July 15, 2024 Donate

Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Saline

When You Fail (And You Will)

When You Fail (And You Will)

In my life, recent and past, I have failed my friends. I have failed my family. I have struck out swinging and I have watched perfect pitches cross my proverbial home plate and never swung life’s bat. I have failed gloriously in this life. The sad truth is, we all have. I think the second most frequently asked question I have asked myself in quiet moments (the first being what I would do if I ever won the lottery) is, If I had one single ‘do-over’ what would I do and why?

My friends, we all have regrets. We all fail. I can hear many of you now. Tribe of Up, huh? What a downer start to an article. Well, in failure there is hope. Some may say opportunity, but I do not always believe hope and opportunity are the same thing. Hope is born in failure if we stop for a moment, analyze where and how the failure occurred and find a path of correction. Hope, when properly prodded, produces optimism and optimism can produce opportunities to do it all better next time. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail at trying not to fail. That is ok. Hope will sprout again, and the process repeats. I have failed a great many people a great many times. I have let people down; I have not always lived up to potential and I haven’t always taken the road less traveled. If you let it, and I have let it for periods of my life, this can become mud we very much learn to enjoy wallowing in. Here is the good news my friends. Here is where this Tribe of Up has helped lift me out of the mud. A dear friend reminded me recently that even though we may have taken a few divergent paths on our road of life, we are still on the road. We get to choose the next path we take. From failure, there is hope. From hope, there is optimism and from optimism comes opportunity to succeed.

I know. It all sounds good in theory. How can we truly succeed if we have all these failures yelling at us from the backseat of our life’s vehicle? Simple. Boot them out of the car. If they will not leave, sell it. If they follow you to the next car, buy a bike. A single seater, not the old banana seats like some of us had as kids. If we try to drive down the road of life looking in the rear-view mirror, it will not take long before we crash. Recently I authored an article about forgiveness, which rewarded me with many emails and social media comments. One email reminded me of a book I have read at least a dozen times. The book, Taming Your Gremlin, by Rick Carson has taught me one of the greatest lessons in life I have ever learned. The failures of my past have zero bearings on my future. I am no longer 18-year-old Steve. I am not 32-year-old Steve either. I am (none of your business how old I am now) today-years-old Steve. Those other Steves are not here anymore. They are somewhere back in that rear-view mirror. There is no point comparing this Steve to them. Let them go. Set them down, lighten your load and get to finding successes. Will I fail again? Absolutely. Will I learn from them a little quicker and better than those earlier versions of me? You betcha! Remembering and relearning such an incredible life lesson helped me realize something else. Perhaps, I have won the lottery after all. Now that I have found (or re-found) optimism in failure once again, what will do with all this emotional currency? I think I will start by rolling the windows down, watch all those negative thoughts fly out the back windows, take a deep breath and see what awaits down the road I am on. What about you? Lay down the burdens of past failures. Go ahead, lay them down. Leave them and drive away. You may just find you have won the lottery too.


Steve is a Dexter resident and the Owner, Chief Failure Turnaround Manager, Vice President of Blind Optimism, and Head Driver of Team Hope at Better Place Consulting, a success and career coaching firm. Reach out to him at steve@betterplacemgmt.com.