By Guest SM Writer & Best-Selling Author Christie Gardiner
Let’s talk about failure. Today, I failed. I was up for a writing fellowship at a prestigious writer’s program in Virginia. The application process took months and submission requirements required me to write the same number of words as one of my books. This fellowship would have taken my career as a writer to new places I very much want to explore. I found out this morning I wasn’t awarded the fellowship.
In our home, we normalize failure as much as we can. We talk about it openly and even have a trophy to celebrate it. We believe if you want to become the person you are capable of being, you have to take risks and I don’t know one person who has risked and eluded failure’s unavoidable grasp.
I am a creative. I write, perform, create courses, host a show. One might argue that by virtue of being an artist one submits themselves to failure. While it may be true that my line of work exposes me to failure on a more regular basis, the reality is, we are all creatives. No matter how we show up in the world we are creating the people we will become.
If becoming is the destination, failure is an inescapable road along the way.
While normalizing failure can lessen its sting, there is no way to eradicate its pain completely. I feel my failures. Every one. I don’t numb out or pretend I don’t care. I let myself hurt. I feel it fully then celebrate because I know the painful pit failure carves in my heart will soon be full of the joy from my next success. Both failures and successes are my teachers. (Read “On Joy and Sorrow” by Khalil Gibran and Rudyard Kipling’s “If”).
It’s no secret I like living big. I want to be as big, bright, beautiful, and full of life as God needs me to be and I want to inspire everyone around me to be their own big, beautiful selves. But big lives come with a lot of falling on our behinds. Please know that for every shiny success I may share there are many more failures behind it!
I invite you to failure. I invite you to fall and hurt and be embarrassed. I invite you to spend months writing and not get the fellowship, to bomb the audition for your dream role, to not get the gig, to say all the wrong things. At the ends of those failures, you just might write an award winning book, land the dream role anyway, get a different gig that’s better for you, say just the right things. And oh, how sweet are those days! What about it then? Are you willing to take the road of failure? If so, know I’ll be here…just in case you need a hand to help you up and a voice to cheer you on.