*warning, spoiler alerts!
I was watching So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD to regular watchers), and after Gabby performed a contemporary routine (my favorite style) with all-star Robert, I had tears running down my cheeks. It was absolutely breathtaking, and my money is on her to win.
But, if you haven’t watched the show from the beginning, you wouldn’t know that Gabby almost didn’t make it to the Vegas round. She had auditioned in one city and did not get a ticket to Vegas. In an interview, she said she was really nervous and didn’t make the right song choice. But determination compelled her to fly to another city and audition again…this time, killing it! She made the top 20 and is now in the top 4, and has proven week after week what an amazing and beautiful dancer she is.*
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill
I think there is a big misconception out there that people who are wildly successful must have been born with perhaps something you were not: brains, beauty, athletic ability, artistic talent, etc. Or maybe they were born into the “right family” and had opportunities that you did not.
All of the above may be absolutely true and might have helped contribute to their success, but the good news for all of us “not-so-gifted” types is, we have just as much opportunity to succeed as anyone else. And in fact, I think if you have failed…a lot, you have an even better chance of being a successful human being overall…in life, work, relationships, etc. Because you know for certain what doesn’t work, and you also become more gracious in success because you appreciate it so much more.
And for the record, those wildly successful people also probably failed…a lot!
Where I sit right now, failure in my life has been one of my greatest assets as a mid-40-something. I have so many great stories of failure in my life, I actually plan on writing a (comedic) book about it one day. But when you are younger and more impressionable, failure can tend to make people fall off the deep end, especially if they believe that that one, two, or three bad experiences make you who you are. Or they send you back into that safe cocoon.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
Tonya meet Failure, Failure, Tonya
1. All throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I was about the least athletic person you’d ever me. I was chubby, ate tons of junk food daily, and was the quintessential last kid picked for every sport.
2. Also in school I was a mediocre student at best. I hardly ever studied or worked hard, and my high school guidance counselor told me I should skip college and just go to business school.
3. In my late 20’s I moved to LA from Seattle to work as a film editor at a movie trailer company, a job many of my peers were extremely envious that I got. The job was a nightmare and I hated every second of it, and decided to quit and move back to Seattle after only six months.
4. As a newbie and unexpected freelancer (after I was laid off in 2008), I proceeded to blow through my savings (and go into debt) not looking for jobs, taking beach volleyball classes, and going out to eat with all the new people I was meeting. Oh, and throw in a couple trips too. And a brief stint as a life coach in training.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling
All of these experiences make me who I am today, and help lead me better prepared into any new venture in my life that I take on. Plus they make for really interesting stories! And nothing about any of those situations makes me a bad, stupid, fat, lazy, or useless person. They were all incredible growth experiences (although truthfully as I’m older I’d prefer less of those-lol).
I hate to say it, but I find perfection boring. If you were an athletic child who made straight A’s, went to Harvard, founded a startup at age 21, became a billionaire at age 27, got married, had 2.5 kids and a golden retriever, and had smooth sailing for your whole life until you died…well then, you’re probably a liar, or a pretty boring sonofabitch.
Having embraced failure, I now love the motto that if you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough in life. You aren’t taking risks. You aren’t putting yourself out there or trying something new. You’re playing it way too safe!
The good news is, some of the greatest people in our time were huge “failures”! So if you do fail, you’re in good company!
The truth is I still fail, like, daily. Half the time I’m winging it as a freelancer! But one thing I can probably never say about myself is that I didn’t try and take risks. Go big or go home, right?
How have you failed, or are you afraid to fail? C’mon! Embrace it! Whoo-hoooo!
*BTW Jaja, also in the top four, did not make the top 20 last year, but came back and tried again and finally made it.