The Price of Entry

IMG_1749About a year ago, I took my daughter to a Devils game.  To be honest, she didn’t seem overly interested in the game.  It appeared that she was more excited by the cotton candy and Devil horns.  I was extremely surprised when she said at the end of the game “I want to play hockey.”  At that point we had only taken her ice skating a handful of times.  I told her that I fully supported the idea of her playing hockey but that there were some steps she needed to go through first.  She needed to spend this winter improving her skating and starting to learn how to play the game.  This past weekend she had her first hockey tournament.

This is not a story about some miraculous discovery of talent that blossomed over the past year.  My daughter spends a large amount of time on the ice.  Literally, she falls down more than anyone on her team, usually during the handshakes at the end of the game.  Her team lost all of their games this past weekend by an average margin of over 10 goals.  They did not score once.  I loved every minute watching her play!  Not because she played great, she didn’t.  Not because she gave it everything she had, she didn’t.  I loved it because she went out there to pay the price of entry: FAILURE.

This is the thing that stops most people.  They don’t want to feel bad or look foolish, so they move on quickly from things that invite failure into their lives.  The truth is that failure is the “ante” that we all must put in to play the poker games of life.  We must risk failure in order to play.  It’s unfortunate that we’ve become so completely risk averse that people don’t want to play unless they’re guaranteed to win.  The joy in a “for sure” victory is relatively hollow.  It is only in those times where we truly risk failure that we are living fully.  Taking the chance to learn from missteps, blunders and shortcomings is a major ingredient of later success.  The leap is a prerequisite.

IMG_2824So as you go out into the world today and do whatever it is that makes you feel alive, do it with the joy of a 9 year old girl.  One who had such a big smile on her face most of the weekend that no one would have ever known her team lost by large margins.  I do not believe that you should want to fail.  I just believe that you should be willing to RISK IT!

Fail forward!



It’s Not You, It’s Me

Relationships are complex things with hundreds or possibly thousands of moving parts.  When things break down and relationships end, all parties should take stock of themselves and their part in the demise.  For some this self inspection can be difficult and painful.  Often when the end comes, the phrase is uttered “It’s not you, it’s me.”  Sometimes this may be true but if we want our next relationship to be better than the last, we cannot assume that it is.

From my own experience and watching others at the end of relationships, the tendency for many is to totally discredit the other.  “She was a b____!”  “He was such an a________.”  The problem that I’ve always had with that is, what does that say about me?  I just spent 6 months, a year or two years with this person.  Now all of the sudden, they are a horrible person.  It doesn’t make any sense.  At bare minimum, that would mean that I need to fix my selection process but rarely is that it.  The only thing that you can control is yourself.  So all of the power is in discerning our faults from the faults of the other.

If we assume that we are faultless, then we learn nothing.  It is always easiest to point the finger at the other person but it does nothing for us.  By looking at our faults, it forces us to do something about them.  This is uncomfortable but growth often is.  The reason for this failed relationship is to prepare you for the next one and eventually one that you will maintain for life.  Like so many other parts of life, it is necessary to “fail forward” in relationships.  It may not feel good at the moment but it will get us where we need to go.