The Weekly Sip has returned once again, and this week, I’m getting super honest with y’all. Not that I’m not honest in others, but this week’s topic in particular has been floating in my head for a while. I was just waiting for the right time to write and share it.
In this Weekly Sip, we’re talking about something that’s pretty terrifying: failure.
And we’re taking it head on, because the hardest things are best dealt with that way.
I haven’t been to any new drinking or sipping spots in Chattanooga lately. Life has kept me too busy to explore as much as I like to, so I’ve stuck with my tried-and-true favorites, like Wildflower Tea Shop & Apothecary (which I wrote about in a previous Weekly Sip).
Wildflower is a few blocks from my office, so one day last week I walked down and worked remotely from there for a couple hours. Sometimes a change of scenery does wonders for productivity. I got myself a personal pot of their lavender mint herbal tea and knocked out a few tasks.
I also highly recommend the Moroccan mint, jasmine green and lavender chamomile teas. Their Earl Grey lavender also sounds amazing, and I bet it makes a great latte.
A couple weeks ago, I tried to make French macarons. I’ve made them once before, and they weren’t perfect, but they weren’t the worst thing I’ve ever baked. Since my first attempt wasn’t a total disaster, I really hoped that my second try would be a lot better.What a disastrous batch of macarons taught me about failure Click To Tweet
I was in a fall-type mood, even though this experiment happened before the official autumnal equinox. So I thought that cinnamon spice shells with an orange buttercream filling would be a nice treat. My first meringue never stiffened up, so I poured it out and started over. The second meringue fluffed up nicely, and I thought I was about to make the best macarons I’d ever make in my life.
Y’all, they were an absolute wreck. I’ve baked a lot in my life, and I haven’t made anything quite as disastrous as those macarons.
My batter was way too runny, most likely a result of over-mixing and deflating the meringue. One of the YouTube bakers I follow said that there’s no coming back from that, and he’s right. I tried to bake the shells anyway; maybe I could salvage one macaron out of it. Most of the shells either stuck to the baking paper on the sheet, or broke and crumbled when I tried to take them off.
But, my orange buttercream frosting (that was supposed to be the filling) was amazing. So at least one part of my baking endeavor worked out.
I wasn’t even that upset that my actual macarons didn’t turn out. I was more upset that my second attempt at them was way, way worse than my first. Isn’t the second try supposed to be better? Why did I fail to make better macarons the second time?Failure is terrifying but it's a necessary part of life Click To Tweet
Failure is terrifying, but it’s a part of life. Nothing is done perfectly the first time. We can’t possibly know everything about a project, task or other efforts right off the bat to do it perfectly the first time, or even the second time. No matter how many times you have to try something, each try is a learning opportunity. I learned what I needed to change after my first attempt at macarons, and I certainly learned what else NOT to do after round two.
As a creative, I face failure, to some degree, on almost a daily basis. Whether it’s presenting new ideas at your job or sharing your work with others or submitting your art for publication, you make yourself, your thoughts, your passions, your stories vulnerable and open it up to rejection. That R-word is pretty scary, too. The thought of someone saying “no” to your work is discouraging. And then they actually do say no, and it’s hard for it to not feel personal. But more often than not, it’s not personal, and you just have to compartmentalize. And I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with the compartmentalizing part.
But even as scary as the thought of failure or rejection is, you can’t let the possibility of failing hold you back. If you let the fear of not succeeding get to you, you’ll never move forward or grow. You won’t learn from what you’ve done.
If you’re too scared to send your essay to that magazine, your story may never be told.
If you’re afraid your boss will shoot your idea down, so you don’t present it, you may miss a chance at something grand for a client or other project.Failure is hard to talk about, but it's necessary. Click To Tweet
And it’s not limited to your work or your art. If you’re too afraid to leave an uneasy situation for fear of what you do next not working out, then it’ll be that much harder to finally break out later.
If the fear of failure is holding you back from taking your next step, or finally making a leap you’ve been thinking about for a while, then take some time to reflect and think about why you’re afraid of failing, or what about taking those steps makes you afraid.
Most of all, remember that it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all. If you do fail, you’ve learned something and can do something differently, and likely better, next time. So I challenge you to think about what happened, why it didn’t go as you hoped, and what you can change to ensure more success next time.
Don’t fear failing. Instead, embrace what you can learn from it. Embrace how it will make you a better person.
The bottom line is that failure is a necessity to personal and professional growth. Look at failure as an opportunity for improvement moving forward.
What words of wisdom do you have for dealing with failure?