I don’t know about you, but I’m in dire need of this reminder and a plate of nachos right now.
There are a number of things I could tell you that I’ve failed at these past few weeks—meeting deadlines on design projects, investing in relationships and paying a 3-month overdue parking ticket ( MADISON PARKING, YOU ARE THE WORST ), to name a new. For me, it’s difficult not to personalize failures, both large and small. When I mess up and fuck up, when I’m forgetful or hurtful, and whether it happened on purpose or without me realizing it, the voice inside my head has just one default setting: “I am a failure. I can’t handle this. I’m not good enough.”
I’m working to recognize that pesky, twerpy ego for what it is, and shift towards a gentler, “I have experienced failure.” It is one of the hardest and most important distinctions to make. It involves separating your ego from who you actually are ( Eckhart Tolle anyone? ), and it is not easy. And if you’re having one of those weeks where everything seems to go awry and off the rails, then it’s really not easy. But as much as it sucks, failure is inevitable. If you’re not failing, then you’re not changing, and you’re most definitely not growing.
“Do not be overwhelmed by challenges, because your life is bigger than that one moment. You are not defined by what someone says is a failure for you. Failure is just there to put you in a different direction.” (Oprah, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1:01:25)