When you lose, it hurts. Don’t ever look at someone and think they don’t lose. Don’t think that others don’t fall. They do. We all fail at some time. I failed today. It hurts.
In Steven King’s book On Writing, he talks about the many rejection letters he had nailed to the wall in the attic at his home. You lose 100% of the shots you don’t take. We all fail. We all fall.
I’ve been struggling with failure and falling this week. At the midpoint of a mega-app programming project with 60 of my students, I’m exhausted and pondered quitting. This morning I got a rejection notice for something I had pitched. I gave it everything I had and believed I was the best candidate. I wasn’t chosen. It nearly broke my heart. In self-pity, I considered letting it take me down. But it didn’t. I won’t let it.
Yesterday, Michael Hyatt‘s podcast on “Don’t Quit Before the Whistle Blows” was one I needed to hear. He mentioned Heather Dorniden’s 600 meter race . In the middle of this 600 meter, Heather falls FLAT ON HER FACE. Instead of limping off the track, she comes back in a Secretariat like move – WINS. You lose every race you QUIT. Every single one. You never know – sometimes when you fail and fall down – you end up winning the race you thought you had lost.
So, as I called my husband at work on the early side of 6 am to tell him my disappointment, I said,
“Well, I guess I’ll have to keep on moving ahead by working hard every single day. There’s no such thing as a ‘big break’ for me only working every single day.”
In his wisdom, Kip said,
“Welcome to life. Usually there’s no such thing as a big break or an easy win. Only very very hard work that pays off in the end.”
We all want to achieve things. For me, I have a weakness. I guess you could call it that. I love amazing people. In many ways, I’ve always attracted these amazingly busy people as my friends. I love people who overcome. I love people who defy the odds. I love people who are exceptional achievers. I want to sit at their feet and learn from them. I adore amazing. Not (usually) famous, mind you. But people who work hard every day and live exceptional lives.
- Like my 87-year-old learning lab director, Grace Adkins, who rides 120 miles A DAY on her stationary bike.
- Or my curriculum director, Betty Shiver, who convinced me to get into teaching.
- Or people like my new friend Cathy Rubin, who thinks big and dreams bigger.
- Or my friend Angela Maiers, who pushes hard to help people know they matter after the heartbreak of losing a brother who didn’t know it.
- Or my friend Kevin Honeycutt, who releases new music on iTunes that he cuts in his basement with friends (in between amazing keynotes). Yet, Kevin takes the time to draw a picture of my son on a napkin to make him feel amazing. My son, John, keeps that napkin in his room and looks at it every day.
- Or my friend Lee Kolbert, who always bravely says what needs to be said in hard situations. One time the sharks were circling me, and Lee was the only one who spoke and brought reason to the insanity.
- Or my friends at Edutopia who incessantly push to be more — Betty Ray, Kristin Franklin, and my editor Alan Lipton. I learn just from our email exchanges and Facebook group.
- Or my friend Lisa Durff, who tirelessly helps me with my inundated email box, so when I come home I can work on the main thing. When I’m exhausted, she helps me rachet down and get some rest. I’m a better person with her helping me.
- Or my friend Errol Smith, who tirelessly brings radio quality to the Internet and mentors me or his wife, Jeannette, who just knows what to say every time I talk to her.
- Or my friend Steve Dembo, who showed me Twitter all those years ago and encourages me with his life.
- Or my friend Alicia Roberts, who hosted me in her home with the most beautiful office I’ve ever seen and a gorgeous view of the Arizona desert.
- Or my dear pastor Michael Catt, who has encouraged me to keep writing as I rise from the scars of a terrible situation with another man I will not call a pastor but who had that job. He is brave and cares more about telling the truth than being popular. He brings people like Andy Andrews, Dr. Charles Lowery, and Jon Acuff to our church to inspire us. If he sees or reads someone awesome, he picks up the phone so he can introduce his church members to awesome too.
How could I consider myself a loser with friends like this (and at least 100 more that I don’t have time to write about and still make it to school this morning)? Or you — I find all these amazing people when I go to conferences and just fall in love with them.
Or you — I find all these amazing people when I go to conferences and just fall in love with them. (I’ve found that the people who RUN conferences tend to be AMAZING people by nature. They give so much and work so hard.) These epic people who live awesome lives without being on everyone’s lips or having more dollars in the bank than they have breaths to take in their life.
But the one common thing is that all of them keep going. How can I be an epic person when I let losing make me quit? How can I be like them when I hang my head and walk out of the race when I fall?
Come to think of it, how can I teach these precious students who fail every day at something if I don’t embrace my own.
The question is never, “Do I quit after this no?” It is always, “Will I keep telling myself ‘yes’?”
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@coolcatteacher”]The question is never, “Do I quit after this no?” It is always, “Will I keep telling myself ‘yes’?”[/tweetthis]
This morning as I worked out to my Daily Burn, the “True Beginner” Coach, Justin, said
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@justinrubin”]No challenge. No change. Justin Rubin[/tweetthis]
When you lose, you only have one option. Take the challenge and change. Get up and move forward so you can win. Falling down doesn’t have to be your permanent position if you get up and keep running. Getting told “no” is just one more “no” that you have behind you as you move to “yes!”
As for me, I will not quit. I will not stop. I will keep moving ahead in my calling to write, encourage, and inspire. I’ll keep moving forward into my calling to teach, encourage, and help these precious students in my care. Though I hurt, I will not blame. I will pick myself up – learn – and move ahead.
I will not quit. I will not give up.
I will survive, and I will thrive.
Fail forward. You can do this.