Jena and I met via Twitter a few years ago and have a mutual respect for one another as writers. She graciously agreed to be a guest blogger and I am choosing today to re-share the prose she wrote for my followers. No matter how much time passes from when she initially wrote this piece, it remains relevant to our times and an inspiration for all who are going through or have been through a recent layoff. Enjoy and be encouraged! ~ Mara Prose
Your Name is not Failure
“I’m a failure!”
“Why?” I asked. “What happened?”
“I lost my job.”
I took a deep breath and thought a moment before I replied. Then I said-
“You are not a failure! You are a wonderful recipe of many unique skills and
talents. You are YOU. And your name is not Failure!”
Most of us have either said I’m a failure! or have had a similar conversation about
failure. We’ve comforted ourselves or our friends after a disappointment or a
When I think about failure- I think about things. Machines fail- think of all the
appliances you have owned that have broken and that you have had to replace.
Tires fail- you can see truck tire shreds on any highway. Your car won’t start, your
pen leaks on you, you break a heel on your shoe. Things fail and companies spend
millions on research to learn why their products fail and how to improve the
failure rate. Machines fail and their purpose is over- there’s nothing left. You fail
and you keep on going. It doesn’t define you. We aren’t tossed out after one goof,
error, or mistake.
Speaking of definitions, I came across a quote that was trying to make my point.
“Failure is a verb, not a noun.”
In fact, according to the dictionary, the word failure IS a noun, but I get what they
were trying to say. Yes, failure is a noun, a part of speech, but it’s not a whole
person. It is not YOU. It’s something you did. A machine breaks and fails. You are
so much more- you keep going!
Let’s get more specific. Instead of failing– did you take a wrong path? Did you rush
a decision? Maybe you forgot to do something or you didn’t check your work. I
like the word faux pas or false step- meaning to commit an embarrassing social
mistake. Call yourself a Faux Pas, not a failure the next time you let yourself
down. Doesn’t a little humor take the sting out of a sad situation?
One of my favorite quotes is by Calvin Coolidge.
“Press On! Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.”
Or how about this gem from Winston Churchill.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
And here’s something I found on Twitter.
“When a child is learning how to walk and falls 50 times, they never think to
themselves, “Maybe this isn’t for me!”
Yes, because of your actions or non-actions, you may need to apologize, you may need
to rethink your goals and make a new plan. You may need to cry or laugh and start all
over. But you are still YOU! Wonderful, capable, adept, marvelous YOU!
Your name is not Failure.
Jena C. Henry