Milk your failures for all they are worth.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems that I need to learn the same lesson, over and over again. Like the lesson in my last blog entry, about dealing with feelings of having failed.
I believe I have a great message, “Learn how to motivate yourself and your dreams will come true.” So I want to get that message out. One way to do that is by doing guest blogs, so I submitted a guest blog to a site that looks good and was requesting proposals.
Just after I uploaded my blog Sunday night, I checked my email, and got a rejection letter to my submission. I thought I had given them exactly what they wanted – an essay from the heart, sharing a lesson I had learned, not preachy, etc., etc. Apparently not.
My immediate response was dejection, the feeling that I had failed. Thank heavens I had just posted a blog on that very topic. But it didn’t stop the feeling.
And this is one lesson that I didn’t share in my last post, I guess because I hadn’t learned it enough times. That lesson is, “Don’t be surprised if you feel like a failure when a plan doesn’t go right.”
And accept it. Don’t accept you are a failure; accept that you feel like a failure. I don’t know if there is much you can do to not have those feelings, other than meditating two hours a day and frequenting a really good psychotherapist. Give it a couple of minutes, maybe even stew about how obviously the editor was threatened by my amazing writing skills and was afraid I would steal all his readers. And then move on. Look for the lessons in the circumstances; look for the good.
In my case, I don’t really have a lesson (except that lessons are all around us) but I did get one heck of a benefit out of the circumstance. I now have a heart warming essay that describes the model for self motivation. And, I just happened to be reading a great book, PresentationZen, by Garr Reynolds, which is about making slide presentations in which the slides reinforce, rather than repeat the words. His thesis is that the slides are there to add an emotional element to the spoken words.
I realized that the guest blog I wrote will be the text for a great presentation made in this style. Had I been “accepted” as a guest blogger, I never would have looked for another purpose for the essay; instead I would have been celebrating and missed a great opportunity.
As Ken Christian says in Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement, “Those who do not milk failure for what they can learn from it squander a major opportunity.”
I milked my failure, and am reading PresenationZen with renewed vigor, because I now have a place in which I can apply the knowledge I am learning. I think it’s going to be a wonderful presentation.