Day 1


What the heck is The Fail Feed?

The Fail Feed is the baby [parent] of Foreign Policy Interrupted, an initiative to amplify female foreign policy voices.

For the past few years, FPI has been mentoring and training some of the world’s brightest and most accomplished women to interrupt the conversations we have about that world.

But I (co-founder Lauren Bohn, a recovering perfectionist) soon realized that before we could do that, we'd first need to interrupt the conversations we tell ourselves.

We’ve heard it time and time again. We've received countless emails from high-profile, hugely successful and talented women (and men!): social media’s endless torrent of mediated, filtered moments of triumph and “success,” regularly throws them down spirals of self-doubt. Highlight reels have distorted our self-worth. We too often compare our insides to other people’s manufactured outsides.

Before we can meaningful contribute to society and live out our purpose, we must reclaim our self-worth. In short, we need to start getting real.

In that spirit, we want The Fail Feed to be a much-needed unfiltered space to share and feast in our vulnerabilities and failures. Rejection letters, fuck-ups, panic attacks, fears, tears -- let’s talk about them, let's share them. They’re not the opposites of success. They’re crucial parts of success.

Most of all, we want FF to be in service of you -- your work and your dreams. Tell us what you're lacking in today's 24/7 content frenzy. Tell us want you want to see and hear. Tell us what you want to learn.

To kickstart the fail feast, we’ll spend the next five days diving into one of the most underrated values: vulnerability. 
Brene Brown's TED talk on the power of vulnerability
What is vulnerability?
When I was going through a funk last year, propelled by a seemingly endless torrent of rejection letters from fellowships etc., FPI co-founder Elmira shook me and told me I needed to lean into vulnerability. Enter researcher and author Brene Brown, patron saint of "vulnerability hangovers." (Reply to this email and we'll enter you in a drawing for one of her fantastic books).

Quite simply, vulnerability is the courage to show up and show your true self when you have no control over the outcome. It’s the ability to say “I have no idea” or “I love you” or “Shit, I need help.” It’s moving out of your comfort zone in pursuit of something. And that’s what makes vulnerability so freaking hard. 

The gulf between what we want and how to get it/there can be big. Risk and uncertainty often lurk between. Risk and uncertainty are scary which is why, says Brown, vulnerability is associated with emotions we want to avoid: fear and shame. Few of us ever want to admit that we’re scared or embarrassed, let alone that we’ve failed. 


Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that the vulnerability born of failure is also the birthplace of joy and belonging. As writer Cheryl Strayed says, "The particularity of our problems can be made bearable only through the recognition of our universal humanity. We suffer uniquely, but survive the same way."

The first rule of The Fail Club: Commit to failing.

"Daring is not saying 'I’m willing to risk failure,'" says Brown. "Daring is saying 'I know I will eventually fail and I’m still all in.'"

Tonight's bedtime reading: We love this Andrew Solomon piece “The Middle of Things” on the topic (from the New Yorker) and the classic Rainer Maria Rilke poem he quotes:


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