9.26.2014

3 Lessons from Failure.

I gave up last week.
After a few months of hard work, sacrificing my precious free time to debtbust, 
I.just.quit.
 
My excuse? 
Quitting was my natural reaction to failure.
Failure quotes, John C. Maxwell, The Goldrush Blog
Thanks for your input, John C. Maxwell, but listen to my story before you unleash your monumental quotes on me.
You see...

I worked diligently for weeks, preparing to sell goods at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. On the day of the flea market temperatures reached 103° Fahrenheit in Pasadena, and customers were sparse.  Shoppers who braved the heat moved with sloth-like lethargy and easily passed up anything without the label "Ice Cold Beverage." The results were dismal; I barely broke even after I paid the hefty seller's fee.

At the end of the experience I thought, “What’s the use?  If I were to take a second job, at least I would be guaranteed a paycheck at the end of a weekend of hard work.”     

That night, completely despondent,  I went to bed at 7pm. 

In the week to follow I averted my eyes from bleached denim or anything in the tie dye family; the pain was just too great.

Pouty and rebellious, I avoided blogging and sewing by packing my social calendar and abandoned my budget to enjoy lavish dinners. Anyone feel like lobster?
Failure quotes, Trishawna Quincy, The Goldrush Blog
You can quote me on that.  
You should also try other forms of escapism such as watching T.V. and going to bed before sunset.
Failure quotes, John C. Maxwell, The Goldrush Blog
Ok, ok, I get it, John C. Maxwell, I need to take this in stride.
Failure quotes, Winston Churchill, The Goldrush Blog
Thanks for chiming in, Winston.
You wise men are both right.
I may have taken the week off to wallow,
 but I'm ready to get back up and fight.

Here are some 3 lessons I learned from failure...

Lesson 1: I can't blame myself for circumstances outside of my control, but I should take responsibility for the things that are. 
The high temperatures and sparse shoppers were out of my control, but I can examine the situation for things I can do better. Perhaps my price points were too high for this venue?  Perhaps the Rose Bowl is not a good venue for my goods? Perhaps I should have sold ice water? 
According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, if a person takes responsibility for his/her mistakes, he/she is more likely to learn from them and improve future performances.  The article also says we learn MORE from our failures than our successes. Well, dang, look at my brain grow from all that failure!
Lesson 2: Failure is inevitable if I want to be successful. The key is to learn from each failure and persevere accordingly.  If I persevere and continue to fall short, that failure will force me into a more fitting direction for myself.
In her 2008 commencement speech to Harvard graduates JK Rowling credits utter failure in everything else for her success in writing. It was when she was impoverished just above the point of homelessness that she began to write Harry Potter:
...failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. (Harvard Gazette)
JK Rowling quote, failure quote
 Lesson 3: God's got this.  
I've been praying for wisdom on how to proceed.  A friend of mine shared with me Proverbs 8, in which wisdom is personified and says rad things like, 
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.
Then another friend reminded me about the Year of Jubiliee. I’ve already been calling this MY year of Jubilee, which in Jewish tradition is the ritual of canceling debts every seven years.  It’s been seven years since I accrued the majority of my debt, so it’s about dang time for some Jubilee.  What I didn’t know is according to the Jewish calendar, the year that we are entering this week, is ACTUALLY the year of Jubilee.  So that’s a great excuse for God to do a miracle.  The calendars are aligning, yo. I am returning to the verse I shared with you last month, “Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit declares the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6) I will get up from spooning with this tree, do my part and watch for a miracle.
Henry Ford Quote, Failure quote
JK Rowling quote original source: Harvard Gazette
(I recommend you read the whole speech.)
Many of my quotes were harvested from Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell.
I listened to the audiobook this last week, and it really helped me put this setback into perspective. Plus, the book is read by the author, who has the voice of a warm-hearted grandfather.  Grab some Werther's Originals and give it a listen.

3 comments:

  1. Way to get back on the horse, friend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This pics need to hit more blogs. I like. Proud of you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Teeks-- Job said "He knows the way that I take, and when He has tested me I shall come forth as gold." XOXO!

    ReplyDelete