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Don't be afraid to fail


Artist: Arthur Wardle

I know this to be true: fear of failure will keep us stuck forever. We don't have forever. We have now.


Try things, create, get messy, show your work, speak of your dreams, test your ideas, take a chance, kick perfectionism straight to the curb, change your mind, learn, grow stronger, grow wiser, repeat.


It's in the debris of rising and falling and rising again that we find all sorts of gems and tools to move forward. 


I am not afraid to make mistakes. I am not afraid to fail. I have done both of these things wildly, spectacularly. The ground: I've met it a few times, humbling and sturdy surface that it is.


Hello there, Ground. You again?


It hurt. My ego has been bruised. My heart has been broken. My mind has been sharpened into fine edges, cutting into my thoughts about myself, creating a never-ending loop of self-doubt, fear, and criticism.


You know the story. If you are human, you have felt these things too.


Failure can be exhausting. Mistakes can be painful. You wonder if you are ever going to get this being a human thing down. 


But that is just half the story.


Turn the coin and failure can be strengthening. Mistakes are revealing. Change your perspective just a bit and the whole sky opens. Ease up. Step back. See the ground as an old friend, always there to let you lie down and rest when you need to. Remind yourself how courageous you are to show up at all. To go out on a limb. To look like a fool. To be a creator. To have your own back. These things require a tremendous amount of courage and love. Never forget that.


Also, your failures are just science. This is all just an experiment. Failure is a fine and fiery teacher. 


When I decided to see mistakes and failures not as errors in my character but as the stuff that a well-lived life is made of, living became a lot more fun. I began to experiment. I asked for what I wanted. I declared who I was. I created things and let myself be judged without curling into a ball. I burnt meals, threw away poems, got ignored, got rejected and still got up and out there again and again and again. Why? Because being willing to fail has opened up my life and made my backbone strong. It has allowed me to be published, fall in love, live among different cultures, have deep friendships, fulfilling work, clients I love, a body of poetry I am proud of, and a resilient heart.  

I want a strong backbone and a life where the light can flood in more than I want to stay safe and in my lane.

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