How Failure Made Me Who I Am – with Monique Jarrett

23 Apr 2019

‘Success is something you are taught to strive towards, and failure is more or less the end of the world, or at least thats how it felt in high school. We are always constantly told that you mustn’t fail, that you must succeed in everything you do.

Do you ever feel that sometimes everyone around you has never failed the way that you have and that they are constantly pushing you to strive to succeed? I find that we never really get taught how to fail, how to accept failure, how not to think less of yourself for failing and that only success is acceptable.



Well, here’s a lil story to show you that what you’re taught about success and failure isn’t so terrible and can actually be a good lesson in life. 

Now imagine after years of trying to find that one thing that makes you work harder, something that makes you want to do better, something that makes you feel like you could truly succeed in life, to then be told “no, this is not a career, try something else, What else do you like.” 

I like the arts, no actually I love the arts and I have worked too damn hard for too long to quit because you’re a professional and you say so!” 

To this day that’s how I wished I replied to the careers lady who sat me in a room and told me the one thing that I was passionate about was a waste of time and that it’s not a lucrative career. At that time my highest marks in my mock GCSEs were in creative and arts based subjects, so I automatically thought “Crap, I’m screwed!” 

From a very young age, since I could wiggle on my butt I’ve been dancing, doing gymnastic stunts, painting. I was a huge arts and crafts fan and in my teens and I loved going to an arts company that ran projects over school holidays. I had a plan that if I couldn’t create art as a living then maybe I could do dance somehow or study music, or maybe build a career in my new found favourite class at the time, photography. To be told in one go that the arts is not a career is like being told my whole life of aspirations and dreams were useless and a complete waste of time. It was like being told I had already failed at something I hadn’t even started yet.  

They asked me what else I liked doing except the arts and all I could think that made me happy was travelling. I loved flying, ending up in a new country, learning a new culture and adjusting to new surroundings. I guess thinking that studying tourism would be just as exciting was naive of me but I didn’t want to quit and feel I had failed again. I won’t lie I hated every minute of studying at college and university –  I mean wouldn’t you if you felt you had to study a subject you had no ambition for? 

To make matters worse, after finishing uni I went out to join the big world of employment, to only be told by another superior that, after an assessment, nobody would really want to employ me because I would probably be off work a lot due to my disability. Oh yes btw….. I have a disability, lol. In my mind that was another fail for me, so far the score was universe 3 & me zip, zilch, nada!



There was always so much emphasis onnot failing, and how important it is that we succeed because we are the future generation. From teachers, parents, guidance counsellors. Sound familiar? That’s a lot of pressure for anyone to deal with. Through all that I forgot that these people were there to guide me not live my life for me!  

Don’t worry, here comes the success – it’s not all doom, gloom and regret! “So what did she become?” “Where is she now?” you may ask. Well, let’s just say it’s better late then never to realise that failure isn’t the end of the world and that only I can steer my life in the right direction with a lil help from some great people.

Today I am the Co-Founder and the Marketing & Multi-media Coordinator of an Arts Company, a National & International Wheelchair Dance Champion and a Model all in between working as in admin for an SEN School. 

I have learned you have to have a little faith in yourself and only then can others have faith in you to succeed. I took a chance, and realised I didn’t have to spend my life studying subjects I didn’t like because I was told that my way was not an option. If I’m honest I’m amazed that, just by believing that I could achieve a little more and listening more to the people that believe in me, I could do all of these things. 

We are taught to strive for success and not to fail but in my life I realised that by failing I have been able to achieve so much more that I once found unimaginable. I think it means you should never give up on yourself, no matter how bad things may look. Without failure, we might never achieve our potential to succeed.’ 

You can follow Monique on Instagram @monique_dior_zebedee_model

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