Sorry for the blur - but we were driving home from training with our dog, Berkley (which is an experience in failure in itself) and I had to snap a photo of this window display. Check out those mannequins. Fail. Big time. Or is it? Their failure made me look at their store display. I wouldn't have normally done that. So maybe their failure was turned into a win. Sometimes failure is only in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes failure is failure and makes us take a few steps backwards. All the time failure inspires growth. Edison didn't try over 10,000 times to make a light bulb just for kicks and giggles. It was frustrating and difficult, but it didn't matter how many times he failed. It mattered that he kept trying until he succeeded.
I recently read a story about a family that would sit down at the dinner table and discuss how each of them had failed during the day. I'm sure they talked about their triumphs too, but they began dinner with their failure.
I don't like to discuss my failures -- the times I didn't quite do what I had hoped to do or the times that I thought my plan would work and it didn't. I like to keep those hidden deep in the dark recesses of the closet of my heart, under all those clothes I meant to fold last weekend.
I don't like to fail. I would rather live my life never giving people a chance to take a picture that can be used as the focal point of a blog like this. I would rather avoid failure like a plague and always succeed, but that is not reality. The reality is that if we risk anything, we will fail at some point. I want to risk and grow and learn. I want to learn to throw a party for my failures. When I have kids one day, I want them to be the kind of kids that celebrate failure. I want to sit around the dinner table and talk about what we would do differently if we could live the day again and what we learned from our mistakes. I want my kids to be like Edison: willing to fail and willing to get up and try again as many times as it takes. I want you to be like Edison. Chase after your dreams with such tenacity and momentum that you know your feet will fly out from under you and you'll fall on your face at some point... and celebrate those moments. Celebrate that you were willing to try so hard that it was too hard. Celebrate that you now know one more way that it won't work, which narrows down your strategy to reach your dream that much more.
Try talking more about your failures. Talk with your family at the dinner table or a friend over coffee and be honest about where you fail. Talk about it with me in the comments. Fail. And fail well. Don't just fail, though. Let failure drive you to growth. Let failure motivate you to exhaust the options until you find one that works. Whatever you do, don't give up.
How have you failed this week?