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Resilience & Resourcefulness

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Failing Well is a set of programs dedicated to the discussion of failure, risk taking and mistakes. A partnership between the Wurtele & Lazarus centers, our mission is to increase student resilience by teaching, telling stories, and opening a campus conversation about failure.


What does it mean to fail well?

When you can fail well, the world opens up to you. There's no challenge you can't pursue, no risk you can't take, because you know how to get back up when you're knocked down. Your potential for change, for possibility, and for success as you define it becomes limitless.

When you can fail well, your self-worth doesn't ride on your success. You know that you are enough as you are, no matter what—and don't have to lose your sense of self when things don't work out.

When you can fail well, you have the courage to ask for help when you need it—and leverage every resource available to get the job done. You have the ability to be vulnerable about your limits, and authentic with your peers—and forge powerful networks as a result.

How do I learn to fail well?

Failing well is a skill—a set of skills, actually. Skills are like muscles: the more you flex them, the stronger they get. Our programs will give you the opportunity to start learning, and failing well.

Failing Well Programs - Led by Rachel Simmons


Leadership for Rebels: A Recipe for Courage and Personal Authority - Four Mondays in Fall 2017: Sept. 11, 18, 25 and October 2 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm in CC 103/104


Leadership for Rebels Workshop with Rachel Simmons: What's the Worst that Could Happen?  Can you live with that?  This is about trying new things, being curious, going where you haven’t gone before, facing down something unpredictable.  Learn about conflict resolution and communication.  Standing up for yourself; owning your voice; speaking your truth; working on relationships that matter to you.  4-Part series: Sept. 11, 18, 25, and Oct. 2 from 5:30-7:30 pm in CC 103/104..  No registration required but must attend at least 3 sessions.  Free dinner!


The Art of Small Talk - Wed., October 25, 2017 from 7:30-8:45 pm in CC 103/104 (ice cream sundae bar!)


Grades and hard work will take you far, but your ability to expand your network through small talk will make a critical, immeasurable difference to your career - and is a vital leadership skill to boot. In this workshop, you'll learn and practice tools for effective small talk, and learn how to convert seemingly random conversations into new connections and opportunities.

Co-sponsored with the Lazarus Center for Career Development. Includes an ice cream sundae bar!


Past Workshops (many will be offered again Fall 2017- more info to come!)


Self Promotion Workshop for People Who Hate to Brag


Learn why self-promotion isn't necessarily bragging, why we worry that it is, and why it's important to know how to do it. You'll identify some of your own strengths worth sharing and also get a chance to practice. Co-sponsored by the Lazarus Center.


Communication Norms Beyond the Bubble


Average response time for a text = 15 minutes or less
Average response time for the alum you emailed about that job = crickets

How you reach out to people in the "Real World" - and how you handle it when things don't go your way - can make the difference in getting jobs and making new connections

In this workshop, you'll get up to speed on real world communication norms. Learn practical strategies you can use right away, and find out:
- when, why, and how to follow up when someone isn't responding to you
- how to tell if you're being blown off or just paranoid
- how to deal with your 100% certain beliefs that your peers' Instagram is a 100% accurate portrayal of their actual lives and feelings
- are they being rude or am I taking this too personally?


Co-sponsored with the Lazarus Center for Career Development.


The Art of Small Talk and Networking


Grades and hard work will take you far, but your ability to form relationships through small talk and networking can make a critical, immeasurable difference to your career - and is a vital leadership skill to boot. Learn how and why seemingly random conversations can open doors to new connections and opportunities, right now and after you graduate.


This workshop will help you decode the art of small talk (we promise to help you talk about more than the weather), and get you practicing, too.


Co-sponsored with the Lazarus Center for Career Development.


Imposter Phenomenon: Why So Many High Achievers Think They're Frauds

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Like it’s only a matter of time before others figure out you’re not as smart or capable as they thought? Do you think you got where you were by mistake, luck, or because you fooled someone? So do a lot of other people. You may be suffering from Imposter Phenomenon. Join us for lunch and discussion about how IP can hold you back - and learn a few strategies to help you manage it.


How to Quit Overthinking


Do you replay your missteps in your head at night, thinking about what you could have done differently? Do you perseverate about your problems, focusing more on the "what if" and "why" instead of how to solve them? "Overthinking" can be exhausting. Research shows it disproportionately affects women and girls, and can lead to anxiety, depression, and loss of motivation. At this workshop, learn why we overthink and how to stop, so you can move on, free your mind and focus on more productive activities.


Stress Olympics Bingo with Ice Cream


Join Rachel Simmons from the Wurtele Center for Stress Olympics Bingo - make your own ice cream sundaes, discuss stress culture at Smith and get concrete strategies to deal with it. Excellent prizes abound.


Jogging with Charlie (and Petting too!)


Every Monday in April - Join Rachel Simmons and her doggie, along with special guests and members of the Smith Basketball Team, for Jogging with Charlie! Meet in front of Clark Hall at 8:15 am. Snacks to follow. For those are not able to run, Charlie is available for petting starting at 9 am!


House Teas on Perfectionism and Stress Culture


Student designed and facilitated teas that encourage students to talk about perfectionism and pressure on campus. We explore strategies to pursue success at Smith without sacrificing wellness. To hold a tea in your house, email Rachel Simmons


The Ideal Smithie


More Information

Want to learn more about Failing Well? Email Rachel Simmons, Leadership Development Specialist.