We are raised to hate the word failure. If you fail at something - a test, a sport, a lesson, etc. - or if you are deemed a failure, then you become something to be ridiculed or pitied. But it will come as no surprise to people who have read my blogs before, or people who embrace a more entrepreneurial mindset, that failure is not something to revile. Failure is never a great thing, but failure is a great learning opportunity.
Since I started this blog and this journey to getting Archangel into actual print, I have failed many times. A lot of the times it has happened, I’ve actually blogged about it. But this one in particular is a lesson that I have learned the hard way and is now a failure I am trying to avoid: over-committing.
I think putting too much on your plate is a lesson that a lot of us have had to learn through experience. It is a fault born of ambition, passion, and drive. It is a mistake that comes from wanting to do all that you can, without realizing what your limits are.
When I first started the blog, ambition was high. I wanted to post three times a week, write a short story at least once a month, have interviews and reviews pumping out like clockwork, all while trying to wear all the hats of an indie author and working full-time. When I put it out in writing like that, it was no surprise that I was headed towards failure.
And it happened again. And again. And it will undoubtedly happen again in the future.
But while failing because you are too ambitious, because you try for too much, is disappointing, it teaches you one of the most valuable lessons I have learned (and continue to learn): you have to know your limits.
Knowing your limits isn’t easy. It isn’t that simple to be able to accept that I am unable to do something, that it is outside of my reach. But, like the failures that led to this lesson, limitations are not necessarily a bad thing.
Limitations mean that you have to focus on one or two things at a time. They mean that you can’t become sidetracked or overreach and not just fail, but harm your work, your brand, or yourself. Your failures can let you recognize what your limits are, though you do have to be willing to accept those limits. And once you do, that is when failure turns into growth.
If I had not accepted my failures and recognized my limits, then my work would suffer, my journey would suffer, and I would be a lot more unfulfilled than I am now. Yes, it kind of sucks that I can’t do everything I want, all at once. But that does not mean I cannot do those things eventually.
So I challenge you to try the things that you want to do, any and all of them. I also challenge you to start seeing failure not as a setback, but as a chance to grow. Test your limits, find out what they are, and then do everything you can to be the best you can be within those limits. And even after you have found them, never be afraid to push those very limits. By no means be complacent of your limits, I am not advocating for that! Just be aware of what you can do now, and what you can work towards after knowing that.
So that is the biggest lesson I have learned from failure during this ongoing journey of mine. But I know I’m not the only one who has failed. Leave a comment below about a time when you failed, but grew as a result.
Until next time, my friends.