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Failure and Forgiveness


My new boss and I conversed one afternoon, leading us on a rabbit trail of different topics. One, in particular, hopped in and left an impression. We discussed how our society stresses too much on success. If you visit your local bookstore, you will find shelves upon shelves with authors giving their best advice on how to succeed. Some may include how they failed along the way, but the focus isn't so much on what they did wrong but more on what they did right.


If we're honest with ourselves, no one likes to make a mistake or fail, but if you think about it, errors and failure create opportunities for grit, perseverance, and growth.


In our conversation, we talked about Spanx inventor Sara Blakely. From a young age, Blakely remembers her dad inquiring weekly about how they failed. He had instilled in his family to try new things, and if it led to failure, it was more than acceptable; it was expected. There was high praise for their successes AND failures. It gave them the freedom always to try, regardless of the outcome.


I certainly wasn't raised that way. Perfection was more the name of the game in our family. If I succeeded, great adoration was given. However, fear was the leader of the pack of emotions when I failed. It definitely wasn't a pleasant experience like Sara Blakely's childhood memories. It made trying without knowing the result agonizing.

I think that's probably why it was even more challenging for me to pursue acting and modeling. Some of you may not know, but my family and I sought the acting and entertainment industry for a handful of years. It was fun and exciting but also exhausting and distressing. Going to auditions with positive expectations only to return with negative results burned my heart more times than I could count. You put all of your eggs in one basket, expecting them to be returned in full or even multiplied, but in actuality, it's thrown back cracked and empty. You try, try and try again but fail, fail, and fail again. In my humble opinion, the entertainment industry is an industry all on its own. It's not based on your education or experience but more on a person's or a team's vision of a role. So if you don't have "the look" they're looking for, you have already failed the audition. Your agent sends you based on the profile the casting directors hope to fill, but you try out with an unattainable chance.


It was apparent it was tougher on me than the kids. When we first started in this industry, I remember being miserable when I had to tell my kids they did not book the gig they auditioned for. However, I was more surprised at how easily they brushed it off. They listened, accepted, and moved on. They didn't think twice. Even when I asked if they wanted to pursue the next gig the following day, they agreed and hoped for the best. It was all part of the process and fun.

Now that my kids are older, I have noticed they pursue areas that are not their strengths but try them nonetheless. They are able to see past the impossibilities in hopes of the possible. It is so rewarding to witness them discover the unknowns and turn them into knowns just by trying.


Ironically, I had started writing this post weeks ago, and then yesterday, I had a pretty big failure as I made a mistake at work. It irritated me to my core to make this kind of mistake. More because it impacted others and not just me. I tried to do something unfamiliar, as I'm still learning the ropes, but in an effort to be proactive and help everyone involved, I tried and unfortunately failed. After mulling over the mistake a few times, I remembered a recent conversation with my sweet niece. She shared a conversation she had with her friend, who told her to forgive herself. (In my opinion, I believe she didn't do anything wrong but was just being too hard on herself.) I had to remember that same advice for me. Sometimes it's easier to forgive others than it is to forgive yourself. I had to forgive and extend grace to me, myself, and I.


Blakely says that "Failure is not the outcome. Failure is not trying." When you see it that way, I have many successes as I have tried many things. I will continue to have that mindset and try my best.


For those of you who are similar to me, this is your PSA; extend GRACE and FORGIVE yourself. And don't ever STOP trying.

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