For the month of April, my blog topic was “failure.” How ironic, I failed at writing anything on this topic until now. Everywhere I look, failure has become a badge of honor. “Fail quick and often.” “It’s better to fail at something you love, than not to try at all.” Even – “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
I get failure – a failed audition, a failed class or a failed relationship are all a part of my path. But failure is not a part of my vocabulary. I don’t see the inability to complete a task, a plan and effort in business, as a fail. In mid-stream, ideas flow in another direction. Choices to recover or save a project are the natural way to run a business. Like risk, failure can be planned out.
In the month of April, I haven’t allowed failure to focus me. I have been making plans and taking steps – the topic for May. I can bypass failure by making plans and taking steps in the direction of my goals. That’s all I do and I think I am in a pretty good place. With the help of others – I keep moving ahead.
Being Thin-skinned is not a recommended or appropriate attribute for any professional adult. Crying, withholding information, the silent treatment and passive aggressive behavior are but a few ways women reveal their thin skin, says author Dr. Lois P Frankel. Whether you are a musician who has heard a few, “thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you…” Or someone who has made a mid-life career change or you are mom whose teenage angel just turned witchy. It’s OK. It’s your process of the event that will reveal your self with thin or thicker skin.
My go-to response when thrown a curve is to let it sit. I don’t judge, react or take action until I can sort out my view. Then, I move into an appropriate response. The answers to questions that address my values, feelings, time, self-respect and a suitable behavior should dictate my move. Do we sometimes get hit so hard that we cry? Yes – don’t worry, it happens. But should I continue whining about it or use pity to get me way? Of course not.
We have people in our lives who want us to be brave. Punching someone is not brave. Back stabbing and blackballing is not brave. Taking time and thickening my skin is brave. This is what I have learned about myself. My skin is getting thicker.
As January unfolds, I continue to see clients for the first time, after the new year. Some I taught just a month ago and others are returning after a few months away. But all are excited to engage and learn in this new year. Some have asked, “how was your holiday?” To be honest, I have a deeper answer than you are probably looking for. While this new year’s question is a polite conversation starter, I know my uncommon answer will encourage intrigue.
Over the holiday, I enjoyed a lot of down time with my immediate family. I read and worked out business ideas, as well as performed in many concerts. What struck me only recently was that I was listening for the next steps of my life. An unconscious looking for the rabbit hole. I got a split second glance at the unfolding of the next 3 years and how my next choices can support my family and small business.
Don’t rule out the door behind the curtain. It will always reveal the past and the future in one extraordinary fact finding journey. Going through it…is your option.
If I ever feel like I am not making an impact in the world, I only need to look as far as my refrigerator. On the left side, just above the highly culturally advanced ice machine, is a quote from the late El Salvadorian Archbishop, Oscar Romero. “Stop worrying about whether you’re effective or important, Worry about what is possible for you to do, Which is always much greater than you imagine!”
Carve out small steps, bite size goals that connect and relate to others. Take small steps that pursue a larger impact while caring for self and community. Caring for self is becoming the new way to do what is possible. Asking the deepest part of me, What was I created for….really?
If I want to stop hiking around the same mountain, repeating failures, reinventing what is already available and wasting time…. I will consider Romero’s intrusion – begin to see what is possible for me.
Recently I saw a post from a man I respect on Facebook. (I respect him because I see how well he has and is raising his daughters). In this post, he was asking for a treadmill. For a brief moment I thought about how I could get me treadmill to him in Kansas. Then I read the comments under the post. The treadmill is for lambs or sheep. I really don’t know what that is or what that entails. So, I didn’t comment of offer.
This experience reminds me that my ideas are not for all people. My hopes and dream, plans for business and the collaborations I am constructing are to be worked out within my business. Not to project everything I am doing on every FB or IN post.
Know your business, who to share it with and who to keep it from. You will always be glad you did.
Today, I am writing down my business plan for a 2nd adventure. I have read many books and today I step over the great crevasse of fear to put my own words into the universe. What a quiet thrill to see my future ignite before me. Failure is possible….or not. That is why I do it!
I share this because I know in business, fun, faith, music, life – we are all connected. I need your encouragement and hope my ideas will encourage you. Not encouragement in the form of a phone call or pat on the back. But as an accountability. If I post a goal out for all to see, I am starting the clock to make it work. So here I go!
To follow a dream is to express myself. I acknowledge the possibility of failure in its outcome but I don’t consider taking a leap of faith as failure. If a project fails, stalls or succeeds, I count it all as a learning experience. I do believe we need to feel the feelings of failure in order to understand our ability. When I succeed, failure is still a central part of it. It is my comparison, my reference. As I teach students to sing, I also let them know the risks, highs and lows. But “risk” is another post topic.
Your work is not too much for you to handle. Take it one step at a time. Today, I began by finding the right pickaxe, the right latter and then I took 1 step after another. That 1 step is success.