Friday, September 01, 2006

Failing Forward

As many of my friends can attest, I was probably the most risk adverse person you could ever meet.

Don’t do that, you might hurt yourself!
Do you know what’s in that hot dog?
I’ll save this for later.
I’ll buy extra in case it’s no longer available.

It’s just awful. I could point a nasty finger toward my past and blame my economically challenged childhood, but I think it’s more than that. I was the type of kid who ironed my money. Yes, ironed, as in plugging in a heated device and steaming my Washingtons until they were so flat they were almost invisible if turned sideways. My parents could never afford giving an allowance, so when I made money from my lemonade stand or from mowing a neighbor’s lawn, the ironed bills would remain hidden in a Band-Aid tin box somewhere deep in my closet. Only when a special event came around—like my mom’s birthday or my first trip to Disneyland—would my crisp bills resurface.

There’s a small part of me that wishes I could, say, go to Las Vegas and bet frivolously, but that’s risky. Me and my friend Risk are like oil and balsamic vinegar…we just don’t mix. It wasn’t until I was in college when I realized that my aversion to risk—and my intended hedging against it—was due to my fear of failure and rejection. If I knew I couldn’t be the best, I wouldn’t take part in an event or activity. How sad. For me, it was never about the journey, but, rather, about the destination. Getting there, winning, being the best, staying on top.

As I’ve started my business, I realize that I’ve changed my entire perspective. Unbeknownst to me, I’ve become the person I envied. A person who can just leave law school, pick up a camera, and shoot. Never in my life would I have imagined making such a risky leap, but I have…or should I say am? On my way home from Santa Barbara, a friend let me borrow Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell on CD and I finished the set yesterday. I could go on and talk about it, but suffice to know it was a NY Times Best Seller and received rave reviews. It focuses on viewing failure as a stepping stone to greater things in the future and not looking at mistakes as an end-all.

After hearing Maxwell’s perspective, I’m so much more open to failing. I mean, I don’t want to fail, but when it happens—because it definitely will—I view it as a chance to define who I am. And while me and my friend Risk are still mixing like oil and balsamic vinegar, we now have a friend called Failure. And Failure is a lot like freshly-baked ciabatta bread. When dipped between the both of us, it makes for a delicious appetizer to whet my business palette.

5 Comments:

Blogger OpenSourcePhoto said...

As the saying goes... "Fail early - fail often - and fail cheaply!"

:)

6:44 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Jasmine,

You hit the nail on the head, girl. Failure is my friend, you mean he has been cheating on me, with you? I've gotta send you a personal email.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Shyla said...

"People are training for success when they should be training for failure. Failure is far more common than success..."

That quote really stuck out to me because It's the idea of being able to confidently look the prospect of failure in the eye and move forward anyway! In life the question is not IF you will have problems but HOW you are going to deal with those problems? Are you going to allow it set you back or are you going to "fail" forward?

Yay Jazzy! GREAT book!

9:04 AM  
Blogger Jessica C. Moritz said...

Hi Jasmine. First of all, congratulations for the face-lift of your blog!!! Looks so much more personalised and professional. Great job. 2nd, need to get that book!

7:13 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Ah yes! Just what I needed. Failing is probably my biggest fear (right after bees that is, bugs scare me more haha). You better believe that I am going to buy this book today!

2:28 PM  

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