It still surprises me that people hide their failures, because we hear about the merits of failing so much - “Things fall apart so better things can fall together”; “Do or do not, there is no try”; “Fight through the bad days so you can earn the best days of your life”.
Though these quotes are easier said than done - as always, lip service is the cheapest and least effective service out there - they surround us. If you follow any personal growth or entrepreneurial materials, odds are you’re going to hear about 1) the merits of failure, and 2) why you should be proud and tout your failures.
It’s without a doubt that I’ve failed - I think we all have. Yet failure is a muscle, built on the cringes of the past. Just in the past week, I have gone out in public with a busted fingernail, had a conversation with some great-looking lettuce in my teeth, and noticed 3 typos in work emails. “Psh”, you say. “That’s life; that’s not failing.”
But this is where you’re wrong.
Failing is what we choose it to be. To my perfectionist brain, I should have known better than to fix my fingernail polish before running around like Jabba the Hutt after five cappuccinos. I should have reread that email. I should have found a way to make sure I wasn’t carrying a salad in my mouth before speaking.
But, does it matter? Yes, these are small-scale fails; annoyances. I have larger ones, don’t you worry. I fail to get up in time to get my morning workout in — at least once a week. I’ve failed in standing up a sustainable business — twice in two years. I sometimes fail to look around me, instead head down, focusing on my to-do list and forgetting that, oh yes! I have a husband, and friends, and family! I fail to make time for doing all the things I want to do. In the act of failing, I must prioritize - and therefore, failure teaches me more about myself than success ever will.
Failing is one of my new favorite things to do, because it makes success taste that much sweeter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard to admit failure…. but it does get easier with time and practice, and honestly, forces you to be nimble. Those business goals? They’ve made me learn more than any MBA program will ever preach. That morning workout? Let’s do yoga in the evening instead. Friends and family? Schedule weekly calls or check-ins with all your prioritized people. Ensure they know they’re thought of and loved, even if from a distance. Send memes or gifs when words just won’t come easily.
At the end of the day, failure is simply a part of life. The crust to that gooey pie filling, if you will. And as much as always, it’s more about how you react to the world around you, then what actually happens - so will you fall and get up later, or will you choose to fly?