The Reason We Fail

Thursday, January 16, 2020
I fail a lot. Before 8am. Every day. I have failed at everything from diets to relationships and every dang thing in between. I've missed work, missed parent teacher events, and I nearly fell over attempting to stand still (but gosh those high heel boots looked good even though I couldn't walk or stand in them). You've failed too, right? Didn't win that writing contest? Didn't sell as many book copies as you'd planned? It's only mid-January and you gave up on your resolution or New Year goal?

This is a hot topic at our house. We have teens and tweens mixed with toddlers, and of course adults. We make a lot of mistakes, and we talk about how we can do better. We are a noisy group and most of us enjoy a loud conversation and we don't go to bed until we are satisfied. We also ask "WHY?" a "why did you do that?" "why didn't you do that?" "why are you treating your sister that way?" "why do you think your coach did that?" etc...

My son recently made a poor choice with a coach for a team sport he participates in. He felt like a failure. In the situation, he definitely failed to make good choices, yet he is an 11 year old boy and is in no way a failure.

Why did he fail? Why do I fail? Why do you fail?

Here's why:

You are going to fail. I am going to fail. It's not the fault of anyone except us. In my son's case, it's not his coaches fault by any means. We sometimes set our expectations too high. We don't always put in as much work as we should have. There's no magic pill going to make me thin and there's no guarantee the book you're working on is going to be on the top ten list. Every day is not going to be a win. Here's what we need to remember about failing:

We have a choice of failing. (period) or failing forward. It's ok to be upset and disappointed. It's okay to cry. We just have to put on our big girl (or big boy panties) and make the changes necessary to move forward. As for help when necessary. Evaluate the steps that led us here and do things differently next time around. Human nature leads us to blame someone instead of taking personal responsibility - but it's not your spouses fault, it doesn't matter that you went to XYZ college, and if we are talking about losing weight - there's no magic pill. When I eat the garbage and don't exercise I can't expect to lose the weight. The Oreo cookie is not to blame - my lack of willpower IS!

You are standing in your own way. I'm standing in my own way. I need to keep that mirror close by as a reminder. What are ways you've failed forward? How do you remind yourself to keep plugging away? What works for you?

Crystal is the office manager, council secretary, financial secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, Auntie, babywearing mama, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children, two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, horses Darlin' and Joker, and over 250 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal milking cows, riding horses, and riding unicorns (not at the same time), taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade and she has never (not once) been accused of being normal!


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

And sometimes there isn't even anyone to blame. One slot open but numerous submissions. Your manuscript isn't the best fit.

Nothing for it but to try again.

A friend gave herself two days to be mad after she got a rejection. After that she had to get it back out.

Renee Roberson said...

I think the only way we grow is when we fail. I've lost track of how many things I've failed. But it only makes me more determined to succeed. I'm also not afraid to admit my failures. I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn't failed SO many times!

Theresa Boedeker said...

For sure. I will fail in some way everyday because I am human. It's up to me what I do with my failures. That's where the change and learning take place. Like I have told my son, "Yippie for mistakes! Now you have another opportunity to learn."

Angela Mackintosh said...

There are things worse than failing--like not trying at all.

I also agree with Sue, that there are some instances when it's no one is to not winning a writing contest. Every contest we facilitate, there are several stories/essays that are at the very same level. And you know what happens when they're all equally good? If there are stories/essays with a similar topic, only one gets picked, even if the ones that weren't picked are better than the others that were written on different topics. That's curation for readers...because readers don't want to read ten stories on dementia, even if they were better than the stories about other topics, so we have to mix up the content. Contests also come down to the final judge's personal preference in the end.

Same thing with submitting to a lit journal. It's so competitive out there right now, and when you get rejected, it could be your fault if you don't read the journal to see what type of work they publish, but in most cases, you're competing against two thousand other submissions. I partly blame MFA program proliferation for that one!

But in general, I do agree that most things are in our control, and I'm the type of person who automatically blames myself, not others, even if it's not my fault. And that can be a problem! Lol.

I LOVE your term "failing forward" - brilliant. :) I have failed so many times and keep going because what other choice is there. One thing I know I have is insane willpower. I've quit all vices cold turkey and now I have no vices left except a cup of black coffee in the morning. Diet and exercise are a fun challenge, and if I need to lose twenty in one month, I know I can and have. There are some magic pills, but you don't want to take those. ;) I do believe I stand in my own way many times and I keep working on that. Great motivational post, Crystal!

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