It’s Time for the #UCFBusiness Failure Competition

At our 2014 Hall of Fame event, we featured a video of then Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley who is also CEO of Florida Hospital, Winter Park. The video starts out with Ken saying the following: “I came to UCF as a failure and left a success.” Ken had seen his dream to enter medical school dashed, but found his future at UCF. He has gone on to great things and now has doctors reporting to him! His achievements landed him in our Hall of Fame, a place where only 64 of our more than 50,000 alums have been recognized for their accomplishments.

Despite what helicopter parents think, everyone fails. It is part of life. A Knight should never fear failure. Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. Today, we begin the eighth installment of our Failure Competition. As in past semesters, I will be explaining the details of this semester’s competition to students in our Capstone Course. But we are adding two new twists to the competition this semester:

First, your failure story has to focus on a new experience, a time you stepped out of your comfort zone: the farther the better. Tell us why this was such a stretch for you, the failure that resulted and what you learned from the experience that would be of interest to others.

In the past I have limited this competition to students in our capstone class, but this semester I am opening it to any student on campus: undergraduate, graduate or EMBA, business, education, engineering or whatever. The only requirement is that you currently be enrolled at UCF.

Here are the ground rules, complete with important deadlines:

  1. To enter you must post your essay in response to this blog. If you are a capstone student this semester include your section number and name of your instructor. If you are not in this class, tell me your class standing ( e.g., freshman, senior, graduate student) and your field of study. You must complete this exercise by 5 pm on Nov. 17th.
  2. Instructors from the Capstone Course will then choose a winner from their section and explain why they chose the essay they did. A panel of College staff will choose no more than five finalists for me to consider from the rest of campus. I need these on Nov. 20th by 5 pm.
  3. Those winning entries are then sent to me. I will select three finalists by Nov. 23 at 5 pm.
  4. The finalists will be asked to submit short videos based on their essays. They must have those videos to me by Friday Dec 4 at 5 pm.
  5. I will then feature one video each day on my blog  Dec.7-10 with a vote taking place to determine the winner on Friday Dec 11th.
  6. The winner will get a letter of recommendation from me along with a $500 prize. Second place will get $300, third place $200. These monies are awarded through our financial aid office.

Who knew failing could be this good? Good Luck!

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116 thoughts on “It’s Time for the #UCFBusiness Failure Competition

  1. Natalia Scevola
    SHRM – MAN 3301
    Senior / Business Management
    Christopher Leo

    An extrovert’s failure to socialize:

    Outgoing, check, outspoken, check, expressive, check, and the list goes on. I am undoubtedly an extrovert, with the good and the bad that comes with it, I basically gain energy from interacting with people. I have been this way since I went over the straggles of adolescence and up until the spring of 2013.

    It was in the spring of 2013, the day that I walked into my first classes at UCF as a transfer student, that I felt as if my personality traits suddenly vanished away and left me in a state of despair, awkwardness, and loneliness. It was unclear to me why I felt that way giving the fact that before coming to UCF I had years of experience traveling to different countries around the world, interacting with people from different cultures, making it all on my own by meeting and connecting with people that provided me jobs, and finding a way to survive in that adventure. After doing all that, I thought it was time to settle down and so I enrolled myself back into school to get my bachelor’s degree, but I felt so different that I couldn’t overcome feeling that I was inside a capsule, that I had lost my connectedness with people, and that I was all on my own.

    About a year after starting at UCF and experiencing all this feelings, I met with people in the College of Business that inspired me to break out of that shell that I had created around myself, and they helped me see that, even in a place where everything seems the same, every single person is different, and as I started to embrace those differences people also started to see me too. Little by little I started to be myself again, and by doing that I was able to shine inside again. I’ve learned to give people a chance and to be aware that there is always someone who cares. Now I can pay it forward by being the person that helps others that might feel lost in this big place and find themselves at a new home.

  2. Alex Catino
    Christopher Leo
    Section 22

    Growing up I was the apple of my parents’ eye. I played piano and soccer, excelled in school and left every sleepover with “your daughter has the best manners, she is welcome any time”. When I reached high school I remained the apple of their eye, it’s just that the apple may have appeared a little mealy for a while. As many angst-ridden teenagers do, I fell into a downward spiral of bad decisions and worse grades. I knew that I wanted to go to college and have a career, in fact I had very big dreams for myself. I just wasn’t goal-oriented at the time and I thought in terms of day-to-day. Spine-chilling words such as future, planning and GPA didn’t cross my mind, except to think of ways to avoid said topics with my mother. I was, however, able to get my act together my senior year and excitedly apply for colleges alongside my friends. There was only one school that I really wanted to get into, along with a lot of my close friends and classmates: The University of Central Florida. “Apply for summer, it’s easier” they said. I ignored this. I didn’t want to try at a better chance to get in; I would get in. I’d go at the same time they went. So I applied for the Fall 2010 semester. Slowly the letters started coming in. Acceptance and ensuing excitement over and over again and then there was mine.

    No.

    I didn’t actually get a no; UCF is a lot nicer and they put you on a “waiting list” which is similar to the “Road to Nowhere” located in North Carolina – a road that was never finished and quite literally leads to nowhere. I felt absolutely ashamed and instead of telling my friends that I didn’t get in, I lied. I told them that I had gotten in but that I had chosen another school to go to instead (Go Panthers!). I kept up this lie and went to FIU, obtained my Associate’s and then transferred to UCF (Go Knights!). While going to school in Miami I was miserable and I didn’t get any of the “college experience” that I had been searching for. Finally attending UCF gave me everything that I had ever wanted to find in a college and more. I lived in a town surrounded by students just like me, I met people through my classes that have become some of my closest friends, I attended sporting and other school events, made academic connections and became engaged in my classes, and learned what it was like to feel like a part of a collegiate family. I had been able to overcome my failure of not getting in by moving forward without looking back.

    It wasn’t, however, my failure that I learned the most from: it was lying about it. Failure is going to happen to everyone. A professor I’ve had the pleasure of taking while at UCF tells us to “fail forward” and explains that if we haven’t failed we must be doing something wrong. Failure can make you feel ashamed, embarrassed and less-than, but trying to cover your failure up and lying only makes it worse. Lies such as these go with the saying “you’re only lying to yourself”. My friends would have forgotten within an hour that I didn’t get in, it was I that had to carry the weight of disappointment and feelings of “I should have” or “why didn’t I?”. Failure is something that everyone experiences at some point. It’s an opportunity for growth and it pushes us to work harder than we may have otherwise worked. It is not a reason to feel inadequate or unworthy, and never worth lying about.

  3. Growing up I was the apple of my parents’ eye. I played piano and soccer, excelled in school and left every sleepover with “your daughter has the best manners, she is welcome any time”. When I reached high school I remained the apple of their eye, it’s just that the apple may have appeared a little mealy for a while. As many angst-ridden teenagers do, I fell into a downward spiral of bad decisions and worse grades. I knew that I wanted to go to college and have a career, in fact I had very big dreams for myself. I just wasn’t goal-oriented at the time and I thought in terms of day-to-day. Spine-chilling words such as future, planning and GPA didn’t cross my mind, except to think of ways to avoid said topics with my mother. I was, however, able to get my act together my senior year and excitedly apply for colleges alongside my friends. There was only one school that I really wanted to get into, along with a lot of my close friends and classmates: The University of Central Florida. “Apply for summer, it’s easier” they said. I ignored this. I didn’t want to try at a better chance to get in; I would get in. I’d go at the same time they went. So I applied for the Fall 2010 semester. Slowly the letters started coming in. Acceptance and ensuing excitement over and over again and then there was mine.

    No.

    I didn’t actually get a no; UCF is a lot nicer and they put you on a “waiting list” which is similar to the “Road to Nowhere” located in North Carolina – a road that was never finished and quite literally leads to nowhere. I felt absolutely ashamed and instead of telling my friends that I didn’t get in, I lied. I told them that I had gotten in but that I had chosen another school to go to instead (Go Panthers!). I kept up this lie and went to FIU, obtained my Associate’s and then transferred to UCF (Go Knights!). While going to school in Miami I was miserable and I didn’t get any of the “college experience” that I had been searching for. Finally attending UCF gave me everything that I had ever wanted to find in a college and more. I lived in a town surrounded by students just like me, I met people through my classes that have become some of my closest friends, I attended sporting and other school events, made academic connections and became engaged in my classes, and learned what it was like to feel like a part of a collegiate family. I had been able to overcome my failure in not getting in by moving forward without looking back.

    It wasn’t, however, my failure that I learned the most from: it was lying about it. Failure is going to happen to everyone. A professor I’ve had the pleasure of taking while at UCF tells us to “fail forward” and explains that if we haven’t failed we must be doing something wrong. Failure can make you feel ashamed, embarrassed and less-than, but trying to cover your failure up and lying only makes it worse. Lies such as these go with the saying “you’re only lying to yourself”. My friends would have forgotten within an hour that I didn’t get in, it was I that had to carry the weight of disappointment and feelings of “I should have” or “why didn’t I?”. Failure is something that everyone experiences at some point. It’s an opportunity for growth and it pushes us to work harder than we may have otherwise worked. It is not a reason to feel inadequate or unworthy, and never one to lie.

  4. Natalia Scevola
    SHRM
    MAN 3301
    Christopher Leo

    An extrovert’s failure to socialize:
    Outgoing, check, outspoken, check, expressive, check, and the list goes on. I am undoubtedly an extrovert, with the good and the bad that comes with it, I basically gain energy from interacting with people. I have been this way since I went over the straggles of adolescence and up until the spring of 2013.

    It was in the spring of 2013, the day that I walked into my first classes at UCF as a transfer student, that I felt as if my personality traits suddenly vanished away and left me in a state of despair, awkwardness, and loneliness. It was unclear to me why I felt that way giving the fact that before coming to UCF I had years of experience traveling to different countries around the world, interacting with people from different cultures, making it all on my own by meeting and connecting with people that provided me jobs, and finding a way to survive in that adventure. After doing all that, I thought it was time to settle down and so I enrolled myself back into school to get my bachelor’s degree, but I felt so different that I couldn’t overcome feeling that I was inside a capsule, that I had lost my connectedness with people, and that I was all on my own.

    About a year after starting at UCF and experiencing all this feelings, I met with people in the College of Business that inspired me to break out of that shell that I had created around myself, and they helped me see that, even in a place where everything seems the same, every single person is different, and as I started to embrace those differences people also started to see me too. Little by little I started to be myself again, and by doing that I was able to shine inside again. I’ve learned to give people a chance and to be aware that there is always someone who cares. Now I can pay it forward by being the person that helps others that might feel lost in this big place and find themselves at a new home.

  5. Alex Catino
    Man 4720
    Christopher Leo
    Section 22

    Growing up I was the apple of my parents’ eye. I played piano and soccer, excelled in school and left every sleepover with “your daughter has the best manners, she is welcome any time”. When I reached high school I remained the apple of their eye, it’s just that the apple may have appeared a little mealy for a while. As many angst-ridden teenagers do, I fell into a downward spiral of bad decisions and worse grades. I knew that I wanted to go to college and have a career, in fact I had very big dreams for myself. I just wasn’t goal-oriented at the time and I thought in terms of day-to-day. Spine-chilling words such as future, planning and GPA didn’t cross my mind, except to think of ways to avoid said topics with my mother. I was, however, able to get my act together my senior year and excitedly apply for colleges alongside my friends. There was only one school that I really wanted to get into, along with a lot of my close friends and classmates: The University of Central Florida. “Apply for summer, it’s easier” they said. I ignored this. I didn’t want to try at a better chance to get in; I would get in. I’d go at the same time they went. So I applied for the Fall 2010 semester. Slowly the letters started coming in. Acceptance and ensuing excitement over and over again and then there was mine.

    No.

    I didn’t actually get a no; UCF is a lot nicer and they put you on a “waiting list” which is similar to the “Road to Nowhere” located in North Carolina – a road that was never finished and quite literally leads to nowhere. I felt absolutely ashamed and instead of telling my friends that I didn’t get in, I lied. I told them that I had gotten in but that I had chosen another school to go to instead (Go Panthers!). I kept up this lie and went to FIU, obtained my Associate’s and then transferred to UCF (Go Knights!). While going to school in Miami I was miserable and I didn’t get any of the “college experience” that I had been searching for. Finally attending UCF gave me everything that I had ever wanted to find in a college and more. I lived in a town surrounded by students just like me, I met people through my classes that have become some of my closest friends, I attended sporting and other school events, made academic connections and became engaged in my classes, and learned what it was like to feel like a part of a collegiate family. I had been able to overcome my failure in not getting in by moving forward without looking back.

    It wasn’t, however, my failure that I learned the most from: it was lying about it. Failure is going to happen to everyone. A professor I’ve had the pleasure of taking while at UCF tells us to “fail forward” and explains that if we haven’t failed we must be doing something wrong. Failure can make you feel ashamed, embarrassed and less-than, but trying to cover your failure up and lying only makes it worse. Lies such as these go with the saying “you’re only lying to yourself”. My friends would have forgotten within an hour that I didn’t get in, it was I that had to carry the weight of disappointment and feelings of “I should have” or “why didn’t I?”. Failure is something that everyone experiences at some point. It’s an opportunity for growth and it pushes us to work harder than we may have otherwise worked. It is not a reason to feel inadequate or unworthy, and never one to lie.

  6. Regina Koromhas
    MAN 4720
    Section 0056
    Christopher Leo

    The one time that I failed but grew was when I began high school. I wanted to try out for Field Guard but growing up I was never involved with group activities. Because of this I was nervous to try out. Nevertheless I showed up in my High School Band room to try out for Field Guard. I was horrible. I couldn’t spin a flag, couldn’t keep time, and I did not move with grace. Since the turnout was low, I got a spot on the team. I would practice the flag routine all the time and slowly I began to get better. The first season I sat behind props and did very little, but I was having fun. When I tried out for Winter Guard, the instructor looked at me and couldn’t understand why I was still there. I hadn’t improved much, but still he let me on the team. I was improving some but not a whole lot. Though I wanted to give up at every turn and would be so disappointed when I didn’t get a spot in the flag routine or was told to stand behind a prop still I just keep trying. I did Field Guard and Winter Guard for 3 years in high school. Every year I would get a little better and would get more parts in the show. By my senior year I was in the whole show I could do Flag, Riffle and Sabre routines. What this experience showed me was that if you really want something you have to work hard. It also showed me that if it doesn’t come easy just keep trying and never let anything stop you.

  7. Laura Walden
    MAN 4720
    Section 0022
    Christopher Leo

    The first thing that came to my mind when the Failure Competition was announced was, “I’ll do it, but I’m probably not going to win”. This is my failure story. With every competition announced throughout my life, the first thing I always thought to myself is this same sentence. It’s not that I’m not confident in my abilities, but I’m just not competitive. I truly never noticed that I say this prediction of failure until I sat down to brainstorm this entry. After this realization, I’ve begun to think back in my life to all the times in my life I have not won and considered whether it was because of this. Would I have won that Public Speaking contest in 5th grade? Would I of gotten first place in my gymnastics tournament? What about that soccer game? Would my grades be higher? Sure, it could be because of what words I was saying to myself before all these events, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. What I CAN do is begin encouraging myself. Not to win at any costs necessary, but to succeed in whatever I intend to do. Like I said in the beginning, I’m probably not going to win this contest, but you know what? That’s ok. Writing this post and learning something new about myself is deemed a success in my book.

    “Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter

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