and ramblings on everything in between
Last September, I submitted my first piece of work to the annual Real Simple Life Lessons Essay Contest. Because I’m a self-centered, egotistical writer, I thought I was going to win. Like, for sure going to win. I was going to be the girl who was published on her first attempt. I was going to laugh at others who had been writing for 10 years and never been published. I was going to take my prize money and run with it.
I didn’t win.
And because I’m a self-centered, egotistical writer, I refused to read the winning essay when it was published in April. I was almost mad when I first saw it. So I read everything before the essay and everything after it and tossed the magazine to the side. Curiosity got the best of me a few days later. I was in tears by the end of the essay. The winning author was wonderful and inspiring. She deserved to win.
As a former professional signer, Adrienne Starr decided to stop singing one day out of the blue. She had no reason to stop; she just walked out of an audition and gave up. She described the deep regret she felt after losing her beautiful voice post cancer treatments. The part that got me, the part I can’t stop thinking about, is this:
Allow for the possibility of failure. Give yourself room for disappointment. It will never compare with the sense of loss you feel when you no longer have a choice.
There are so many things we think of doing someday and hope to accomplish eventually, but most of those aspirations die a quick death. We think we’ll do it later and tackle it when things are easier. As an almost 30-something, I think there’s plenty of time. But a 50-something once shared with me that she thought there was plenty of time when she was in her 30s, too. But then 20 years went by and she never got to where she wanted to go. It never got easier. It was never the perfect time to make it happen.
I’m sure we can all come up with 20 reasons why we don’t make the decisions we want to make. And I bet all of us would place failure close to the top of the list. A friend and I were just discussing how much we crave approval from others. We don’t want to look like a failure in their eyes, even if we never look like a failure in our own.
So how do we get past that fear of failing and jump already?
Jon Lilley recently shared a two-part post on making decisions. He provided some Biblical truths for deciding to do this or not do that. A few of them include determining if it conflicts with scripture and committing to the decision once it’s been made.
The Paradox of Choices: Why More Is Less reminds readers that pros and cons are not always of equal weight. Ten cons might not stack up to the loss you will feel when you no longer have a choice, as Adrienne points out. This book also encourages individuals to keep looking forward after they have made a decision instead of mulling over what they could have done instead. We all know it won’t make the outcome any different.
Where there is plenty to lose, there is also plenty to gain. Where there is disappointment, there is also success. Where there is fear, there is also bravery. It’s all in how you look at it, what you’re willing to do with it, and how you’re able to grow from it. Falling down only hurts for a little bit. And you get a better view of the sun from that angle, anyway.
Click here to read Adrienne’s essay titled “And Now, for an Encore.”