Recycle, Revise

Successful Failures

Some time ago, I had the chance to interview, Lindsay Hadley, a personal friend, and a rockstar in the non-profit world. In the interview, Lindsay shared with me some of her insights on how to find success in “failures.”

Lindsay Hadley
Lindsay Hadley

I met Lindsay Hadley in 2011 and was immediately impressed by her drive and humble confidence. She has spent her life in the service of others and the ripple effect has been astounding.

For example, In September 2012, Lindsay served as the Executive Producer of the Global Citizen Festival. With an audience of 60,000 on the Great Lawn of Central Park, New York, and a worldwide media and broadcast reach of over 2 billion people, Lindsay helped raise $1.3 billion in new funding for the world’s poorest communities.

As successful as the Global Citizen Festival was, Lindsay’s first fund-raising concert (just a few years prior) was not a financial success. Coming home from the event, Lindsay wondered, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe I don’t have a right to be doing this…clearly I wasn’t enough.”

But in that moment of self-deprecation and doubt, Lindsay realized that the work she was doing was not about her, it was about the people she was trying to help. She then endeavored to change how she measured the success of her event. “Because when it wasn’t about me, there was more truth in the way I could look at it. And I could see all the great things—like the hundreds of volunteers that got involved, the incredible amounts of media that we garnished, the awareness that was generated that we couldn’t even truly measure” (for example, this video and article are an example of something that she never would have been able to measure or foresee).

Lindsay went on to say this beautiful quote about our “failures:”

“Your failures can be a part of your ultimate process of success if you but allow it to be…you can never fully see the good that you do—the impact that you make in the immediate—and you shouldn’t try to measure things that way. When you’re doing the right things out of love…then it will ultimately be a success in the end. I just believe that so much.”



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