I was nervous as I wrote this. However, if it helps just one person, I’m ok with that. A year ago, I signed a contract with myself. That contract stated that I would write my first book within 180 days. Let me tell you, I was determined to write that book come hell or high water and nothing was going to stop me.
Well, months later, as I found myself staring at my computer screen and the two pages of poorly written text staring back at me, I felt like an overwhelming failure. I was way past my 180 day deadline and essentially I’d done…well… almost nothing
Of course, being the deep thinker that I am, a myriad of other personal failures began to creep into my mind. Like monsters rising up from under the bed, my thoughts began to remind me of each and every time I didn’t achieve my goal, missed the mark, or quit out of despair.
I hate to admit it, but somewhere within, I felt flawed. Maybe success as a writer wasn’t meant for me? Heck, I was the poster child for poor choices. Why would someone want to read anything written by a chick who couldn’t get it together?
The fact of the matter? I didn’t write because I didn’t feel worthy of writing. Period.
You see for a large chunk of my life I didn’t believe in myself. I told myself that I did, yet I seemed unable to complete a lot of the things I started. I switched college majors, switched careers, changed relationships, started businesses, quit businesses, gained weight and lost weight. In hindsight, I didn’t stick to what I began because I didn’t believe I had the self-control to pull it off. I was an introverted, non-assertive chick who didn’t really push past her comfort level.
I realized that failure is perfectly ok. I learned that each time I tried and failed at something, a valuable lesson was learned. It was through my failures that I was strengthened in some way for the next task. I learned that it was ok to expose some of the hidden parts of myself, to be imperfect, to love someone and they not love you back, to pour my thoughts and feelings into my blog and have strangers critique and judge me.
I used to think that being so scarred and imperfect made me weird somehow, that I made too many mistakes, and that not being accepted by folks was a bad thing.
I could have never been more wrong.
What would we ever learn if we did not experience failures? Let’s look at learning to drive for example. Sure you can take a drivers education course, but until you overcorrect a turn or trudge through a few parallel parking dilemmas, you don’t really see where you need to improve or change some things. You don’t quit. You correct the problem and get back on course right? For something to stick, you have to practice, make errors, then try again.
So what if you feel different?
I’ve never felt like I fit in. Think of all the other amazing people who didn’t fit in or were the product of an overwhelmingly difficult background. Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Edison and even Albert Einstein pressed through difficult situations before achieving the success we would all later witness.
It’s important to start seeing our so called failures as stepping stones to future blessings. Once we see them that way, we can cherish these experiences, use them to our advantage, and dive back in better than we were before. Instead of focusing on a negative outcome and doing nothing, I learned to embrace the process and everything that would happen along the way, thus getting rid of the thoughts that were holding me hostage.
Start pushing past failure and setbacks:
- Get out of your comfort zone: Push yourself to do something different. Who wants to be normal anyway? Stand out!
- Take baby steps: Put yourself out there. Yes some people are going to judge you. They judged Jesus too.
- Make a habit and stick to your guns: When you feel tempted to quit, remind yourself that it is only a temporary feeling and keep going.
- Relinquish control: You are not going to know every situation before you embark upon a new journey. (Boy have I struggled with this one…keep pressing)
- Realize that it is not the end: When you experience a failure, understand that it is OK. Correct where you went wrong and begin again. Don’t let temporary things like bad days, writers block, missed workouts, dietary mistakes, or a poor grade cause you to permanently quit. Start again.
- Look back on the things you have accomplished: You made it. Recognize that you are stronger than you think you are. What you perceived to be an inevitable failure turned out to be a success right? Now take that same mentality and apply it to today…then put it on repeat.
If I would have given up, you would not be reading these words today and my book would not be back on track to completion. Maybe…just maybe… failure IS an option, just make sure it is NEVER the end.
Now go be amazing.
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