Depersonalizing Failure | RTWOS EP 3 with Topsie VandenBosch – Shamelessly Ambitious Episode 128

Filed in Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Development, Podcast, Releasing The Wounds Of Success Series, Wealth Building — November 14, 2023

I’ve always believed that success and growth don’t always come when you’re “winning.” In fact, a lot of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned have come from “failure.” Not just failing, but learning how to fail well.

This perspective has helped me navigate the often challenging world of business and personal development. My conversation with Topsie VandenBosch, a fellow therapist and mindset & emotional intelligence coach and consultant, reinforced this belief and shed new light on the importance of embracing failure.

Topsie helps business owners destroy negative thought patterns & unhelpful behaviors that affect how they run their businesses. She accomplishes this by teaching leaders how mastering their mindset, managing their thoughts, and using emotional intelligence skills in their decisions to impact the way they lead themselves and their teams.

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Failures don’t happen to you; they happen for you.

You see, it’s about depersonalizing failures and recognizing that they are just facts. They have nothing to do with you as a person. When you’re able to take the personal emotion away from failure, you’re met with a perspective that is liberating because it allows you to view failures as opportunities for growth rather than as a reflection of your self-worth.

Shifting Your Perspective

In the RTWOS series episode 3, I share about a client who, fairly recently, experienced a significant financial loss. Instead of dwelling on the amount of money lost, I encouraged her to focus on what she had gained from the experience. This client listed out many lessons learned, the expertise gained, and the improvements she planned to make in her systems and communication. When I asked her if all of this newfound knowledge was worth the money she had lost, my client’s response was a resounding “yes, I would have eagerly paid that amount of money for this knowledge.” && I think this story beautifully illustrates the idea that failures can be transformative if we’re willing to shift our perspective.

One key takeaway is being intentional about how we view our failures. It’s easy to get lost in the negative emotions and self-doubt that often accompany failures, but by consciously choosing to see failures as opportunities for growth, we can extract valuable lessons and experiences from them.

Using Failure as Data

Topsie and I also discussed the concept of treating everything as data.

“You have to be constantly willing to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Be okay with it not working. && everything’s data because everything should not always work.” – Topsie VandenBosch

In business and life, not everything will go according to plan. HA, raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced your plan going to complete shit. 🙋🏻‍♀️ Same. Things often don’t work out as expected. But instead of viewing these deviations as failures, we can view them as data points. Every experience, whether successful or not, provides us with information that can inform our future decisions and actions whether that be how we can improve our systems, rethink a launch strategy, or create more aligned business relationships. I always say that you are the scientist of your own business and when we approach life with a scientist’s mindset, we become open to experimentation and unafraid of failure.

Fear of Failure

Let’s talk the fear of failure now. It can be paralyzing, right? It can prevent us from taking risks, trying new things, and ultimately growing. Let me reemphasize the importance of being the experimenter or scientist of our own lives and businesses. This mindset means constantly trying new approaches, measuring the outcomes, and being okay with the possibility of failure because ultimately, there is good from both outcomes. When we embody the willingness to experiment and adapt, we become more aligned to achieving success.

Need for Community

Topsie and I also talked about the value of community and support. We acknowledged that it’s easy to feel alone in the midst of our struggles and failures. But by opening up and sharing our experiences with others, we can create a supportive network that helps us navigate the inevitable ups and downs of life. Vulnerability is at the core of who I am and how I create connections in my business. There are going to be ebbs & flows, but opening up about the uncomfortable ones… even peeing the bed… creates a space where we can cultivate community. Conversations like the one Topsie and I had are so healing because they remind us that we’re not alone in our journey.

The gratitude for the healing power of authentic conversations about failure and growth I have is so deep. That’s why I was so passionate about creating the ‘Releasing The Wounds Of Success’ series, so we can have real & raw conversations to break the barrier, peel back the layers, and redefine success together. Realizing that failures happen for us, not to us, is an absolute game-changer in our personal and professional lives. It’s a reminder that we should never stop being the scientists of our own journeys, always eager to experiment, learn, and grow.

My friend, let’s work on embracing failure and learn how to fail well. This is a transformative mindset that can lead to personal and professional growth. When we depersonalize failures and treat them as data, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and experiences. Failure is not about us; it’s about the lessons we can extract from it, how we share our experiences with others, and how we can harness the power of failure to propel us toward success. So, the next time you face a setback, remember that it’s not about you, it’s about what you can gain from it.

xx 🖤


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Ash McDonald is a 3 time founder and multi 6-figure CEO. She’s a therapist turned business mentor that helps female founders scale their legacy with a psych-backed, human-first approach. She studied at the University of Northern Colorado where she received her BA in Sociology and holds 2 masters degrees from the University of Colorado Denver in Counseling Psychology & Sociology. 

Before stepping into full-time CEO, Ash ran a private practice where she served and helped patients for 4 years. During this time, she also provided consulting & business strategy to other aspiring private practice therapists. After closing her practice she continued her entrepreneurial journey in the network marketing space - successfully owning & operating two separate six figure companies. During her 7 years in network marketing, she spoke on stages in front of thousands, traveled around the world to consult with other business owners, and established herself as an industry leader. 

In 2019 Ash founded her online coaching & consulting business that she’s spent the last 4 years building into the empire that is Ash McDonald, LLC today. Best known for her therapy-backed approach – Ash merges sales psychology, therapy and strategy to help female founders create soul-aligned businesses and scale their legacy. 

She believes that being bold enough to build a business takes so much more than strategy and perfectly timed schedules. It takes tapping into your humanness, being willing to hold space for your dreams and the space for the people you serve, while addressing your own emotional intelligence, sense of safety and expanded nourishment. She believes that every woman is layered & individually unique and therefore requires a personalized & multidimensional approach of coaching. With this strategy, she’s successfully helped hundreds of women establish their brand identity and find their voice, build offer suites that are in complete alignment and scale their businesses to new heights. 

Ash McDonald is your coach's coach…or at least you hope she is. 

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