If You Really Want to Succeed At Anything, You've Got To Be Okay With This

If you really want to succeed at anything, you’ve got to be okay with failure. Loss. Defeat. Mistakes.

Ooh, LaTisha, that is a tough one.

  • I’d rather eat dirt.
  • I don’t like to lose.
  • I hate admitting defeat.
  • I will go out of my way to avoid failure, even if that means I never move forward in my life.
  • I cannot bear the shame and embarrassment that accompanies making a mistake.

Sound somewhat familiar? All of us have some level of aversion to the one thing that we actually need to be okay with in order to succeed at anything in life.

The truth of the matter is that we can’t win all the time, even though we want to. Believe me, I know all about it.

When I was in fourth grade, I played softball at Lake Air Little League. We were a great group of players AND we lost every single game that season.

Every. Single. Game.

It’s been so long that I can’t even tell you why. Was it bad coaching? Were we that terrible? Did the umpires have it out for us? Were our uniforms too tight, therefore cutting off our circulation? Who’s to say? I honestly don’t remember.

I only remember the feeling of losing. “Man, this sucks.” Some games we’d get really close and then blow it. We all hated the feeling.

After every weekday game, I’d go home, have dinner, and be with my family. I’d take a bath. Go to bed. Wake up. It was a new day. I didn’t die of shame. No one made fun of me (probably because they were low key scared of me. I ain’t never been a punk, boo). My life went on. Softball didn’t define me. My performance didn’t determine my worth.

I realize this experience shaped the way I view going after what I want and potentially failing.

Every single failure (perceived or not) turned out to be a profound pivot that set me on my unique path --

  • I didn’t get into Harvard. AND. Agnes Scott College absolutely changed my life.
  • I didn’t land any gigs in the Atlanta Hip-Hop/R&B music business scene. AND. When the opportunity to work with in the Latin music business fell into my lap, I took my talents to Dade County.
  • My life in Miami crashed and burned. I’m talking my career, my finances, my relationship, my housing situation. I was depressed and felt hopeless. I was ashamed and embarrassed. AND. I came back to Texas and rebuilt my life. The people that loved me the most got me thru the worst experience I’ve ever had. I found out that I wasn’t alone and I was deeply loved. I went from running a boutique record label working with the hottest new Latin artist of that period to advising HVAC and Welding students as a Career Development Coach. I learned that my life’s purpose really is to help people take center stage in their lives. I dug myself out of $20,000 of debt and spent more time with my mom in 6 months than I had in almost 10 years.
  • I didn’t get into the MBA programs at UT Austin, Emory University, or NYU. AND. I disproved a major self-limiting belief about not being good with numbers at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

I could’ve let my failures and my mistakes define me. I could’ve said, “Well, that’s all I got. There’s no point in even trying to get out of bed. I really f’d everything up. People will laugh at me and die of shame. Put a fork in me, I’m done.”

Resilience and reframing failure are two skills you’re gonna need if you want to do anything worthwhile in your life. Getting back up and asking yourself, “What did I learn? What could I have done better? Where do I want to go from here?” will get you out of the funk and take the sting out of rejection and failure.

Don’t get it twisted, boo. It’s hard. It never gets easier.

Even now, when I make a mistake or fail at something, I cringe inside. However, I remember my fourth grade softball experience and I know that, as long as I do my best to make things right and get back up when I fall, I am always on my own unique path.

Now it’s your turn. Comment below and tell me about a time you failed. What did you learn from this experience? How has it shaped the way you view your world?

I’m cheering for you. Like you just had an RBI.

From the Front Row,