Someone I love a lot went through a failure recently.
I started to reflect on my own failures in life.
I’ve had a lot. Too many to count.
I remember being in the 3rd grade and I was the only kid that couldn’t read yet. When my class had silent reading, I had to leave with Ms. Liz so she could help me. I was so embarrassed. In third grade I remember thinking somehow I’d failed life because I couldn’t read yet. I struggled with reading until the end of 4th grade.
In 7th grade I missed the game winning shot that lost us the championship. I thought I’d failed my team, my coach, my family.
In 8th grade I did the same thing.
When I took the written exam for my drivers test, I failed once before I passed. When I took the behind the wheel test, I failed.
In college, I failed tests. Didn’t pass classes.
Lost more basketball games.
I’ve had failed book releases.
I’ve seen a few reviews on
Amazon for my books that weren’t kind. They weren’t constructive. The kind that made my stomach turn and made me question why I write in the first place.
I failed a lot at life in my alcoholism. Too ashamed to admit I had a problem. I almost let it take my life away.
But life isn’t about failure. It’s about what we do after we fail.
I always got back up. I dusted myself off, and worked even harder.
I practiced reading every single night. I wasn’t going to be the only kid in 5th grade that couldn’t read.
I practiced free throws and three-pointers an hour before practice and an hour after practice.
I did more reading, practiced my writing craft, educated myself, followed what others had done before me. Attended conferences. Taught workshops. Read more. Took classes. Wrote more. I worked my ass off and hung that review above my writing desk until I didn’t care about her words anymore.
And, finally, I found recovery in my alcoholism on November 9th, 2009. I talk about my alcoholism because it’s a big part of my story.
I. Didn’t. Give. Up.
And I won’t let society define what failure and success means to me.
I get to decide.
My biggest failures, my greatest heartaches, have become my greatest assets.
And success, to me, is defined as being better today than I was yesterday.
And I still fail. And it’s OK.
So for those of you who’ve experienced failure recently, dust yourself off, get to work, and be a better today than you were yesterday.