The Importance of Failure: Revisiting “When Life Kicks You Off the Stage”

December 12, 2013

Should have, could have, would have–words we so often say when we look into the past and feel regret.

It’s been two-and-a-half years since I was given an opportunity to bring knowledge and awareness on stress and stress relief techniques to the community I live in, and subsequently asked to leave in the middle of my speech during the final talk of three (the other two were hellish experiences too). For personal and professional reasons, I have removed the original posts When Life Kicks You Off the Stage (Parts I and II). I wrote them in the bitterest disappointment and the brokenness of soul, but they weren’t shining representations of who I really am.

One of my passions in life is health and wellness. Not just any old “here’s a diet and exercise routine” mindset. I truly believe that each and every one of us can practice preventative medicine. One of my aims in this profession is to educate people so that they can help themselves get well, feel well, and stay well. So when my voice was cut off–I had taken a huge risk in the first place putting my neck out there in trying to demonstrate my efforts to walk my talk–I was devastated. Truthfully, when I think about it, I’m still devastated. I know my audience was smart enough to see what had happened, but what upsets me most was that there were some in that room who needed to hear the end of the tale I was spinning so that they could finally help themselves cope with and/or overcome the daily stresses in their lives.

still feel like I failed those people. I still feel ashamed and incredibly vulnerable some days. Some days, it’s hard not to beat myself up and harder to find a genuine smile. Yet, I’m on an incredibly journey of self-discovery and this failure is a part of it.

Found on Facebook; originally posted on Ziglar.com

Found on Facebook; original quote posted on Ziglar.com

Failure is a part of life. It’s a part of life we should embrace, hold close. Failure teaches us how to pick ourselves up off our backs. We should not be afraid to fail, and should never crawl into a hole and refuse to try again after our hopes and hearts are dashed–giving up is true failure.

This is the season of giving. The week after my failed talks, I, an instructor who constantly gives to students, received one of the most precious gifts anyone can receive. My students gave back to me through caring support and even, I believe, love. I wasn’t abandoned by those people, some of whom had sat through one of the three talks. I was boosted up, consoled by their own stories of failure within the rough system in which we all work. I saw new meaning in my job, found new depths within myself.

I saw what humanity can be like instead of what it had been only a day or two before.

Again, this is the season of giving. I find that this is most often the time when people dig deep. They are more generous, more willing to do something for someone else. They find more time in their packed schedules to give another human a hand. Humanity.

Failure is part of humanity too. It’s the part that makes us stronger, more able to act and be of service to another person in their times of need. It develops compassion, determination and perseverance. It enables us to become successful.

Last night I was reminded in a Facebook post that God is preparing me for something great. I have no idea what it is but I needed to go through this particular failure in order to learn a lesson. I’m still learning that lesson. I’m still learning how to be kinder, more selfless, more understanding of the people who (intentionally or unintentionally) hurt me and less quick to reciprocate pain for pain. I’m learning how to fail gracefully, humbly, and yet I’m also learning how to continue to strive toward my goals and passions.

We all fail.

Every day.

Embrace these moments.

They lead us toward something greater.

Success?

Strong character?

A new perspective?

Renewed hope?

Only time will tell.

But the result will be great.

You are at the top when: You clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday ended last night, and today is a brand-new day. -Zig Ziglar

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