"Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success"
- Arianna Huffington, Huffingtonpost
Failure. Everyone is afraid of failure, whether it is the humiliation of missing the shot, the shame of not getting the job/promotion, or the embarrassment of personal rejection. It is this very fear that prevents us from taking the necessary step to achieve our potential or paralyzing us from enjoying the process. Honestly, I have been scared of failing at every stage of developing our Spring event: forming the leadership team, interviewing and writing the report, structuring the content of the workshops, raising enough money, and now, marketing the event. I did lose a few nights of sleep. I was basically afraid that I would let everyone down, the volunteers, facilitators, sponsors, and directors. I was so anxious and desperate that I couldn't enjoy meeting with some of the leaders of the nonprofit organizations in Colorado.
I had to step away from this paradigm in which success can be quantified into a number. Because ultimately, the success of the workshops is not tied to a number but their effectiveness in encouraging any number of participants to become leaders in their community. But it is hard to undo this paradigm and I struggle to just let go and enjoy the process. It is unfortunate because I have met and will continue to meet some amazing people on this journey.
People say that failure is not the opposite of success. It isn’t. The opposite of success is not trying. This is true. Yet there is no guarantee that trying will eventually develop into success. There is no such guarantee. But you will likely be more successful trying than not trying. This is even truer. However, if one fails while trying, one is faced with a possibility that one is inadequate. And this, the realization of our shortcomings or of our mediocrity, is scary. If I had not tried, I could still believe in the fantasy that I am brilliant, a genius, or whatever we would like to believe about ourselves. Yet there is no growth in our fantasy life. We are cardboard figures in our imagination. And no one, absolutely no one will benefit from this cardboard figure.
Try. Maybe we succeed, maybe we don’t. Most likely, we will fail a million times before we succeed. Or perhaps not. But one thing is true. We will know our strengths, our weaknesses better than we ever have. Second or the 100th time around, we will be more effective in our roles. And yes, it will be scary. But we will be stronger and definitely more beneficial to our communities. This is why we live so we can better serve our communities.
It is amazing how every year around Spring, flowers, plants, and trees try to bloom under the weight of snow. If they don’t try to bloom against the freezing temperature, they will not be able to display their beautiful colors and form. Yes, some petals and leaves freeze, fall off, or die but some eventually do bloom. And the world is better when plants bloom and do not hold back. They make everyone smile and bask in their glory. And thank God, they just push forward, excited for Spring rather than hesitate, afraid of the freezing snow.
Founder. Executive Director
March. 1, 2018