Failure Club

What is Failure Club at Mothership Hackermoms

Failure Club is the most popular offering at Mothership Hackermoms because it represents community, support, collaboration and the messiness that goes with pursuing our own passions while also being a parent. We gather weekly to embrace failure and move through personal goals surrounded by kickass people who support, inspire, witness, motivate and help us show up even when we fail. For many of us, our Failure Club community and experiences profoundly change every aspect of our lives.

Failure Club stretches and evolves depending on who joins. In the last several years, because of the pandemic and the specific individuals who have participated, we have shifted to Zoom and our projects and discussions have evolved immensely. Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am offers the classic version that is steeped in emotional support. Thursday afternoons have been more career-focused, and we’ll adjust as we get applicants and talk with potential members. Failure Clubs sometimes converge on a specific theme or type of people, for example a writing group workshopping stories and pitches or a group of entrepreneurs who are founding companies.

We wish you the courage to fail, recover and start again.

How it works

We commit to meeting the same time each week for a 12-week series of Failure Club. At various times of the year, there are shorter series and people who choose to meet in between the official series dates.

You choose one project with a measurable outcome.

We start with one minute of silence to gather ourselves to be fully present for ourselves and for each other.

In a session, each person has five to seven uninterrupted minutes to update the group (depending on group size and time constraints). You share progress, roadblocks, next steps, and tell the group what feedback is most helpful. You can identify what kind of feedback you want, whether that’s getting cheerleading, advice, recommendations, referrals or general comments.

We take five minutes to provide feedback in the form of cheerleading, advice, recommendations, referrals or general comments.

We each try to fail at it in a big way (with our kids in tow). We become each other’s cheerleaders, reality checks, and shoulders to cry on, because we must really, really try, and for that we depend on our tribe to sustain us. We share our personal networks of contacts, wisdom, and resources. We adopt design thinking: to fail early and often, to test what works and observe what happens (and what we feel).

We create a rhythm in weekly sprints.

Choosing your project

Personal growth is a constant theme, and we center each round of Failure Club on one project. While some of us are tackling our life’s dreams, some of us have projects that are less about risks and more reflective of the stages of our lives and of our kids. The examples below are not meant to limit your imagination. Big projects can span multiple rounds of Failure Club, and your project will be a three-month milestone.

Early in the history of Failure Clubs, we took risks and encouraged people to choose projects that were seemingly impossible and terrifying. In this vein, there were projects like:

  • Changing careers
  • Writing books
  • Making art
  • Making films
  • Starting businesses
  • Learning new fields
  • Inventing products

Manageable projects may still be profoundly meaningful and difficult to achieve. Because we are our authentic selves when we come to Failure Club, we bring our fears, our health, our families, our careers into the discussion and a 12-week goal may be a regular part of your life.

Some of us have projects like:

  • Reveling in art
  • Exercising three times a week
  • Starting a regular meditation practice
  • Remodeling our homes
  • Moving cross country
  • Hacking our lives
  • Figuring out the next step
  • Discovering new companies in your field
  • Exploring new careers
  • Re-organizing closets and the kitchen

Join Failure Club During These Days, Times and Upcoming Series

While there are official 12-week series, we occasionally allow people to join in the middle. If you would like to sit in for one day, let us know.

We started opening Failure Club to non-members during quarantine at a time when we all needed a little extra community. This has been a tremendous boon to us and those who’ve joined, so we’re continuing the practice. 2022 is the first year when we have three options during the week, and we are considering more times and dates depending on interest. The application form has a place to indicate if you want a time that is not listed here.

Days and Pacific Times

  • Wednesdays 10am*
  • Thursdays 3pm
  • Saturdays 10am

*Wednesdays are for members only. If interested in Wednesdays, please fill out the Failure Club form below along with the new member application.

Upcoming Dates

Our calendar is loosely aligned to the school year and may change. Dates will be finalized during the first session of each series.

On Wednesdays, the dates will be:

  • April 13, 2022 to June 29, 2022 (12 weeks)
  • July 13, 2022 to August 31, 2022 (Mini 8-week series)
  • September 7, 2022 to November 30, 2022 (12 weeks that may be adjusted if we skip Thanksgiving week)
  • January 4, 2023 to March 22, 2023 (12 weeks)

On Thursdays, the date will be:

  • April 14, 2022 to June 30, 2022 (12 weeks)
  • July 7, 2022 to September 1, 2022 (Mini 8-week session)
  • September 8, 2022 to November 30, 2022 (12 weeks may be adjusted if we skip Thanksgiving week)
  • January 4, 2023 to March 22, 2023 (12 weeks)

On Saturdays, the dates will be:

  • April 16, 2022 to July 9, 2022 (12 weeks)
  • July 16, 2022 to September 3, 2022 (Mini 8-week series)
  • September 10 to December 3, 2022 (12 weeks with a break on Nov. 26)
  • January 7, 2023 to March 19, 2022 (12 weeks)

Cost

Failure Club is included in the Mothership Hackermom membership, which requires an application process.

  • $275 for 12-week series if paid in advance
  • $100 per month ($300 total for 12-week series)
  • $25 per session

If interested, use the Google form below to sign up:

How to be an excellent Failure Club participant

Over the years, we have developed a supportive tone that we want to preserve. Together, we create a safe, respectful space. Being vulnerable, daring and authentic happens when people are kind.

  • Please come on time and stay for the length of the meeting.
  • Everything shared in this group should be considered private information. By entering into this group, you agree to protect the privacy of your fellow group members.
  • We aim for a supportive, affirming tone.
  • We prefer asking gentle questions to help people think through their own perspective.
  • Speak to everyone as if they are a friend.
  • We refrain from solving people’s problems or lecturing.
  • We challenge each other and push hard when that’s what is asked for.
  • No interrupting.
  • Pay attention to what people are saying. This includes learning their pronouns and reflecting the terms people use to refer to themselves. To illustrate this, if someone calls themselves physically challenged or mixed race, we don’t say handicapped or biracial.
  • You’re invited to use the Zoom chat for asides, helpful reactions and quoting someone to help document something really important that was said. If you feel inclined to interrupt or don’t get a chance to talk, put your comments in the chat.

History and inspiration of Failure Club

There are Failure Clubs all over the world. We started Failure Club seeing that women have a fearful relationship to failure and perfectionism that begins in childhood. However, as creatives and lifelong learners, we know that failure is a part of the creative process. Failing is good practice. We want to model that for our kids. As we make tangible these creative dreams and demons, we exit our comfort zones and enter the dangerous territory of risk and fear. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone.

Especially early on, we took risks and encouraged people to choose projects that were seemingly impossible, terrifying and passion projects.

In 2012, our Failure Club was inspired and modeled by those shown in director Morgan Spurlock’s online video series.

“From the outset, failure is not only a highly probable outcome, it is the desired outcome. Only through embracing the reality of failure can its societal stigmas be stripped away and replaced with an inspirational alternative. The Failure Club process will rewire you to look at ‘failure’ as acceptable and even fun. It is only then that one discovers that most of life’s limitations are arbitrary, self-imposed, and based on fear. And when we overcome that fear, we blow away our self-inflicted limits, and we will each achieve results that appear miraculous.”

Not a mom?

We are an organization dedicated to mothers, but we aim for diversity and inclusion, and we know Failure Club can help everyone. Email info@hackermoms.org or fill out the application form to join Failure Club and let us know you are looking for a new “other” time and a new group with non-mothers.