if I didn’t have a boyfriend
  • 1996: First divorce from a wonderful, chronically depressed guy
  • 1999: Second rebound divorce that was doomed from the start
  • 2007: Survived my worst breakup EVER from a sick, twisted psychopath
  • Often fail to be the kind of wife, friend, daughter, sister I desire to be
  • Frequently fail to appreciate my personal evolution and progress

Professional Failures: 1979-Present

  • Prioritized money over professional passion
  • Allowed anxiety to dictate the terms of my professional life
  • Worked feverously to evoke validation from people I didn’t respect
  • Often didn’t know what I didn’t know until it smacked me in the face
  • Failed to appreciate people who guided and encouraged my development
  • Failed 10 years to leave an unhealthy, punitive work environment
  • Doubted my skills and ability to successfully create my own business