04 It's Okay To Fail

"It's okay to fail. We grow from our mistakes."

I am not sure where I got this quote, but I definitely know why I included it on The Fletchifesto. I really want this to be something I learn to practice. I want to encourage others to believe this quote. More than anything, I want my kids to grow up being risk takers and know that it is okay to fail.

At the exact same time it scares the crap out of me. If you are familiar with the Enneagram, than you need to know I'm a Type 3/Achiever. (Side note: If you don't know about the Enneagram, I'll blog about it later, but do yourself a favor and head here to take the test and find out who you are).  If I was being really honest with my readers, I would tell you that I am often paralyzed by my fear of failure.

Cognitively, I know it's okay to fail. I just don't think I heard this when I was growing up. School, culture and my own family taught me regularly that success was expected. I was told often that I had all the necessary tools and resources to succeed, therefore all I needed to do was come through with the effort required to fuel success. This was especially true when it came to education and career choices.

Again, as an Enneagram Type 3, not only do I hate to fail, but I actually tend to succeed regularly. I rarely fail. I'm not bragging, it's a fact that I often choose a path that will allow me to succeed. It's a blessing and a curse. It is part who I am and part how I was raised. Nature and nurture play heavy roles here.

Raised during the Great Depression and then post-war America, my folks place high value on education. They removed every hindrance and roadblock from a quality education and then expected us to deliver. Directly or indirectly the message I received was that failure was not an option. 

As for my career, I began my career in the long reaching shadows of my father and father-in-law. Both of these men were super successful in business. The bar was high. If you continue to make the right choices and work hard, then you won't fail. Again, from education to resources to abilities, I had everything I need to succeed. Throw on top of that the promise (pressue) I made to provide for my wife and family. The math is super simple: Failure = Not An Option. 

So, I guess this quote appeals to me because it provides some breathing room. It allows space for me to take a risk. It communicates that you can fail and not BE KNOWN as a failure. I guess that is the real issue for me: my identity. It figures. It's always about who I think I am and who I want others to think that I am (Type 3). That sucks. I hate writing blog posts that remind me I struggle with identity issues.

The more I dive into this topic, the more I don't like what I am discovering. It's painful to be honest sometimes. Consequently, that pain motivates me to just go out and want to succeed more. I truly believe I can escape the shame of failure with more success. That sounds like a recipe for workaholism. Yup.

Alright readers. Who wants to join me? Are you ready to get out there with me and take some risks. Let's take a few of our dreams down off the shelf and start knocking a few of them off the list. Let's learn to be secure in who we are and remember that it is okay to fail. We can grow, even when we make mistakes.

P.S. Don't forget to tune in on Fridays for theMT Podcast where I talk out loud about these blogposts and other topics with a few of my friends.

Quietly making noise,