Going for What You Want—and Being OK With Not Getting It
“Failure is not an option.” We’ve all heard these pressure-filled words before. And I’m here to tell you that when you decide to try something, you should be OK with knowing that you might fail. But you should also know that there will be times when you hit it out of the park—because you were willing to let yourself fail.
And every time you put your faith in the existence of something greater than yourself? Well, the Universe will figure out a way to reward you. It’s almost as if the Universe is saying, “You are showing trust in me and yourself. Let’s see what we can do together.”
This past spring, I was feeling a little (no, a LOT) disheartened over one of the school contracts through my education consultant business. I had worked with this school for several years and assumed that would continue next year. I had built strong relationships with the staff and felt like we were doing some amazing work together.
Then I found out they’re not continuing their work with me for the next school year. In fact, they’re going to head in a different direction with another consultant.
Because I tend to take things WAY too personally (I’m working on this), I really let this news hurt me … a lot. I let myself sulk (also a lot) and beat myself up wondering if I did something wrong. I questioned whether I was effective enough.
My inner dialogue was working overtime at second-guessing: “Gosh, I simply can’t believe my services aren’t needed anymore at this district. Did I do something wrong? I really feel like I have a strong handle on this process. But is someone more effective than I am? Am I responsible for this? Am I just not good at this? My business is probably going to fail. I’m a failure. Am I not as good as I think I am at presenting this topic that I’ve researched, studied, and implemented over the last several years with several districts? This is super strange. I’m baffled, confused, and most of all, hurt.”
It’s truly amazing how quickly I can let self-doubt creep in and make myself feel I’m not good enough. (I’ve always been my own worst critic!) But to be completely honest, this was all about me, not the situation.
I knew I was taking it way too personally and needed to reframe my thoughts, words, and beliefs—because they have power and will set my direction for what is to happen next.
So, my inner dialogue got with the program: “You know what, Strobel? Every single time something like this has happened, God has shown you that He will take you where you are supposed to go. There is something else you are supposed to be doing now, and perhaps this “contract” was preventing other good things from happening. You needed to free your schedule up a bit. You know that the Universe always has your back, and when one door closes, it simply means it’s waiting for you to see that another door will reveal even more possibilities.”
And what happened the very next week?
– I booked a contract to be the Back-to-School Keynote Speaker for a huge district with 1200 teachers in the crowd. We talked all about how to reunite with our “Why” in education.
– I was asked to be the Keynote Speaker for an eLearning Conference over the summer.
– I was requested as the Keynote Speaker for the Kentucky Teachers of English Conference next year.
– I booked a four-day contract to work with a high school that’s implementing Standards-Based Grading. (Best part: the school is only 15 minutes away from my house!)
– I signed a contract to work on Growth Mindset with 14 schools in a district.
My point is this: That other school contract ending totally freed up my calendar for all this other juicy stuff. My contracts are coming in weekly, and I need to be able to serve other districts. (Plus, and I can’t stress this enough, one of those jobs is only 15 minutes from my house!)
So … chase your dreams, put yourself out there, do something that feels uncomfortable, stretch yourself, dare to be you, and unleash your unlimited potential. We all have this potential and it’s time for us to reconnect with it.
And if you fail (which you will, as I sometimes have), dust yourself off and try again. Learn from your mistakes, make yourself better, don’t take everything so personally. Remember that anyone who ever did anything great probably experienced some failures first.
But they TRIED, and that’s always the first step to success!