everybody (fails)… sometimes
I just dated myself with that title… but for all my 90s kids, admit it. You sang that one too, right?
It just seemed so RIGHT to choose that song because it’s so true.
Everybody hurts sometimes. And everybody fails sometimes.
And yet we all pretend like failure is something avoidable.
Like we can simply “magic” our way past all the mistakes and missteps to where we want to be.
Or when we see a success story, we’re quick to gloss over all the un-glamorous stumbles and paint a (n impossible) portrait of “this person over here has all their shit together, and I certainly do not… so THEY can have success and I am unworthy”.
First, if that’s a conversation you’ve ever had with yourself… withhold judgment. We’ve all had those thoughts, and it’s totally normal to rationalize away stuff that’s new and scary.
But I’m gonna go ahead and let you know: that’s a YOU story, not a TRUE story.
For every success story out there, there are probably a hundred different failure stories like this one that you never actually get to hear. TL;DR version of that article below, in case you don’t have time to click the link.
In short, the founder of Method cleaning products:
- gets his product into Target
- celebrates officially “making it”
- finds out his genius/innovative/totally new bottle design is leaking product all over the shelves
- visits the pilot stores his own damn self and cleans the product displays WHILE redesigning the bottles
I don’t know about you, but I still see Method products all over the shelves… and I personally can’t recall picking up a sticky/leaky bottle. So they must have figured out a solution at some point, and managed to salvage their deal with Target.
So something happens that could easily shut a fledgling company down… but they stuck it out, figured out a way forward, and kept going.
They saved their business, instead of seeing it as a sign that they were doomed and should quit.
And that’s my whole point… failure is an event. It’s a thing that happens. Yet so many of us treat it like an identity.
Can you imagine that Method scenario if the founders had taken it as a sign that their business was doomed to fail?
Failure happens to us ALL. And the bigger the risk, the bigger the potential for failure.
But think of it this way… if you fall flat on your face, do you lay there and wait for death to take you?
Really, I’m talking about Reddit-style wipe out, with tons of people watching. Do you lay there and slowly wither away into nothingness as people step around your rotting carcass, with the leaves piling up on your body?
I’m willing to bet that (after indulging in a little embarrassment), you’re probably going to get up, brush yourself off, walk away, and move on with your life. Maybe you’ll be a little more observant about where you place your feet, maybe not.
(And hopefully it doesn’t wind up on Reddit, but if you DO become a meme, hey… I hope you roll with it and start by creating your own product line. It certainly worked for the “Cash me ousside” girl.)
Again… that’s the point.
Failure is something that happens. Sometimes you’re to blame. Sometimes others. Sometimes there’s no good reason for the failure at all and it STILL happens.
I talked about a time that happened to me in a video I made earlier this week:
The difference between folks who “make it” and those who don’t?
Those who don’t make it assume any kind of failure means their dreams are ridiculous, there’s no way they’ll ever achieve anything, and give up.
Those who DO make it refuse to let failure stop them.
Which camp do you fall into?
If you’re an aspiring freelancer who’s working up the courage to leave the day job… good news! I’m sharing all the things I WISH I’d known before making the leap so that hopefully your journey goes a little more smoothly than mine.
Failure is an event, not an identity.
That’s fantastic, Angie. Thanks forthis.
Thanks for the reality coaching.
Should buy a cane and a feather duster to anticipate pick ups and dust offs.
I’m a new copywriter, but an old musician. So hard to expose those inner lyrics and melodies naked on stage.
Thanks for your words.