The Courage to Fail
I'm not big on failing. I come by it naturally. In a family of achievers, I wanted to succeed. I can remember bringing my report card home and being asked, "A B is nice. Why didn't you get an A?" Before we get too harsh with my parents, I know this was done in love. I know this was to motivate me to do my best and give it my all. In most cases, if I had worked harder and stopped procrastinating, maybe I could have gotten an A.
But that's the past. This is now. Now is the time that I really don't like to fail. I like to do what I do with excellence. I like to know that I've got command on the situation. That I'm a professional. That I know what I'm doing.
If there's anything that will expose this faster than fire spreads it would be starting your own business. Not advised if you fear a little failing.
Truth is, I've been challenged on this road to entrepreneurship. Challenged to let go of what I think of as my "image". Let go of what others think. Mostly, I need to let go of doing it right the first time. Sometimes, you just need to fail to learn to succeed.
As you can imagine, it was a little surprising for me when I attempted a coaching appointment and it didn't go well. After all, I have all the tools. I've been trained. I've been practicing. I've had people coming to my house for coaching. I expected to have huge break-throughs. I'm pretty sure the client left without a break-through.
Which started me on my thoughts: Am I failing? Should I abandon ship?
Luckily for me, this line of questioning only lasted a moment. I picked myself up and proceeded to list what I would do different next time. I noted what I needed and what my client needed. It's a process after all.
But what shocked me was my surprise. I'm always surprised that I've failed and yet fully aware of my humanity. And while I would never say it out loud, I put tremendous pressure on myself to do it right the first time. To always get the A. To impress those around me with my stellar skills.
And yet, our greatest lessons come through failure. We learn from our mistakes. We adapt when we get do overs. Which makes me think: do I have the courage for the failure ahead? Can I embrace failing boldly so I can learn and become all that God wants me to be?
I'm not sure where we got the idea to become perfectionists. Scripture is clear. God works through our failure. He teaches us through our mistakes. He woos us when we are at the end of our rope. Will we embrace that God does His best work in us when we need His help?
Abraham lied and told the ruling king that Sarah was his sister, not once but twice. God came to his rescue and provided for him. David had an affair. Gideon got cocky after defeating the enemy. Paul persecuted the church before he joined it. The list is endless. God continues to grow us through failure.
One foot faith is a faith that has the courage to fail. It embraces failure and is unafraid to say failure is not the end; it's the beginning. One foot faith knows that God's love supersedes our failure. One foot faith embraces mistakes as a chance to grow and change and learn. One foot faith learns to love who we are and who we are becoming in the face of our shortcomings.
Now, more than ever, I'm learning to let go of my need to do it right the first time. I'm walking in a way that acknowledges that failure is not the end but the beginning. Won't you join me?