Meet My Best Friend, Failure!

Learning how to fail was the most valuable lesson I learned from a high school coach/mentor/teacher. He let me and my classmates fail, and fail miserably, while letting us see that it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, quite the opposite. 

However, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I truly learned to embrace failure.

It began when every aspect of my life fell apart in one big cataclysmic disaster. I had been so set on not failing that I missed all the red flags that I was headed straight off a cliff. 

So, when I had to start out all over again as a broke, single mom — failure became my best friend. Meaning, I learned to accept failure and mistakes as a constant in my life. I know, it isn’t something we talk about much, but failure is an important part of life.

Failing is what teaches us the truths about ourselves and our lives.

When I am able to look clearly at my failures, I can begin to see all of the ways in which I can learn and evolve. And I can use those experiences to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to embrace the wins just as much as everybody else. 

But making failure my best friend has been the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. It’s opened my mind to a way of seeing the world that I never thought was possible.

Now I understand what my high school teacher was gifting us when he allowed us to fail. It took me a while to fully comprehend it, and now I’m the age he was when he first taught me that life lesson. A lesson to share with others.

Life Lessons

As a mom to a little boy, the one thing I hope I can pass along to him is the willingness to try and fail and learn and then to try again over and over. The more he fails and embraces those experiences as opportunities to get better, the happier he can be. 

When reading about a 5-year-old who just completed the Appalachian Trail with his family it reminded me how invaluable that lesson is for our kids. A quote from the oldest person to complete the trail, Dale “Greybeard” Sanders, really resonated with me;

“It’s going to change his life forever, and his parents’ life, too. The kid went through some hardships, but don’t we all? Hardships make us stronger,” said Sanders, now 86, of Bartlett, Tennessee. “That kid is going to smile through life.”

And now that I have made failure my friend, I’ll be smiling a whole lot more through life now too!

For more on embracing life’s experiences and taking control of your mindset, see Be Happy, One Thought at a Time.

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