Are You a Big Fat Ugly Failure?

I was reading my bio today when it occurred to me that it wasn’t quite complete. I left out a few things. Important things. Important enough that I feel somewhat obligated to fill in some of the missing pieces. So, if you wouldn’t mind, I promise I will make this quick.

Nowhere in my bio does it mention all of the jobs I was fired from. Or the gigs I did not get. It does’t say anything about the seminars that no one attended. Or all of the people that hung up on me. I also left out the blog posts that no one read. And all of the different names I have been called over the years. Oh, and let’s not forget all of the times I was told ‘no’. And of course the thousands of mistakes I have made (and continue to make) along the way.

I would not have accomplished anything had it not been for all of the failures in my life. I’m talking about the big ones. The stuff that really kicked my ass. That devastated me. That scared me into believing I would never come out alive. The stuff that made me lose my faith in humankind.

Those failures.

Are You Willing to Risk Failing?

It’s nearly impossible to succeed in life without taking some form of risk. Think of it like a trapeze artist. You have a goal. To get from Platform A to Platform B. That’s it. That is your primary objective. Sure you could do all of the flips and doodads along the way, but that is just style. You still need to get from Platform A to Platform B. And the only thing you have to get you there are 2 swings.

The first swing is easy. It’s handed to you. There’s no risk to it. You jump off the platform while already holding onto it. Anybody can do that. It’s safe.

But now you have a choice.

Do you just swing back and forth safely? Enjoy the breeze? With no fear of falling?

Or do you jump? Let go of the swing? Suspend yourself in mid air for a bit while you reach for the other swing? Risk falling in exchange for a chance at reaching your goal?

If you stay on the first swing you will never fall. But you will also never reach your goal of getting to Platform B. You failed the second you made that decision. Guaranteed. The only good news is that only you will know that you failed. the rest of us will just get bored of watching you swing back and forth and move on.

On the other hand, if you jump you risk losing it all. You may fall. In fact, it’s pretty likely you will. And when you do, we’ll all know. Some of us might help you up. And others might laugh. Some may not care. While others will lose faith in you and start cheering for someone else.

But none of that is important.

You see, you may not realize it, but you have a safety net. Something to catch you before you hit the ground. Sure, the fall might seem scary at first but when you are caught by that safety net all you need to do is climb back up the ladder and try again. Once you realize how insignificant the fall is you realize how insignificant the the risk is.

All you need to do is jump as if there was a safety net beneath you.

Now the only thing left to do is jump. So, figure what that thing is that leaves a lump in your throat and jump. I know what mine is, so here I go…

Featured image courtesy of wolfsavard licensed via Creative Commons.

  • Aaron

    Woulda been more interesting if you told us specifically about those failures. What happened, how you felt then reacted. Instea it’s another it’s okay to fail/you have to fail to succeed articles. Which is fine but I stopped reading after the first two paragraphs when it got so broad.

    • Marc Ensign

      Thanks for the feedback Aaron! Like anyone, I could probably wax poetic for days about all of the things I failed at. The problem is that my definition of failure is much different than yours. I’m extremely hard on myself, so some of the things that outright devastated me might seem trivial to you. Best to just use your imagination and see how it all applies to your life and your experiences.

      But if you insist and really want to know where I have failed, I am happy to oblige…

      My most recent failure is not convincing you to read through the entire article and getting to the point that I was hopping to get you to. Now, I have to work that much harder next week to convince you to come back and give me a second chance.

      We’ll have to see how it all plays itself out! Hopefully I’ll “see” you again…

  • Em

    I really enjoyed this post… especially the trapeze artist analogy. Thanks Marc.

    • Marc Ensign

      Thanks for the comment Em! Glad that stuck with you!

  • Melissa Ng

    “Some of us might help you up. And others might laugh. Some may not care. While others will lose faith in you and start cheering for someone else.”

    You’re right. As much as these sting, they really aren’t important. Too often, we spend too much time fretting over the wrong things when we should be dusting ourselves off and trying again.

    Gotta keep our eyes on the prize…whatever that may be. :)

    • Marc Ensign

      As long as you are comfortable in your own skin and doing what is right, you win…regardless of what others say!

  • Simon Thompson

    I recently saw the film Talk Radio. I thought of of Marc Ensign. The film was a well crafted engaging drama with as it’s central character a radio host that reminded me of you Marc. Your pieces are engaging, entertaining and relevant, to me at least. You hold your audience. One must read on.You have both a talent to amuse and the ability capture the imagination. This time I could not help but feel inspired. Quality writing does that for me.

    • Marc Ensign

      Thank you Simon! I never saw that movie…I’ll have to check it out!!! You should know that I am equally as inspired by you. At some point before posting something I try and read it through the eyes of a few people, you being one of them. If it’s “Simon Approved” I know I’ve done something right!