A Scary Thought...Failing Life

10/18/2017 10:42 am ET Updated Oct 31, 2017

At birth I was designated as “failing.” Literally.

I have dealt with failure my whole life.

My maiden name is Failing.

No joke.

Deborah Failing Munies This last name was punctuated especially when spelling it out for clarity...

"Yes...F - A - I - L - I - N - G. Failing. Just like failing in school. Deborah Failing."

At a young age I didn’t really know the meaning of failure; I just knew it was something bad and I needed to succeed so others didn’t say “oh, Debbie Failing is failing.” Yes, I was once a Debbie (who wasn't) and yes, at the start of each school year the teacher would make a joke about my last name or give me a knowing look.

So I got straight A’s, and went down the “perfect” path. (I will spare you the details but just imagine the goodie-goodie in the John Hughes movies. That was me.)

I went on to work for companies where failure was not an option. And I was rewarded well. 

Then I took a leap and dared. I chose a new path. Day one of my coaching training they told us “It’s ok to suck.”  I was in shock. “Um, did they just say what I think they just said?”  They must be joking. What? I can fail? 

I felt happy.

Liberated. 

Free.

Daring.

And more importantly…

I tried.  

I tried to do new things because it was ok to. It felt like a new world.  It was.

I tried, failed. I tried, I received validation. I tried and trusted myself. I tried and discovered new ways. I tried, and found new friends.

I felt the freedom to explore. This feeling of freedom allowed me to grow and become better and happier. When I had permission NOT to be perfect, it allowed me to actually become the me I wanted to be, a me who I could trust. Not a me dictated by a conventional society.  

Are You “Failing”?

In your job, are you going along with the pack or sharing your insights? Are you trying a new approach to work balance or continuing to work late nights and eating bad takeout? Are you proposing that new position to your boss - the one you know would be great for the company and for you? Or are you sticking to the one where you're the expert and it's safe?

In your community, are you trying new ways to solve old problems or are you listening to others and going with the status quo because it’s easier than figuring out something better? Are you saying "things are fine," because admitting you need to try and stand up for something is scary?

In your social media, do you share posts showing what you believe in, or those that conform to your “group"?  

In your relationships, are you demanding they stay the same or do you encourage your loved ones to try something new and help them to grow?

In your family, are you demanding perfection from your children or challenging them to go for things they they love, even if it means they won't be the best at it? 

If you don't try, you are failing to live.

Ways to Fail

In case you don't know where to start failing, here's an idea...

Have a conversation with your 90 year old self. What's she pissed off about that you didn't do? 

Tell me how it goes.

Happy failing!

#failing #perfection #gobig #justtry

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