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135: Gratitude and Failure

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

As the calendar turns its final page in 2022 and I settle in for a long winter’s nap, it’s fun to look back at some of the Talk Paper Scissors statistics from this year.

51 episodes

53 guests and co-creators

8 series and mini-series

6000+ downloads

1500+ minutes of content (25 hours)

Although the numbers help paint a picture of the year, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Not even close.

For me, it’s much less about the stats and much more about how good it feels to share conversations I care about. Getting to work with 53 people this year (many of whom I met for the first time because of this podcast) was incredible. Getting to dive into new topics that I care deeply about — from artistic expression to the power of listening to Indigenous type preservation to big emotions in creative living to magazine publishing — this year has been nothing short of magic.

And there’s SO MUCH MORE planned for 2023. I can’t wait to share some of the projects I’ve been working on that will come to fruition shortly. I’m also excited to continue collaborating and creating with great people.

Thank you, Talk Paper Scissors listeners! We’re a small and mighty community exploring visual topics in a decidedly non-visual format. Ha!

As final food for thought to add to your inspired holiday feast, I leave you with an excerpt all about creative confidence from a forthcoming article I contributed to for the RGD. In an effort to continue sowing seeds of confidence, normalizing decoupling Failure from our identities.

This feels like an ideal way to end my final episode of 2022 and bridge into 2023; with a topic near and dear to my heart that I will revisit often in the new year.

Here goes…

Making Friends with Failure

What stops us from being our most creatively confident selves?


Failure to perform. Failure to succeed. Failure to live up to the expectations we place on ourselves and others place on us.

Failure is relative: it can be big or small, drop in for a quick visit or stay for a while. And while Failure may choose to walk alongside us during our creative lives, we are not Failure. It’s establishing this healthy boundary with Failure – as a separate, external entity from oneself – that I believe is at the core of becoming more creatively confident.

It helps to define how you currently experience Failure’s presence. What does Failure look like? Sound like? Smell, taste and feel like? Understanding how you experience the sensations of Failure can help bring awareness when it pays a visit and you can reaffirm its separateness. A world of opportunities — brimming with greater self-worth — fills the newly-found space between ourselves and Failure.

But Failure is also misunderstood. While often seen as an enemy upon first meeting, making friends with Failure can allow us to grow in unexpected ways.

Once we’ve established a healthy boundary with Failure — acknowledging that it’s part of the process but not a fundamental part of our identity — we can welcome it with open arms, asking it to play with us in our creative endeavours. Failure becomes a co-creator, a confidant and a valued member of the team.

Making friends with Failure means that we’re exploring uncharted territory, open to whatever is on the other side. Breaking our explorations into small, low-stakes chunks, each with the opportunity to succeed or fail and then learn from either outcome, means that we are never only ‘as good as our last work’; instead we are the sum of all of our work and so much more. When we fear Failure to the point where we’re afraid to even try, we sell our creative selves short and stunt our growth. Getting curious, experimenting, trying, doing, observing, acknowledging, embracing, learning and growing results when we make friends with Failure.

When we start to unravel our complex conditioning and unlearn that ‘we’re only as good as our outputs’, we uncouple work and worth. We give ourselves permission to experience Failure, finding strength and quiet confidence knowing that we’re worthy because we’re divine human beings, irrespective of our creative pursuits.

Merry everything and happy always, dear friends. Here’s to savouring the last of 2022 and looking ahead to 2023!

Music: Happy happy is super happy yes by chien•ne errant•e is licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal License.

Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle

Episode Artwork: Canva

Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash

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