I will be the first to admit that the male species has a very difficult time admitting to weakness and God forbid actual failure. I know that one of the crisis points in my life came when a small group of peers told me that I needed to step down and leave my position as pastor as the church was gearing up to build it’s sanctuary. There was a definite clash in vision, sense of direction and leadership skills. The end result was that I felt like a failure. Yet, through this experience the doors were opened for me to discover and pursue my real passion in life. This would never have happened if I had stayed and fought a battle with a few leaders.
Last night I listened to a couple of friends talk about how failure had shaped their lives. One is in his fourth year as a medical student who graduated from Cal-Berkley and is at University of Arizona Medical School and the other is a sophomore at Grand Canyon University studying theology. They both shared about crisis points in their lives when it seemed as if life had come to an abrupt halt.
My medical friend really didn’t have any clue about direction in life as he studied at Cal and was in a pressure cooker because of being Asian. He applied to medical school and initially was rejected. It would have been rather easy for him to just walk away. Now he’s in his forth year and sees the light at the end of the tunnel. My other friend grew up in lots of turmoil and brokenness. It would have been rather easy for him not to do anything with his life. The odds were that he should have dropped out and become part of a gang and drug culture of Miami.
Why is it so hard for everyone, myself included, to admit to our fear of failure? What steps must one make to be more equipped to acknowledge our ‘screw ups’ in life? This may sound rather simplistic but to just talk about it with your spouse, friend or partner at work. This doesn’t require massive training or a graduate degree. The challenge is that we have birthed a generation where communication has become totally non-verbal; yes social media has taken over, so it’s not easy to know how to express yourself face to face.
I believe one of the greatest experiences in life is to have that helping hand reach out to empower you out after you have slipped or literally fallen on your face. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I didn’t have a few close friends who stepped up to bat for me and then literally made my transition work. The sad thing is that I would have missed all of this if I had pretended to be ok when I wasn’t. It’s so easy to have someone throw out quotes from famous people who have persevered in life because I don’t view myself as being an Edison, Jobs or Gates type.
So failure can be a good thing when understanding friends and family choose to walk with us as we learn more about life and the adventurous opportunities that are before all of us!