Have you ever truly ‘failed’?
In school we learn about Thomas Edison, who was deemed not suitably productive then went on to hold more than 1,000 patents. We read about Oprah’s climb to success from an abrupt end at her then job in television to a net worth of nearly $3 billion. We discuss Stephen King and R. H. Macy and Sir Isaac Newton.
We cover these entrepreneurs and creatives not to dwell on their ‘failures’ or shortcomings, but to understand their approach.
What if we didn’t look at failure as a stagnant place to avoid with trepidation and instead approached it as part of the journey? How would it feel if you told yourself that failure isn’t possible because it doesn’t exist?
So-called ‘failure’ may manifest in many forms – a quiet launch, a botched project, an idea that is never fully formed. Instead of designating those steps as ‘failure’, what if we labeled them as an essential piece of the journey? A learning moment that reveals the true meaning of our work.
How would you approach your business or your passion projects if you knew that every step shows progress? That they allow you to get at the crux of your work – your why.
‘Failure’ can hinder or it can empower.
I chose the latter, opting for reflection and pressing pause with intention. When I first launched idlewide with my co-founder, it was meant to serve as a space for women who want to thrive while working for themselves. Enter March 2020. Enter a global pandemic. Enter a project that didn’t feel right in its then-current state.
Yet, I didn’t want to let go.
It wasn’t because of the personal funds we poured in or the hours spent planning for the year before we launched. It was because I knew what it could be. I knew that it brought me joy and could do the same for others.
We didn’t let so-called ‘failure’ hold us back. We leaned into it, let it fuel a new vision and new iteration of idlewide. I do the same for my business, Well Kept. What if a service doesn’t resonate? What if a product doesn’t perform as I thought it would.
Who cares? Me, and only me.
I thank ‘failure’ for bringing me closer to my big idea, my purpose – my why. There are others out there doing work similar to mine, yet our work products and output will never be identical. Only I can produce the work I produce, the same goes for all other like-minded entrepreneurs. I am the differentiator, as are you.
When you encounter so-called ‘failure’, know that those moments of truth reinforce your adaptability, your journey to what’s right for you. Each brings a glimmer of clarity. Pressing pause showed me what could be and allowed me to reach for it. What if I had deemed it a complete and utter ‘failure’ instead of an opportunity for success and an avenue for joy?
I encourage you to strengthen your relationship with ‘failure’ and to leverage it to chip away at the uncertainty.
Though they weren’t the first to fly, think of these two iconic engineers:
“The Wrights’ insatiable curiosity and love of truth enabled them to bring to bear on the multifaceted problem of flight the full range of their capacities as human beings in ways that others could not.” 
Don’t quiet your insatiable curiosity, nurture it. Explore ‘failure’, sit in it, let it show you where to go from here.