Imagine you have been given the creative opportunity of your lifetime. You trained and worked for so long, and the moment has finally arrived. You push aside your doubts and silence the Naysayer’s voices, filling your mind with the cheers of your Champions and Tribe as you step up to your new creative endeavor. Everything is coming together! The future is bright! The world is yours to conquer!
But then something goes wrong. . .
Despite your best efforts and obvious potential, your grand creative plan has hit a snafu. Things that seemed certain aren’t working, and those best laid plans have gone terribly awry. Though you seemed so ready for anything, you find yourself stumbling, confused, and unsure where to turn next. Your grand idea didn’t work, and now you have to face the fact that you may have. . . failed.
Yes, I did say congratulations. No, I am not crazy. I mean it: congratulations, you failed! As outrageous as it sounds, failing is as much a part of Rising to the Occasion as succeeding. Failure is a sign of progress, because it means you have taken your creative efforts up to a new level. Rising to the Occasion is like stepping up to a new level in a video game. It has exciting new elements, but it also has new risks. You don’t know what enemies may await you, or what will be needed to conquer them. Your first few tries at a new level may end in a swift retreat, but that doesn’t mean that you give up on the game. It means that you learn from each defeat, using the losses to learn what is needed to gain the victory later on.
The same thing happens when you step up to a new creative challenge. You are indeed ready to step up to the next level; you have trained and grown, and the only way to go is up. You have what it takes to move up, and now you have to learn how to live in your new level. Learning what you need often means enduring failures along the way, but don’t give up! Even the most talented people in the world had to face failures when they rose to higher levels in their craft. Their failures taught them the lessons they needed to be successful in their new endeavors.
Risking, failing, and growing are all part of Rising to the Occasion. As hard as it is to endure, failure is a sign that you are at a new level; it proves that you are moving forward. Rising to the Occasion is about growth, not safety. Failing at your first (or second, or third) go at your new level is still far better than playing it safe in level you long-ago outgrew. Theodore Roosevelt said it best:
Action: Reframe Your Failures
If you feel like you've failed (or are failing) at something as you Rise to the Occasion, try reframing the failure. What have you learned from the process? How can it help you be successful in the future? What big risk did you take, and how can you celebrate the bravery of that action? Finding the positive aspects of failing can make an otherwise difficult situation into something that empowers you to seize your creative opportunities!
Sarah is the co-founder of Bright Ideas, a designer by trade, and an artist by passionate choice. She was born and raised in the South, and delights in sharing Southern culture with anyone who cares to learn. Sarah collects creative outlets; when she isn’t making art or writing, you can usually find her on the dance floor. Follow her creative adventures on Instagram and Twitter!