"Reading about other people’s failures and successes only goes so far. Sooner or later you have to start succeeding and failing first-first hand." -Isaiah Hankel
"Fail, fail again, fail better." - Samuel Beckett
I am often asked to give public speeches. Typically, the request is to fill a spot for a monthly meeting and the person making the request has that on their to-do list; find a speaker.
I ask, “What would you like me to talk about?” They will often say they don’t care, they just heard I was a good speaker. Hmmmm?
Once I was asked to do a ‘motivational’ speech. I said, “I don’t do that.” Then, the person said, “Just tell your story…your life story and how you overcame something.” I said, “I don’t really do that either.” She didn’t care at that point, so I agreed to come up with something of interest.
My passion is connection.
Connecting people to themselves, connecting them to each other, and connecting all of us to something bigger. The something that connects all of us and gives us a sense of oneness, purpose, and meaning.
The quotes from Hankel and Beckett spoke to me because it takes courage to fail. I’m better at talking about failure and telling true stories of my own learning. I have been in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the years. It has never really bothered me.
Of course, I get nervous, but I taught in the public schools for 25 years and none of my public speaking comes close to some of the things that happened in my classrooms with children with behavioral issues. So, I don’t expect anyone to run up and physically hurt me or call me foul names.
That said, it still takes courage.
Speaking your truth always takes courage.
I say “speak your truth even when your voice is shaking.” And, for me, it is almost always shaking when it is something I care about that feels very vulnerable.
We learn from our setbacks, mistakes, disappointments, and failures. We learn to be resilient, have a reasonable perspective, and continue to show up for the sake of something that really matters to us.
What matters to me is connection. I believe we are meant to be connected to ourselves, each other, Mother Earth, the unseen world of spirit and inspiration, and that there is a purpose in having a precious human life.
The question is: "What is your ‘for the sake of’?"
What matters so much that you continue to say yes to it even in the face of potential failure?