How To Fail With Elizabeth Day
S10, Ep3 How to Fail: Alexandra Burke

S10, Ep3 How to Fail: Alexandra Burke

February 17, 2021

Alexandra Burke shot to fame as the 2008 winner of The X Factor. She became the first British female solo artist to have a million-selling single and went on to have a successful career as both a recording artist and a performer: her lead roles in the stage adaptations of The Bodyguard and Sister Act met with rave reviews.

But behind the public profile were private battles: her beloved mother was dying, she was subjected to racism in the music industry and her story was frequently misreported in the media. Alexandra joins me to talk about managing this difficult duality and what it taught her about her own strength and resilience. She tells me about never thinking she's good enough, learning how to set boundaries, losing herself in relationships, failing to put herself first and the grief of losing her mum. We also talk about how, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, she chose to speak out about the racism she endured and the impact this had on her.

I'm not sure I've ever connected with someone as instantly as I did with Alexandra! She's an amazing, vibrant, warm-hearted soul who understands that being open about her failures is actually the key to self-growth. This is one of the most emotional episodes I've ever recorded. I'm so grateful to Alex for the beautiful gift of her vulnerability. Listen to be moved (and perhaps have some tissues nearby).

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Failosophy: A Handbook for when Things Go Wrong is out now and available to buy here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Alexandra Burke @alexandraburke

 

S10, Ep2 How to Fail: Matt Haig

S10, Ep2 How to Fail: Matt Haig

February 10, 2021

Today, I invite you to listen to one of my most-requested guests. I've lost count of the number of messages I've received begging me to get Matt Haig on the podcast, and now here he is: the man, the myth, the legend himself!

Matt is a bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction and a mental health advocate whose admirers include everyone from Dolly Parton to the Duchess of Sussex. After surviving serious, life-threatening depression in his 20s, Matt used his experiences to form the basis of his 2015 memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, which was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and stayed in the UK top 10 for 46 weeks. His latest novel, The Midnight Library, tells the story of Nora Seed, who, after attempting to take her own life, finds herself in a library of books which contain alternative versions of Nora’s future. It's a charming meditation on what it means to live a fulfilled life, and on the often blurry line between failure and success.

Matt joins me to talk about his failure to get the right work / life balance, his failure to check his own privilege and how he wishes he'd been open about his mental health earlier [TW: contains discussion of depression and suicide]. We also talk about having thin skin in an age of social media, how to handle criticism and the dangers of being given 'expert' status when you've never sought it for yourself.

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Matt's latest novel, The Midnight Library, is out now.

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Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom and is out now.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Matt Haig @mattzhaig

 

 

 

 

 

S10, Ep1 How to Fail: Jameela Jamil

S10, Ep1 How to Fail: Jameela Jamil

February 3, 2021

[TW: contains discussion of eating disorders, including references to calorie-counting and body dysmorphia]

We're back, baby! So much has changed hasn't it? Last year, I released a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. This year...well, I'm releasing a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. I hope Season 10 of How To Fail brings you some much-needed cheer in these strange times.

And WHAT a guest I have for you to kick off with. Jameela Jamil started out as an English teacher, fell into TV presenting, subsequently became an actress, starring alongside Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place and is now well-known for her activism. 

In 2018, Jameela launched I Weigh, which has grown into a radically inclusive global movement against shame and now has its own YouTube channel and podcast. Along the way, she's come in for her fair share of criticism - perhaps unsurprising when you consider her habit of calling out of media hypocrisy on Twitter and Instagram where she has a combined following of 4.4 million.

Jameela joins me to talk about her failure to be a 'good' female celebrity, her failure to be kind to her body and her failure to get a handle on her finances. If you are a woman, a parent of a daughter, or simply a sentient human being trying to do this thing called life, you will find this episode full of mind-expanding truth bombs. Enjoy!

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My book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom and is out now.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Jameela Jamil @jameelajamilofficial

 

 

 

SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Leanne Hainsby

SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Leanne Hainsby

December 30, 2020

It's the weirdest time of the year, when all the days become a formless sludge and we start to miss getting emails. Navigating the days between Christmas and New Year can be tricky at the best of times, but in 2020 there's an extra layer of WTAF. So I knew I wanted to talk to someone motivating, but not annoying; someone who could nudge us gently into 2021, without making us feel like we weren't already good enough; someone sweet and funny who wasn't smug; someone who, in short, is as sceptical about New Year's resolutions as I am and can instead make us all feel better about who we are right now. That person is Leanne Hainsby.

Anyone who is lucky enough to own a Peloton will already know who Leanne is. Anyone who doesn't know what a Peloton is, well, it's basically a super-duper fixed exercise bike with a video screen that enables you to join live and on-demand classes given by amazing instructors. If you have never been on a Peloton and would rather chew your own feet than go to a spin class PLEASE STAY WITH ME. You don't need to have any prior knowledge to love Leanne Hainsby, I promise.

She is the UK's first female Peloton instructor, a woman whose physical strength is matched only by her emotional authenticity. A former professional dancer for everyone from Katy Perry to Steps, she is kind, supportive, enthusiastic, funny, insightful and empathetic. Her trademark phrase, shouted through the screen to the hundreds of thousands of Peloton riders who join her classes, is 'Yes to you.' Leanne is, quite literally, my favourite person I haven't met yet. And so I wanted to introduce you all to her because she's a total gem.

She joins me to talk about her failure to value herself in past relationships, her failure to be punctual and her failure to see herself beyond her problematic skin (such an interesting conversation). Along the way, we chat about music, cats, mood swings, how to exercise when you really don't feel like it and, yes, there might be a few details about her boyfriend (fellow UK Peloton instructor, Ben Alldis). Please have a listen even if you don't think this episode is for you. I promise you it will put a spring in your step. And if it doesn't, I'll give you your money back...oh now, hold on, this podcast is free so that's not possible. You see? Everyone's a winner!

YES TO YOU!

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If you're in the mood for an antidote to all the 'new year, new me' hype, I can entirely objectively (ahem) recommend my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which explains why I hate New Year's resolutions and which also contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom.

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This episode is not sponsored, but I did want to flag a new book by Samaritans out on 7th January. How To Listen comes with a preface by Michael Palin and includes helpful tips from trained Samaritans on how to talk about how we are feeling, as well as how to listen to one another in a way that can prevent day-to-day concern or worry from escalating into more complex emotions. You can (pre)order your copy here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Leanne Hainsby @leannehainsby

 

 

How to Fail: A Christmas Message

How to Fail: A Christmas Message

December 25, 2020

An alternative Christmas message for anyone who needs it.

 

 

 

A How to Fail Miniseries: Rebecca Anderton-Davies

A How to Fail Miniseries: Rebecca Anderton-Davies

December 16, 2020

For this four week miniseries, we've been introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose.

My final guest is Rebecca Anderton-Davies, a woman with a double life: a high-flying investment banker who has become a yoga phenomenon in her spare time. At the age of 27, she was hit by a van while cycling to work, breaking her collarbone and badly damaging her shoulder tissue. As part of her rehabilitation, her physiotherapist suggested she started doing a slow form of yoga. To begin with, Rebecca was, by her own admission, 'rubbish' but she soon found that the lessons she learned in failing on the mat served her well in the rest of her life.

When, a couple of years later, a doctor found blood clots on her lungs - a life-threatening condition - yoga helped her again. But her busy job meant that she didn't often have time to make it to a studio, so Rebecca started practising at home, and sharing her journey on Instagram. This year, she published The Book of Yoga Self-Practice, enabling everyone stuck at home during lockdown to keep their bodies moving. She joins me to talk about all of this, as well as the joy - and wisdom - that comes from embracing imperfection when you're a perfectionist. Rebecca is such an uplifting, smart and self-deprecating guest: even if you've never done yoga (or, like me, you've done it for years and still can't do side-crow or headstand and are deeply competitive with the man in the harem pants at the front of the class even though you know that's not the point of yoga) you *will* gain something precious from this episode.

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You can buy The Book of Yoga Self-Practice here.

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Looking for a Christmas stocking filler? I can highly recommend Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Rebecca Anderton-Davies: @somewhatrad

 

 

A How to Fail Miniseries: Bassel Deeb

A How to Fail Miniseries: Bassel Deeb

December 9, 2020

For this four week miniseries, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose.

Today, my guest is Bassel Deeb. Bassel was born in Damascus, Syria. When his country descended into a brutal civil war, he was forced to flee. He came to the UK in 2013 where he applied for asylum. Bassel joins me to talk about this life-changing experience and about what it's like to have to redefine your idea of 'home'. He talks with candour about the conflict that surrounded him in Syria, and about leaving his friends and family behind. He also speaks of his gratitude for being 'one of the lucky ones' and for having been able to make a life for himself here. And he explains what these experiences have taught him about taking a breath, pausing, and understanding the beauty of a simple moment.

I first met Bassel two years ago when I went to give a corporate talk at his former employer's. I have never forgotten him. After listening to this, I suspect you won't be able to either.

Thank you, Bassel.

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Looking for a Christmas stocking filler? I can highly recommend Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

A How to Fail Miniseries: Ross Barr

A How to Fail Miniseries: Ross Barr

December 2, 2020

For this four week miniseries, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose.

Today, my guest is Ross Barr. When Ross was 20,  his dad died suddenly and unexpectedly, and he turned to acupuncture to help him deal with his heartbreak. After one session of treatment, he knew this was his path. Now, Ross is one of the UK's most sought-after acupuncturists, who counts the Duke and Duchess of Sussex among his clients.

He joins me to talk about what acupuncture has taught him, coping with grief, understanding balance, treating survivors of the Cambodian genocide and why what connects us is stronger than what sets us apart. But he's really funny too. So we also chat about what his mum said when she found out he was treating royalty, why we all need to be 'a bit more 1990s' about life and why his friends call him 'the Disney Prince' (he's going to hate that I mentioned this but hey ho, he's a dear pal so I'm sure he'll cope...).

I hope you enjoy the episode!

 

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Ross J. Barr Supplements are a new range of natural, food state supplements to support men and women trying to conceive, as well as to nourish expectant mothers from conception right through to the fourth trimester. Available to order here

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You can book an appointment with Ross here

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Looking for a Christmas stocking filler? I can highly recommend Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Ross Barr @rossjbarrclinic

A How to Fail Miniseries: Yinka Bokinni

A How to Fail Miniseries: Yinka Bokinni

November 25, 2020

For the next four weeks, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with four extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose.

First up: Yinka Bokinni, a radio DJ who grew up on the North Peckham Estate in South London. She was the childhood friend of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old schoolboy stabbed to death in a stairwell on his way back from the library in 2000. Yinka joins me to talk about how this experience shaped her, why Damilola was so much more than the 'tragic victim' the media portrayed him as and how her resilience and passion for justice has been forged as a result. She also talks about her Nigerian and Irish upbringing, her love of Judge Judy (a podcast first) and the importance of celebrating everyday moments of connection by living victoriously. Yinka is such a beacon of optimism and hope that this was a truly uplifting interview. I hope you enjoy it.

 

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I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. I'd love it if you bought a copy. Also: they make EXCELLENT gifts imho.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Yinka Bokinni @yinkabokinni

S9, BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Jamie Dornan

S9, BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Jamie Dornan

November 24, 2020

For our second and final bonus episode this season, I bring you the dulcet tones of actor Jamie Dornan. Most recently seen in The Fall (currently on Netflix and BBC iPlayer) playing a serial killer with an incongruously happy family life, Dornan is also well-known for starring as Christian Grey in all three of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie adaptations, which brought him to the worldwide attention of millions.

He joins me to talk about failures in acting, failures at school and a failure to sit still. We also discuss growing up in Northern Ireland at the heigh of The Troubles, male objectification, the death of his beloved mother from cancer at the age of 16 and the loss of four friends in a car crash shortly afterwards. We talk about grief, therapy and what it means to be a father. And we talk about why he walks on his tiptoes.

I think this one of my favourite ever interviews and I hope it brings you some comfort through these undoubtedly challenging times.

How To Fail will be back with a ONE-OFF SUPER SPECIAL MINISERIES at the end of the month, where I’m doing something a bit different…follow @howtofailpod on Instagram or Twitter to be the first in the know!

 

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I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. I'd love it if you bought a copy. Also: they make EXCELLENT gifts imho.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Jamie Dornan: @jamiedornan

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