failing up

i have this fear of failure. it's a big fear. it holds me back from various things far more often than i'd like to admit. peter and i have had so many conversations about it over the years.

i like to be in control. i like to know what's going to happen. and i hate it when my expectations aren't met. coaching has been teaching me that there are so many things i cannot control. even though i'm not on the field, in the game, any time they lose i feel like i failed them as a coach.

peter and i have been talking recently about potentially starting an online store. it would basically be things that i like. i would be the buyer, start with accessories, and see what happens. the thing is, i'm afraid of starting it, and wasting a bunch of money just to watch it fail.

i cannot discern if what is holding me back is wisdom from God -- answering the prayers that i've prayed about this with a "no" -- or just me afraid to fail.

one of my favorite quotes [i have a lot of them] is from a rascal flatts song. "life throws you curves, but you learn to swerve." and it's funny because it's true. the thing is, you don't learn to swerve the first time. the first time a curve is thrown we tend to crash & burn.

i remember one of the first turns i tried to make while learning to drive. i was driving my dad's car - he was in the front seat, and my brother was in the back. my dad was telling me when you're turning, especially with right turns, you don't always have to come to a complete stop before turning. i proceeded to try to make a right turn without applying much of the brake at all. we didn't crash & burn, but that had more to do with my dad reaching over and grabbing the wheel than with my stellar driving skills.

the next time though, i got the turn right. i got the curve right. it's not that life throws curves and we can immediately navigate them like jason bourne miraculously can in the bourne series. it's that we learn. and sometimes we have to get it wrong before we can get it right.



life takes growth. and growth is painful. sometimes it's so painful that you're scraping the depths of your being, and you don't think you'll ever be who you are again.

but if you give it long enough. if you hold on just enough, you're not only who you are again, but you're a deeper, richer, fuller, more whole version of you.

it doesn't make the process any less difficult. it doesn't make the lessons easier to learn while you're in the midst of them. but the process is so important.

growth is so very important.

c.s. lewis has a most truthful quote - "experience: that most brutal of teachers. but you learn, my God do you learn."

sometimes we have to experience the hard stuff to appreciate the good stuff. sometimes we have to fail to truly understand the meaning of success. sometimes the process helps us appreciate the end result.

in this country, in our culture, we don't like processes. [but we'll have to save this for a different day.]

peter likes to say [i do have a most brilliant husband...] that when you fail, it's important to fail up. failure happens to everyone, but it's no excuse not to take calculated risks. and failure does not make something a complete failure. if you fail, don't allow yourself to simply fail -- if you have to fail, fail purposefully. fail in such a way that you learn from it. take everything you can, and adjust how you do it the next time. use the experience.


the thing is, we don't like pain - pain hurts. and yet we all want to grow. but growth doesn't happen without growing pains.

so go, fail.
just remember
to fail up.


  1. Kate - good stuff! It's important to learn from our failures so that we don't repeat them. Continue to ask "What went wrong" so you can identify how to not make the same mistake next time!!!



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