Over the years growing up, I was always told that failure should never be an option. Why is failure seen as such a negative thing? Failure is often demeaning, humiliating and uncomfortable, but it teaches us valuable lessons on how to get back up and become more empowered as individuals. Failure is often a stepping stone to success.
My first major experience with failure came in 1993. I was in my third year of high school when I failed Form Three in Grenada, the equivalent of grade 9 in Canada.
Ridiculous as it sounds, I was excited at the time because my entire group of friends failed too. I knew the next school year was going to be awesome because we were all still together.
The hardest part was going home to present my mother with the report card. I could feel the anger in her heart and she was extremely disappointed. Our family was way too poor to afford me repeating a grade. It was at this moment facing my mother that I felt my failure.
I decided to work extremely hard and focus on my school work the next year. My efforts paid off because my grades went up, and I moved to my next grade effortlessly. If not for my previous failure, I wouldn’t have taken my education seriously.
When I first moved to Canada, I encountered my first flop when I got fired from my first babysitting job after one week. To add insult to injury, I got fired from my second babysitting job after only three days.
My father was blunt in his criticism, saying “you are such a failure; you’ll never amount to anything. You can’t even keep a job”. At the time, I believed he had made the mistake of choosing me for relocation to Canada instead of one of my siblings.
Unlike my father’s harsh reproach, I never felt like a failure. In my mind, I thought that the people who fired me didn’t know what a good employee they had lost. I was convinced I was a hard worker who just needed a break.
I got my third babysitting job at 19 as a live-in babysitter, and I was determined not to let the last two experiences discourage me; however, I was fired within a week and told not to return to work on Monday.
A few months later I got a job in a factory. I had gained so much experience from my last three terminations that I decided to recalibrate my performance. At this job I developed the most outstanding work ethic and a star was born. From that point on I was unstoppable as a member of the working class.
Success can happen after moments of failure and frustrations if you’re willing to persist. Failure is an opportunity to expand your horizon and grow as a person.
I am grateful for every failure in my life because I would not have achieved what I’ve accomplished to date without them. Those failures helped me to become the woman I am today.
Don’t be afraid to encounter failures. Turn your limitations into opportunities and realize your power to evolve into a better version of yourself.