Successful people don’t give up when they fail at something. They use the lessons they’ve learned from this bump in the road and roll right ahead. Really, they do. We read it somewhere on the interwebs. And you’re going to read more right here:
5 Times I Failed and What I Learned
from This Yuppie Life
Last Saturday, I attended my final goal-group meeting of the year. This is the meeting where we are asked to stand up in front of the group and state what our biggest challenges and our biggest achievements were this year: Insert panic here! When I looked back at the goals I’d set last January, I couldn’t check many off the list. I wondered if perhaps I’d set the wrong goals—or maybe I hadn’t tried hard enough? Or could it be that I just simply suck? Have you ever had a year like that?
If I had to sum up 2017 in one word, it would be challenging. My husband left his very good job at a prominent company last August to launch his indie virtual-reality game; what set out to be a six-month project has turned into fourteen months of the unknown—and I’m sorry to admit that I don’t handle the unknown very well. Funny that I chose to be an entrepreneur!
This morning, as I was reading my e-mail in bed as usual, my husband came in the room, sat down in our chair, and said, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.” Uh-oh, I thought. This can’t be good. Turns out, overnight he had found the clarity that I had been praying about for months. For twenty minutes he sat there and rattled off all the ways he felt like he had failed over the last year with his launch, and what he needed to do about it, and he was REALLY hard on himself. But he was also on fire in a way I haven’t seen from him in a very long time. It really got me thinking about all the times I have “failed”—but more importantly, the lessons learned from failure. I hope that sharing some of my own challenges will help you feel less alone in your proclaimed “failures,” and realize that like the Phoenix, you, too, can rise from the ashes.
Read on for 5 Ways I Failed and What I Learned…
1. I DIDN’T MAKE CHEERLEADING IN HIGH SCHOOL: This may sound ridiculous, but truly, it was the first time that I remember being stunned by a disappointment, and that you don’t always get what you want. I had been captain of the cheerleading squad in 8th grade, and I just assumed that of course I would make the squad in high school. It was very competitive—and simply put, I didn’t do the work required to make the squad. It’s the best lesson I got as a young person: those who work hard will succeed over those who don’t. I think that lesson has driven me to push myself harder in everything I do.
2. I DIDN’T GET ACCEPTED TO THE N.C. SCHOOL OF THE ARTS: As a young person, I never remember a time when I didn’t want to be an actress. I was from a very tiny town, however, and we just didn’t have access to training programs that those in larger towns had. When it came time to apply to the School of the Arts, the most prominent college in our state for the performing arts, my mom did everything she could to make sure I was prepared. She hired an acting coach in Charlotte and drove me there to work on my monologues. I thought I was prepared until I walked into the audition, and realized that half of the audition requirement was to sing a song. OH %$@! I had nothing prepared! Not only that, but I can’t really sing! I sat in the hallway with my dad, where you could hear the other hopefuls with these powerhouse voices coming through the door of the audition. I wanted to die. How in the world had I missed that significant detail?! Rather than leaving, I decided to pick myself up, go inside when they called my name and at my dad’s suggestion, I sang—wait for it—”Happy Birthday to You,” and swallowed my mortification. What did I learn? You can never be too prepared, and most of the time it’s better to try than to run away and do nothing…