Eric Arnold, a Toronto-based father of four and CEO of financial planning company Planswell, put working parents’ minds at ease by explaining his professional “failures” in a 10-line LinkedIn post—and encouraging his children to fail as well.
His advice may seem counterintuitive; after all, it’s rare that a parent intentionally sets their child up for failure. But Arnold, who “failed at 9 startups,” got fired from two companies, and did not finish college, said that without making those mistakes, he would not be in the CEO position he is in now.
These experiences didn’t just help prepare him for his current job. They also made him a more accepting father to his four kids, because every parent knows their child will fail at some point in life. “I hope my kids fail too,” he ended the post.
Eric’s story has resonated with many. In just one day, it has accumulated over 53,000 shares and about 2,500 comments.
However, his story didn’t sit well with everyone. Many commenters latched on to his revelation that he left jobs without notice and invested poorly, and wondered who Eric let down in the process of making his own mistakes. But the shuttered businesses and missed investments haven’t seemed to faze Eric, because, as he addressed in his post, “It’s why I can raise millions and scale globally.”
Whether you agree with Eric’s philosophy, it’s important for working parents to allow themselves, and their children, room for growth. As women, and mothers especially, we tend to be very hard on ourselves and expect nothing short of perfection. And why wouldn’t we? We’re told by motivational posts next to the same post that Eric wrote on our LinkedIn feeds, that we can have it all. But there are some days when the balancing act proves a little too challenging, or a decision slips through the cracks. Give yourself and your children the grace to let the little failures slide, and to learn from those mistakes.