I used to be one of those people who went through life avoiding failure as much as possible until a recent incident made me realize that failure is imperative. Let me elaborate.
May 12, 2014. The very first day of my very first job. After a lot of soul-searching, I had landed a job as a technical writer in a company whose values matched mine: open culture, friendly faces, and flexible work hours. The job itself wasn’t really my thing, but everything else was picture-perfect. What could go wrong?
Just three months had gone by when something happened that changed my life: my body gave up on me.
A little over a month ago, I had undergone surgery. And although I got a clean bill of health from my doctor right away, the thing about surgery is that you cannot tell when complications will arise. And that’s why I wound up at the doctor’s office, confused and scared of what was happening to my body. As he walked in with a solemn face, I imagined the worst, but not what he actually had to say: stop working until your body heals.
The instant he said those words I felt like a total failure. I couldn’t last even three months into my first job – what on earth was wrong with me?!
Inadequacy hit me hard and I had no idea how to deal with it. In the coming months, I realized that my sickness was actually a blessing in disguise. I now had time to do the one thing I always wanted to do but had put off to avoid failure. Now that I had all the time in the world and nothing to lose, I decided it was time to free fall.
That ‘one thing’ was freelance writing. The freelance lifestyle has long been glorified and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. It was only when I plunged into it did I realize that it was simply not for me. In fact, I hated it! (Yes, I did give it time).
As I got better, I finally listened to my inner voice and decided to move away from the toxic mentality of choosing a career that ‘utilized’ my degree. I decided to do what I had always wanted to do, no matter what.
Today I am in the pink of health, on the hunt for a job as a content writer. Oh, and in the best shape I’ve ever been.
So was that a moment of failure? Nope. It was a moment of success. I was just unaware of it at the time.