Posts Tagged ‘ failure ’

Somebody Has Probably Defeated Your Demon

Today I want to talk about demons.  Personal ones.  The worst/most embarrassing/most limiting/most difficult-to-overcome kind.  To make it easier for you to confront yours, I thought it would help if I told you about one of mine.  


Every Demon Has An Angel To Defeat It.

How many of you out there feel like a fraud for no apparent reason?  I’m not talking about how you “embellished” on your resume to get your foot in the door to that completely-unrelated-to-your-skillset job back in 2010.   If you gave her blank stares when she asked you about diodes, any HR person worth their salt can tell that your version of “complex electrical systems troubleshooting” probably consisted of trying to figure out why the lamp over the pool table quit working during the game.  They probably gave you the job because you wore a tie, and could hold a conversation while smiling.  But I don’t mean that.

I mean that no matter who I am surrounded by, it occurs to me that I am an expert on very few things, and, theoretically, should have no reason to position myself on those things that I haven’t done for as long.  And yet, I do.

I am an expert in the field of aviation, a relative expert in the fields of real estate and music, and an armchair expert on politics and world happenings (same as everyone else *wink*).  I am also a self-proclaimed expert at communication–the way I communicate with people is not by accident, and the way you communicate with somebody shouldn’t be, either.  I work very hard to serve those I have chosen to at a very high level, but even still–something bothers me a couple of times a week, at least.

I have overcome personal demons in the past; for example, I finally quit smoking for good about eight years ago (on the ninth time I tried), and I’ve cut back my liquor consumption pretty dramatically over the last few months (I’m working to make that stick).  I can confidently say to someone, “Well, if you want to quit smoking, then do this, this, and this.  Just do it.  What are you waiting for?”  What I can’t say yet is, “Well, if you want to become wealthy, do this and that and this, then repeat,”–and the reason is because I haven’t done it yet, and have no credibility to dispense the advice.  I’m learning on it.  I’m planning on it.  I’m working on it.  But I’m not there yet, and it annoys me.  It’s a demon of mine because I feel like anyone I talk to can see right through my goals to the reality of my life right now, and it undercuts my ability to be confident.  It’s like when you “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”…well, if I showed up to work in a hangar wearing a suit (completely opposite of the uniform we’d normally wear to work on planes), my colleagues would be asking me, “What are you doing?  You work down here, with the rest of us.”  They know what my life is like on a daily basis, which is part of the reason it’s so hard to break away and change to begin with.   

Just because I struggle with this particular demon (among others) doesn’t mean I’m doubting that I’ll achieve my goals, or that I’m so worried that people don’t take me seriously that I cower in bed and cry myself to sleep each night.  I function during the day like each of you do–responding to stimuli, working to be better at something, struggling to fight against the pull of whatever your demon is.  As a best friend of mine once said, “Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug.”  


Yep, This Is What You Look Like Inside.

Still, there are times which will be overwhelming.  Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, wasting too much time on Facebook (guilty), maybe it’s the fear of failure, fighting to stay monogamous, feeling worthless, being stuck in a rut, hating yourself for procrastinating (guilty), feeling guilty for having a second doughnut or cup of coffee, or skipping a workout…it doesn’t matter what it is.  You can make small corrections, or you can dump your plate and start completely over from rock bottom.  (This guy is really great at helping with this.  Take notes, and take what he says to heart.)  Just don’t give up.  Every one of us has a demon to fight, and an entire history with that demon that has led to today.  The key is to not give up and let it run you over.  Stand back up and fight it off.  Get pi$$ed enough to do something about it.  You’re a raging bull!

Of course, you’re not alone no matter how hopeless you might feel.  There’s support everywhere, if you’ll only reach for help when you need it.  In fact, if you’re feeling brave, you can vent or unload in this forum without fear of judgment or retribution, and we will do our best to collectively guide you toward the purpose you seek.  

Tell me about your demons.  What do you have to do to fend them off on a regular basis?




“You’re Trying To Run Before You Can Walk.”

I’ve addressed this in a past post, and I was just thinking about it some more.  When someone says this adage to you, what is your first reaction?  I’ll tell you mine:

“So what?”

Am I a complete idiot for already having accepted that I’ll trip up and fail a few times?  Any time I do something new for the first time, I fail at it in some form or another.  If there’s a certainty in my life other than death and taxes, that is it.  When I picked up a straight razor for the first time, I nicked myself more than a couple of times.  When I snowboarded for the first time, (after literally falling off the lift chair at the top) it took me two and a half hours to get down the hill.  I hadn’t taken a class, just jumped right in.  When I was learning to fly, I managed to almost injure myself and the school’s airplanes several times.  The first time I tried to replace the E string on my guitar, I tightened it so much that it snapped on me.  (I maintain now that it was a faulty string, but I didn’t know any better at the time, so for all I knew, I did it wrong.)  The first time I ever drove a stick shift was when I was in college, when I was the only sober one to drive home.  I knew the mechanics of it, but it was a long and uncomfortable ride for the others in the car as I figured it out.

Shall I continue on with all of the mistakes I’ve made along the way?  “Run before I can walk?”  Give me a break.

The second time down that mountain on the snowboard, it took me just fifteen minutes, and I was far more controlled about it.  Things like driving a manual transmission and restringing my guitar are second nature for me now.  Shaving has actually become a soothing time for me, now that I know what I’m doing with my razor.  And if you think the mistakes I made as a flight student make me a terrible pilot, you’re dead wrong.  In fact, you want someone who made some mistakes and seen some things–those are the people who know what they are getting into ahead of time.  I’m not current right now, but at the time I was flying regularly, I could do crosswind landings in my sleep.

What have you failed at?  How miserably have you failed, and then crawled back from the dead to succeed?

Why do we demonize risk and failures, and then remain unable to figure out why things don’t change?  How else am I supposed to grow?

To be clear, I realize now that there is in fact a smart way to approach new things, one that mitigates some of the inherent risk:  Education.  Education is the best way to get a leg-up on the task at hand.  I know that when I have prepared for the task at hand, trying something new becomes an exercise in honing the craft instead of merely surviving it.  I will still fail, just in fewer of the more painful places to.  I will still trip, but I’ll have already put on kneepads and gloves.  At that point, all that’s left to do is stand back up and begin moving forward again.  Some days, simply standing back up will be considered successful, but it doesn’t matter.

At least I had the courage to show up.

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