“The most difficult journey is back to the place you've failed. -Max Lucado”
My biggest accomplishments were categorized by the times I've won in life. Three years after moving to America I graduated Junior High School as the Salutatorian. Then in High School, I kept winning- one accomplishment I was most proud of was my internship with the City's Youth Court. The primary offense we heard were petty larceny, fare evasion, truancy and public misconducts. In addition to my internship I was freaking hype about being 1 of 4 girls wrestling on the school's co-ed team. Most teams we wrestled were all boys. As a group of girls we were killing everyone on the mat, as a result we were published in the local newspaper as one of the few girls in New York City successfully competing with boys. My last year in college I decided at the last minute to take an internship in Washington DC to explore the possibility of becoming a lawyer. Both internship I applied for accepted me. This was another win I gladly checked off. Currently one of my biggest win is being the youngest Director in my Department- running a program with 13 staff 4 interns and 90 students.
In between these wins, I've taken some painful Ls. I was rejected from my first college pick. It was a crazy day when my boyfriend and best friend go into the University that dubbed me. After college, my first full time job terminated me a few weeks later. This was really devastating because losing wasn’t embedded in my DNA. Or if we dig deeper, me and rejection wasn’t cool. She was that distant great aunt that calls and your mom tries to get you to talk with her! Like- mom NOOOOOOOOO!!!! Talking to the great aunt was uncomfortable, you don’t really know how to engage her, so you are dismissive and reject all attempts of interaction with short answers- Yes. No.
embedded in my DNA.
Another L took place when I applied for my Masters in Higher Education, another dub. Later that year I was also rejected from a teaching fellowship and that same month demoted from a being a Head Teacher in a classroom to a Teacher's Aide. This last one made me question my value, knowledge and my passion. During each of these moments I questioned who I was and if I was on the right path. Like noooo! God why did you forsake me!!!! Yeah I know, mad dramatic. All because I never experience the Joy of Losing.
I hated the possibility of losing so much that I would end relationships before the other person did. While in college I built the courage to ask a mutual friend out via Facebook. This was before the genius creation of Facebook read receipts. Ten minutes passed and the young man did not reply. So, I saved myself the “humiliation” of waiting for his rejection and renege my invitation. (Again, here I go being mad dramatic) But I totally played myself!! Maybe we would have went on some lovely dates, gotten married and have some lovely melanin babies. LOL. I’m exaggerating but you get the point. Every opportunity you do not take is an opportunity you miss.
High key, there is a big stigma behind admitting failure. We know that even the most successful people fail. Why was it so hard for you to admit and acknowledge those moments you've failed? Is your life only defined by the moments you win?
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In today’s culture of Instagram and Facebook you only see times when others win. They believe, that their backstage isn't worth recounting. Once they are on the front stage they have amnesia and forget the process it took for them to get to the big stage. Our result driven culture does not prompt us to share our backstage stories. It looks like you went from “0 to 100 real quick.” When in reality 0 to 100 takes years of grinding, many rejections and many dusting yourself off as you get up from your last fall.
To enjoy losing you have to know that the time will come when you will take a L. And you have to feed your soul with positive affirmations and be confident in who you are prior to taking the L. Who you are isn’t defined by a moment. It isn’t defined by rejection. I want to challenge you to store words of affirmations deep in you that when the moments come that you lose you pull a some out. Surround yourself with people who won’t judge you when you take a L. But instead pick you up affirm you and give you the push you need to keep going. You only truly fail when you never get back up. "Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit."
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Until next time – Be confident. Be bold