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Contemplating the F-word

I recently attended an outstanding conference hosted by the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, and one of the speakers in particular has left me thinking…

and thinking…

and thinking.

Even on a weekend. Which is almost unlawful.

She talked about the F-word. You know: Failure.

Her message was simple. We must not fear failure and rob ourselves of living life, we must share our failures with others, and we must celebrate failures in order to create a culture of innovation. This concept blew my mind. I’ve always held myself to the standard that failure is unacceptable. It means I didn’t try hard enough, or I made the wrong choice, or I did something incorrectly- whatever “it” is, I screwed it up. And she wants me to CELEBRATE and SHARE these things?!956b2cadd449b6b6a05ed4f8e65b9ee1

She asked for volunteers to share a time they’ve failed and what they learned from it. I have to admit that it rarely crosses my mind to think, “What did I learnfrom this mess?” when it’s all over. I usually think “Oh my gosh thank GOODNESS that’s over! Time to move on.”I try to stay on the safe side of everything, and if something doesn’t work out right, I sweep it under the rug and move past as fast as possible. The last few jobs I’ve had have been “firsts” for the companies- I was the first Executive Director and I’m currently the first Events Coordinator. (Did I mention that my degree is dietetics?!) Anyway, before I took my last job as ED, I was almost paralyzed with fear that I would say or do something wrong in the position and somehow make the entire organization crumble. I sat down with this same great lady at the time and rather than offering pity or comfort, she challenged me with statements like: “What’s the worst that could happen?” and “So what?!” I was not ready to even consider the outcomes, as my mind was too consumed with the possibilities.

I’m someone who can easily get lost in her own mind. I think about thinking- to a fault at times. So now I have this new challenge to start celebrating and sharing my thoughts on failures I’ve had. I’m not going to lie- it’s been a few weeks, and I still find myself paralyzed with fear at times when I think about failing- but I try to stop and open my mind to the possibility that it may happen as a lesson- as something to celebrate. I believe that most things happen for a reason, even if it’s a reason I don’t like. Or a lesson I don’t want to learn. It still happens, and it’s up to me to decide how to close the cover on that book.

Girl walking in a field carrying a suitcase

What have you failed at recently? And what became of it? Share it with me- let’s CELEBRATE!



The best kind of Therapy.

Do you ever get so lost in your own thoughts that when you “come to” you struggle to put the pieces together, like how much time has passed, maybe how far you’ve ventured from home, how you could’ve possibly missed the ringing of your phone?

This happens to me. A lot. It’s almost always brought on by the same things:
exercise + good music + nature.

I swear I go into a trance.

I was out on the Greenway one day and actually jumped as a person passed me in the other lane. I was thinking about life, about love, about people… and all of a sudden a girl jogged past me and my rollerblades literally left the pavement.

Oh- Hello there, Reality!

Sometimes life sucks. It just does. You do really bad on a test, your car breaks down, your hair won’t work, you sleep through a big meeting, you get into a fight with a loved one, your morning coffee is now down the front of your shirt, you lose your pet… the rain just won’t seem to quit!

In those moments, I get a choice. In those moments, I have become totally and completely aware of the choice I get to make. This awareness has resulted mainly because of a 16+ year food battle.
1. I can eat my way through the emotions. I can quiet those voices that used to tell me it was the only way and listen to the ones that tell me I’m worth so much more than an entire package of cookies and the guilt that ensues.
2. I can explode on some unlucky recipient because it just becomes too much to hold in. “I SAID NO ONIONS ON MY SANDWICH, HOW DARE YOU?!” Ridiculous… right?!
3. I can lace up my shoes, grab my iPod, and cover some ground. (My family jokes that I am the “philosopher” of the bunch- I love quotes and emotions and talking and people.) I’ve discovered that my Greenway visits fill my soul like nothing else. There have been times when I’ve walked for over 4 hours without even realizing it- just thinking about life. When I return home, almost Army crawling because my legs have had it, I feel refreshed (and usually really thirsty)! 

Whether it’s walking, running, rollerblading, biking, lifting weights, playing tennis, shooting some hoops, joining a kickboxing class, or whatever else gets you up and off the couch and clearing the clouds out of your mind… Just do it. Trust me. You’ll feel so much better mentally, physically, and emotionally when you finish; the best kind of therapy.

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