I’m going to speak with a panel of esteemed colleagues at a conference in London soon about failure in the social tech for social change sector and in the past week I’ve had cause to reflect on what I think about failure in the tech sector, and personally, and how I want to be handled when that is my experience in both arenas. When we first presented our panel discussion on failing fast and failing fair here in Toronto, I talked about being intimately familiar with failure. I have for much of my adult life worked in health promotion as an educator, I get personally and professionally how hard it is to succeed at any self-driven, significant behaviour change. And I’ve been thinking about how we stigmatize people around how they are dealing with, coping on the daily, with failure or struggling to deal with their shit. And that’s it for me. If you are dealing, if your are in it and struggling, taking responsibility for your shit as it comes up and impacts those around you, then I have respect for that. If you know you’ve got shit going on and you are maybe coping in less than healthy ways, but you’re talking to your friends, your seeking wise counsel with a therapist, or your version of that in your life, then I have respect for that process. Where do people get off stigmatizing the people who are struggling to cope and learn from failure (or failings), who are working on a self-reflective practice that owns their shit and takes responsibility for impact? There are few women I know, myself included, who aren’t dealing with some kind of trauma from their youth, most of us from our families, so it’s deep, difficult stuff but we’re dealing with it honestly, and openly, sometimes messily, but dealing with it. The richest times I share with those friends is when we sit and talk about the dealing, how it’s going, what support they need, and mostly, how they are functioning and negotiating bringing their full selves to the table with family who would wish them to be quieter, less “confrontational” - nicer, less real. So I guess what I’m saying is I’m getting more and more comfortable with the struggle, with failing and learning from that, because I learn more from the failure than I ever have from success. If someone has got a problem with my struggle, well, I’m willing to let that be their shit and I wish for them a fast and fair fail.