Failing Forward

Failing Forward

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    Has failure ever left you feeling paralyzed and alone on your path? See how failure (or “gifts” as she now sees them) inspired a local entrepreneur to launch a new podcast and lifestyle resource to help others fall forward.


    Sarah Brown went through a really tough year in 2017. She was the owner of Blown in Kenwood, a beauty studio that was popular, but ahead of its time. Unfortunately, she and her partner just couldn’t sustain the investment and had to close their doors. 

    At the same time she was saying goodbye to her business venture, she also said goodbye to her mom. Soon after that, she realized she had developed an unhealthy dependence on alcohol. 

    While closing the business and getting sober, she came to realize that she was lucky to have experienced the obstacles she was overcoming at the time. “I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like this,” she says. 

    That’s when she decided to take a different route with her career and launch a podcast called Failing Forward in January 2018. 

    “Failing Forward aims to inspire Cincinnatians to see failure as an opportunity – a gift, even,” she says. “I want to create a community that picks one another up when we’ve fallen and celebrates what happens when we’re bold enough to embrace failure.”

    The podcast, which was rated No. 20 in Apple Podcasts’ business category upon release, shares stories from Cincinnati entrepreneurs and community leaders and experts. 

    “The podcast provides motivational stories to encourage people to unblock their fears, move into action, and become their authentic selves,” she says. “It’s about reframing failure from a negative to a positive.”

    Brown says the podcast just felt like the right thing to do in order to share stories about how other people had dusted themselves off after failure. 

    Brown credits Adrienne Donica, her producer, and the team at Gwynne Sound who edits the show. 

    “I also had many friends and mentors who encouraged me to do it like Carolyn Michelli, my husband, and Tony and Mary Miller,” she adds. 

    Episodes of Failing Forward shares a lot of stories, but they all hold one thing in common – human triumph. 

    “And in a world where we don’t hear much about triumph, my goal is to inspire and create community around hope,” says Brown. “All of the guests, no matter how much money or fame, have all overcome failure. They have figured out how to be the hero of their own story, and on top of that, are brave enough to share details about incredibly vulnerable times in their lives so they can help other people facing their own failures.”

    Many of the guests on the podcast share stories about their careers, including failed businesses, getting fired, overcoming a project that didn’t go as planned, and even deciding to strike out in a completely new field halfway through their career. 

    There are also stories that are more personal, including those who have shared the struggles of serious health problems and mental illness, addiction, grief, low self-esteem, and difficulties in their marriages and families. 

    “Anything is fair game, and I’m always asking my guests what steps they took to bounce back,” she says. 

    New episodes from Failing Forward are released every other Thursday and are available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and SoundCloud. 

    To learn more about Failing Forward, visit or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.