I Got Back Up Again

In order for greatness to emerge, there must be periods of not-so-greatness. The words are written on a strip across the top of my computer to remind me that not only is failure inevitable, it is a necessary part of learning and creating.

In my life, I have learned more from my mistakes and failures than from my successes. It is an atmosphere of choice, really.  As humans we go to excruciating lengths to avoid mistakes. We want to hide our failures, tuck them away in places no one can see, run away and never look back, and lower our heads because we didn’t measure up to society’s standard.

Failure is the most important part of the creative process. Kristen Anderson-Lopez, along with her husband Robert, wrote the song “Let It Go!” I’ve sung it 100,000 times with my granddaughter. It is the theme song from the movie Frozen. Actually, I could play the part of Elsa if Disney ever needed a stand-in – I’ve seen it that many times. When the directors heard the song, they actually changed the ending of the movie. Apparently, Elsa was going to stay bad and never come to grips with her power to freeze things. Because of Anderson-Lopez’s song, the character of Elsa was changed. Do you know how many songs she submitted before “Let It Go?” Seventeen.

#1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 were turned down. 17 NO’s. 17 rejection letters. 17 failures.

#1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 opportunities to learn. 17 chances. 17 experiences to get it right.

It’s all in the way it is viewed. Let it go…there’s quite a meaning just in those words alone. Let go of the fear which is causing you not to try something new and different. There is a terrifying stigma to be wrong; yet, when approached properly, being wrong, messing up, seeing something fail is the consequence of having the courage to do something new, to take a risk, to attempt to fly.

When we untangle the good and bad of failure, we realize the beneficial growth of trying.

If you manage people, are a parent, work as a teacher in some capacity, if you can hear nothing else, please take these words away from this post: Part of your job is to encourage risks. Greatness comes as a consequence of not-so-greatness. Don’t suppress it – encourage it. Allow those around you to experience failure.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Do not judge me by my successes, but by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

I want to be the one at the end of my life to say, “I got back up again…”



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