I don’t have a lot of friends.
But the ones I do have are pretty amazing.
After my last post, I received a lot of encouragement and happy thoughts. All to the tune of,
What you did, what you’re trying to do, was, and is, incredible. You haven’t failed at anything.
They wanted to make sure I was ok and help me feel better. I am extremely grateful for that.
But failing isn’t catastrophic, even if you’d do anything to avoid it.
Let me show you my very simple, very black and white definition of failure.
The inability to meet a measurable and quantifiable goal.
Fear of Failure
It’s surprising to me how many people FEAR the word failure. We’ll make up almost any other excuse or justify our lack of accomplishment in any other way just so we don’t have to use that word and fracture our sensitive egos.
I’m not sure who or when we emphasized so much negative gravity around that word, but it does not, and should not, command the same delicate handling as talking about depression. You’re not any less of a person because you failed at something. Someone admitting they have failed does not need to be coddled in the way a friend dealing withterminal illness should be.
Failure is simply a statement of fact.
If you plan to climb a mountain and are not physically capable, you have failed to summit.
If you plan to on-sight a 5.11 and fall, you have failed your on-sight attempt.
If you plan to start a freelancing business and can’t support yourself, you have failed.
It is simple.
It does NOT mean that it hasn’t been a positive experience.
It does NOT mean you haven’t learned anything from it.
It does NOT mean you can’t lick your wounds and try again later with a better, smarter approach.
Don’t Tell Me I Haven’t Failed
By telling me I haven’t failed, you allow me to make excuses. You take away my right to closure and ability to analyze what I did well and what I did wrong with stone-cold, objective reasoning.
Just like using the word adventure, you don’t get a fucking participation trophy just for trying something new. You tried; you failed; now come back later with a better plan.
I am currently down, but I am not completely out
Admitting to my failures right now has helped me already move into the analysis and learning phase. I’ve picked out the things I do well. I’ve figured out what I’m not really good at. And while I still have some life left in me (money in my savings account and no actual corporate job yet), I’ve already started approaching new opportunities that emphasize these strengths.
When staring into the face of failure, you really learn about how hard you’re willing to work for the life you want. I’ve spent more time applying to gigs, reaching out to people, and networking in the past 4 days than probably the past 2 months combined.
I’ve re-started doing the things that invigorate me outside of work and adult life that help me have a more positive outlook on just about anything.
But as I apply to corporate jobs, failure is looming. And that’s ok. Let me have that.
The best feedback I received after posting the last article was stated matter of factly.
Truthfully, to think it would work out perfectly the first time, would be pretty dumb.
And now that I see it, they’re absolutely right.