Best Friends: Failure and Success

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan

What’s up with wanting something for nothing? What’s up with thinking that the hardest things in life should be easy? I continue to be amazed at how many people search “running a half marathon without training.” I Googled it too, and ran the thing—without training—but still.

I’m thinking about how so many of the things that are worthwhile in life require hard work, dedication, and an unwillingness to give up. I think about my friends who’ve started businesses, raised families, and pursued their dreams, sometimes all at the same time. I think about myself, writing a draft of my memoir and now a book proposal wondering: will anybody even care?

I set a deadline for myself a few weeks ago and became several versions of crazy in my attempts to reach it. And then I was stopped in my tracks: I caught a nasty cold. I fought through it for a couple of days, but it fought back just as hard. The message was clear: slow down, sister, you’re out of control.

So I did. I took two days off from work. I pouted, whined, and stared at the ceiling. I didn’t write much, and it nearly killed me. Then, after five days of strugglefest 2012 I went to the doctor. And I got better.

Today was my first day feeling mostly well and not having to work, so I got after my proposal with gusto. I’m almost done, but not quite, and it will be a few more days before I send it off to prospective agents. I didn’t really reach my deadline, but I didn’t really fail either. Perhaps I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Perhaps.

Yesterday I went out for a short run after a week of being grounded. I needed something to help me along, so I told the TED I iPhone app that I had twenty minutes and wanted to be inspired. It introduced me Brené Brown’s talk “The Power of Vulnerability.”

She set out to study shame for a year, but continued for six. She talks about our willingness to move forward even where there are no guarantees. She talks about investment in relationships that may or may not work out. She says it takes courage to be imperfect, and that shame is really a fear of disconnection, that there might be something about you that doesn’t allow you to connect with others. Nobody wants to talk about shame, but the less we talk about it the more we have it.

Brené interviewed people about love and they told her about heartbreak. When she asked about belonging, she was told stories about exclusion. When she asked about connection, people told her about times when they felt disconnected.

This was my favorite line from the talk: “In order for connection to happen we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Really seen.” But don’t take my word for it; join over six million other people and give it a listen. The Power of Vulnerability

We live in an uncertain world, yet we try to make everything certain. There are no guarantees, and seriously, if there were where would the motivation be? Guaranteed success would zap all of the fun out of trying. I know this.

You can Google “running a half marathon without training” dozens of times and you can read just as many opinions, but you won’t know if it’s possible for YOU unless you try.

It was hard this morning to rouse myself out of a Benadryl induced sleep, knowing I wasn’t going to meet today’s deadline, but hoping to make some progress. Then I got what I needed–a smashing pep talk from a friend and a link to this video in an email: An Awesome World

Then another blogger shared Mind Tricks, my last post, and said some really nice things about it. Her blog is pretty terrific, so please check it out!

Here’s one thing I know for sure: I always feel better if I try and fail than if I don’t try at all. How do you feel?

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5 thoughts on “Best Friends: Failure and Success

  1. I love you. I live like this. I’m not sure anything is good or right, but I need to do it at that time for some reason. I’m “responsible.” Or maybe working on it while doing the best and most fun I can by my husband, kids, family, friends, and society. Nothing I’ve ever gotten that I respected was “easy.” Worth it, fun, lesson learned…..whatever….. I love to work hard to hold my couch some days. And others I’m supermom. All right at the time. Thanks. Love!

  2. Thanks Jaime for the link back! I just happen to also be reading Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. Coincidence? Maybe not. 🙂
    I haven’t seen that speech you linked to though so I will check it.

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