Failure is an Option and It’s Okay

As I travel this dream chasing journey, I am learning to become accustomed and acquainted with failure. Somewhere in life we’ve been falsely told that success means never failing. Ben Franklin, Thomas Bell, Alexander Fleming and Louis Pasteur would beg to defer. You start out with a dream (hypothesis) and you test it to make sure it is sound. After many trials and failures, you find the right formula. Penicillin and electricity were serendipitous and accidental.

Babies only learn to walk after many failed attempts that landed them on their bottoms. However, no parent calls their baby a failure at learning to walk. You look into those eyes and say “Good job, try again.” You receive a slobber kiss from your little one and off they go trying again falling after the third step. When did we learn to forget those essential four words of “good job try again?”
“Success is not always fame or fortune. Success is picking up that burden and keep walking and not letting the pain trip you up.” – Maya Angelou
“It is human to go through negative experiences, disappointments and frustrations. It is one of the ways leading us to maturity.” Kunkel & Dickerson
I am in NYC chasing dreams. My circle of friends and confidants are super encouraging and supportive. It is necessary. However, there were people that I considered friends and some acquaintances that flat out said that I wouldn’t make it in NY. Why do we like to piss on other people’s dreams, accomplishments, and successes? Why do we delight in someone’s downfall? “I knew they wouldn’t do it.” At least they had the guts to try while you sat on the couch “talking loud and saying nothing” – as my dad would say.
Coming to NYC I continually face down the demon of failure. What if I don’t make it? What will people think? Then I hear the voice of my late father. “Go out there and chase your dreams. You can always come home. At least say you tried, even if it doesn’t work.” And when it didn’t work, he’d say “the only thing that beats a failure is a try, so try again.”
I always say there’s nothing wrong with getting knocked down so long as you get up with the 8-count and hold your own in the ring. Maybe all you can do is block, but at least you’re in the ring standing. It doesn’t always look pretty. Have you seen boxers after a fight?! Even the champion looks beat down. I have a hard time respecting people who comment and pontificate but never put their chin out. Theodore Roosevelt said it best in his “Man in the Arena” speech.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Recently, a dear friend forwarded me two articles. I’m starting an entrepreneurship program and he is as ambitious and his dreams are bigger than mine. So it helps in encouraging and being each other’s sounding board. The first article was “When Death Feels Like a Good Option.” Anyone pursuing a dream, regardless of how big or small, should read both articles. The other article was featured in, “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship.” Must reads.
My journey to NYC changed the way I blogged. I became more open about being vulnerable to failure and frustrations. It gave my writing authenticity and depth. Before that, people would comment that things just came easy for me. That is so far from truth. I study, work hard, research, plan, have doors shut in my face, get frustrated, mad, and then try again. No pain no gain. Believe me there has been much pain and struggle. Many times I wondered if I lost my mind or whether it was worth it. It is worth it but like an athlete training for the Olympics, it’s the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Defeat by way of injuries that sideline you and your progress. Defeat in the form of naysayers. Defeat of your own mental anguish. Victory in believing in yourself and getting this far. You have to be lucky but you also have to train, get bruised, hurt, and panged up along the way. Like Leonidas in 300, each bruise has a story of overcoming a fear that propelled you to the next level. Every struggle prepares you so that the next hurdle doesn’t intimidate as much as it would have. Once you’ve been knocked down the fear factor fades. Been there, get up, block, and look for an opening to strike back.
For all my dream chasers and aspiring entrepreneurs, put on some booty bumpers and get ready to fall down a time or two or three. It’s alright. Come up with your own fall down dance. “Drop it like it’s hot,” then pick it up again and chase down that dream. Maybe that’s why God gave me a big bum. He knew I’d fall down alot so he decided to give me extra cushion 🙂 That’s the story I’m going with.
“Good job, try again!”



Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.