Surfer in wave wipes out and falls off surf board.
Surfer in wave wipes out and falls off surf board.

By Molly Butler

I failed this week.

I failed a 30-day yoga challenge on day three. I failed to knock out my to-do list. And I was let go from one of my jobs.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Samuel Beckett was a novelist, playwright, theatre director, poet and short story author. He must have failed quite a bit. That’s the only way to succeed in so many creative endeavors. We say things like, “Failure is opportunity in disguise,” and “Failure is not the opposite of success: it is part of success.” I want us to think about what we really mean by those words. How can one fail better?

Often when we fail or lose something, we cling to what was. It’s normal and healthy to grieve. We ought to feel out all the emotions that arise when something important leaves us. The problems arise when we let nostalgia take hold, giving us exaggerated half-truths about how great it used to be, or when we decide to hold a grudge, creating a vindictive, angry narrative that at first feels empowering but, over time, drains us. We have to be honest with ourselves. Extract the lessons and let go of the rest.

When you take your failures with gratitude and a smile, they aren’t just useful: they’re worth celebrating.

Whether it’s a recipe or a regretful purchase or a failed marriage or notice you’ve been fired: what you lost is often nothing compared to what you can gain. Perspective. Clarity. Direction. Knowledge. A new career path. A new passion. A new love. Understand when something leaves your life, it is creating space. You can choose to fill that space with something better, but only if you learn to take what you need and let the rest fall away.

We can’t control how life will unfold. But I can guarantee that if you try, you’re certain to fail. How exciting. When you take your failures with gratitude and a smile, they aren’t just useful: they’re worth celebrating. Cheers. Let’s get out there and fail better. Have a wonderful weekend!


Kay Herbst Helms will have a photo exhibition at the Blue Earth County Historical Society. “Pity the Water” looks at water and how we interact with the water around us. The exhibit will be open Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Minneopa State Park is seeking volunteers to assist park staff from 8-10 a.m. with cutting buckthorn, removing invasive species, collecting native prairie seed, pulling weeds and more. To register, send an email to

The St. Peter Public Library will host the Sampson Brothers as they share their Hoop Dancing. These brothers have been dancing for more than 27 years, promoting cultural pride, unity and hope, with their traditional indigenous knowledge. This show is FREE and open to all ages, so don’t miss out! The dancing begins at 10:30 a.m.

Mankato’s 23rd Annual Ribfest is happening this weekend! Stop by the Vetter Stone Amphitheater, Friday from 5-11 p.m., or throughout the weekend, for ribs and entertainment. Tickets are available here.

Beth Ann Hamilton will debut her first solo exhibit at the 410 Project this Friday, with a reception from 7-9 p.m. “Domestic Multiplexity” is a collection of wall-based collaged, mixed media artworks holding the concept of femme positive and body positive. The show runs from August 6-22.

As always, there are all kinds of live music around town. The Dan Daffy Orchestra will be at Indian Island Winery from 6-8:30 p.m. Morgan Myles will be at The Grand Kabaret in New Ulm from 6-8 p.m. Matt & Laurel continue the Un-Wine-D series at Chankaska from 6:30-8:45 p.m. The Landing on Madison will host Nowhere Fast from 7-10 p.m., and Hot Jazz For Decent People will have a FREE admission open-air celebration of music from 7-8:30 p.m. at Minnesota Square Park in St. Peter.


Bike, Run, Float, Shop and Eat! River Valley Running, Bent River and Nicollet Bike have run, walk, kayak and bike outings planned for whichever sport you prefer! Start at their individual parking lots and meet up back at the HUB at 10 a.m. for vendors, live music, and of course food trucks, hosted by the River Valley Makers Market. Enjoy this buffet of local fun. It’s all in one place!

Bring a notebook, pen and lawn chair and join poet Ronda Redmond for writing prompts to strengthen your writing skills. Meet at the Minnesota Square Park in St. Peter at 10 a.m. for this creative outing. Sessions are $10 to drop in.

Get your fill of live music! RibFest will host Lonesome Losers, Viva Knievel and HAIRBALL this Saturday. You can catch the laid-back, bluesy folk tunes of Haldy at Chankaska Creek from noon to 3 p.m. Tail Light Rebellion will play at the Mankato Brewery beginning at 6 p.m. The Me & Tommy Duo Band will be at the Westwood Marina Bar and Grill in Kasota from 6:30-9:30 p.m.


Ben Scruggs will be at The 507 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with original tunes on the patio. Nate Boots will be at the Coffee Hag in Mankato from noon to 2 p.m. with new songs he’s been working on throughout the pandemic.

Brides to be, you can head to the Wedding Expo and Fashion Show at the Courtyard by Marriott in Mankato for wedding ideas and deals. The expo will go from noon to 3 p.m.

RibFest wraps up the weekend with the Murph Brothers Band, The Jade Murphy Band and the Rain Kings, plus more surprises. The Bockfest Boys Trio will be in the Schells Bier Garten from 1-4:30 p.m. Bourbon Street will be at the Westwood Marina and Bar from 4-7 p.m., and Jerrod Niemann plays Mully’s on Madison beginning at 5 p.m.

Bonus: Success

It’s pretty easy for us to spot failure. But do we know how to define success?

If you’re feeling like things aren’t going well, it might be of benefit to sit and redefine what exactly success looks like to you. If you believe it’s intangible or far off, there’s a good chance you’ll continue to push it away so that the concept becomes foreign and impossible.

Define what success means to you; make it tangible, real. Visualize it. Then, when you achieve it, don’t downplay it. Celebrate and enjoy your victories. You might surprise yourself. You might, in fact, already be a success.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.