Let’s talk about failure!
What do we do when outcomes do not meet our expectations?
Do we alter our expectations to meet the fruit of our efforts? Do we internalize perceived defeats as a challenge to double down even harder - to persist? Do we pivot and try something new - employ a different strategy?
I struggle with failure at the end of the year, when the books get balanced and the tally marks scratched into the wax of this year’s tablet. All of the hard work, effort, hopes, and dreams get boiled down into numbers that may break your heart.
How much longer can we go like this? When is a business failing, and when is it pushing through the weeds, over the bumps, and up the steep learning curves?
At times like this, all I can do is feel the fire in my belly that pushes me forward to the next day - to the next painting, blog, strategy, and hope. (Maybe this one will work.)
I say, “ Here I am - today - in this moment. This is what I have to offer the world.”
And I can feel good about that - one hundred percent satisfied. I may be losing by some metrics, but I embrace that loss if I know that I am doing work that I feel good about.
It’s at times like this that I keep thinking about the blue, weedy chicory plant that miraculously bloomed in the barren dirt patch that is my front yard, left by an excavator that disturbed the top soil and removed its greenery.
I was so happy to have this singular chicory plant find its way to my dull yard - to bring its beauty there, but to my disappointment, that night, a deer snatched the blue flower off its stem!
My spirits sank. “So much for that!” I thought, but the next day, there was a new blossom flowering on a different spot on the plant. Hope springs! Well, it got eaten during its first night, too! Then, the day after, a new bloom would arise, and it would go on like that throughout the whole Summer. “Here I am!” it would say, and then, “Now I am gone!” Then again, “Here I am!”
Eventually, a second and third chicory plant found rooting. By the end of Summer, there were three tough, weedy chicory plants in my mostly barren yard. Maybe this Summer the three plants will give rise to a few more. And maybe after several Summers, there would be more than enough chicory plants blooming in my front yard that I will not be able to refer to it as barren anymore, and maybe then there will be so many that we won’t mind losing some to the deer.
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.