Winston Churchill has been credited with saying,
"Success isn’t the absence of failure, but going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm."
Thomas Edison, referring to the invention of the light bulb, said:
"I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
When learning a new language, or mastering a sport or a musical instrument, thousands of failed attempts are necessary to reach mastery.
I have a video of my son when he was about 12 months old.
He attempts to stand up in the video.
But he falls.
and he falls again.
I can count 12 times where he fails to stand up over the course of a minute before succeeding (with the help of an end table).
While I'm not a mind-reader,
I don't think he once thought,
"I should just give up."
"I'll never get this standing up business figured out."
"Other babies are doing it better than me anyway."
"Why even try?"
He just kept going.
And each fall...
physically strengthened his legs and made it possible for him to succeed.
And now he doesn't just stand up...
He can outrun any of his siblings, me, and even his dad.
Failure can be a great teacher.
It can also be a great learning experience if we let it.
We don't have to make the fact that we tried at something and didn't succeed mean that we are failures.
We don't have to use it as evidence that we aren't good enough.
Drop the drama around failure, sister.
Don't let fear keep you from trying new things.
Or putting yourself out in the world.
I'm not telling you that you shouldn't be afraid to fail.
I'm the first to admit that putting yourself out there and risking failure is scary.
I'm just telling you to do it anyway.
For my favorite recent discourse on failure and second chances, go here.