Yup, I’ve been a failure many times over.
My first attempt at an upside-down pineapple cake ended up looking like an oozing pancake and my first business thrived for only one year.
That’s okay because I went on to create 5 very successful businesses and my cakes these days could probably win a ribbon at a competition. Well, all right, I may have exaggerated the cakes winning abilities (Betty Crocker I’m not) but it all goes to show that we rarely get what we are after by succeeding the first time out of the gate.
The way life is set up; we are bound to fail at points along the way. If we don’t, we aren’t trying new things or taking chances.
I love a good risk. Doing something I’ve never done before, being someone I’ve never been before. What a rush. If you’re on the right track, the outcome is awesome. If you’re not, you fail.
I think there should be badges for failure. I don’t know about you, but I’d wear them proudly. A badge for that business I started that failed, for that marriage I worked on for over 25 years that failed, for that friendship that went sour and failed. My badges would show that I tried, that I went out on a limb and gave it my best shot and I endured the loss. I think we should get points for that.
I’ve always thought that mistakes were mini failures. Turns out they are just stepping stones to success. If it weren’t for my life’s mistakes I would have learned nothing. Some lessons were pretty painful to recover from but all were worth learning. Of course, I didn’t take these life lessons without considerable whining coupled with a good dose of self doubt and a pinch of “what was I thinking?” (Fudge brownies helped the healing process). It all works out in the end.
I think that the biggest mistake we can ever make is being too afraid to make one. Life takes courage. Without courage we would not know love, life, success or failure. What’s the point of that? As it turns out; success is just failure that’s run its course. I wish someone had told me that about 30 years ago.
When it comes to failing, it seems we are all in good company. Walt Disney’s first cartoon production company, Laugh-O-Gram, went bankrupt. Ulysses S. Grant failed as a farmer, a real estate agent, a U.S. Customs official and a store clerk. Bill Cosby dropped out of high school and worked in a shoe repair shop and car muffler plant. And Barbara Walters was told in 1957 by Don Hewitt, who became executive producer of 60 Minutes, to stay out of television.
I figure that failure breeds success. It’s the law of averages really. The more times you try, the more likely you will succeed.
These days my fear of failure looms a little larger. I’m a lot smarter at the age of 58 but I have a lot more to lose and a lot less time to get it back. I’m still out there taking chances but they are more calculated and thoroughly thought out. Of course they wouldn’t call it ‘risk’ if there weren’t any. So, I do my best and hold my breath.
Whoever said that it wasn’t the destination it was the journey is brilliant. I’d love to meet this person and kiss them on the lips. What a revelation.
All I can tell you is that 20 years from now I want to be sitting in my rocking chair reminiscing about all the ventures I tried, all the chances I took, all the tears I shed and all the laughter I shared. I sure as hell don’t want to sit there and wonder what would have happened if I had given it a shot.
And by the way, I’ll be wearing my badges of failure in that rocking chair and I’ll be damn proud of every one of them.