But I get up again

Fall” by Caleb Pang Photography (CC BY-ND 2.0)

When children fall, you’re not supposed to rush towards them, and look upset. Otherwise, they’ll cry, and probably think it’s bad to fall. They don’t need to be afraid to hit the ground a few times, or whack their leg on the coffee table by accident when running around the room.

Still, when I grew up, I was self-conscious of failing. I still twinge when I think about my grade 11 report card that holds a grade in the 60’s among mostly grades in the 80’s and 90’s.

When I started my summer camp-many people told me that it would fail. Many people told me it was too late in the season to start, the market was too saturated, there were already people doing it better, and for cheaper.

But it worked. I scraped together enough kids to make a first summer, and then I hit a wall the day after I closed up for the season. In some ways, I’m not over this wall, and it still stares me in the face.

It’s the wall that comes after working so hard for so long without a break.

It’s the wall the comes after doing heroic amounts of work to get something you believe in off the ground.

It’s the wall the comes after being and doing everything for everyone.

I’m taking a break this summer while I reevaluate , but I that doesn’t mean the following summer, or the next summer I won’t start a camp, or move into another project.

Someone who was close to me asked me casually a few weeks after the summer

“What was it like to have failed?”

I sat there stunned. I didn’t think that I failed. Sure, it was a stressful time in my life. I made mistakes, and some things went wrong, but parents trusted me to enrich the lives of their kids. That’s a big thing.

“What was it like to have failed?”

I echoed it back to myself in my head.

“I don’t see what happened in the summer as failure,” I said.

Someone else might see my summer as a failure. It wasn’t close to a packed camp, and I had to rely heavily on friends and family to help out. I didn’t end the summer with a wad of cash in the bank.

But I made an experience, and someone bought it. Some companies go years without customers, and for me it was only a few weeks.

Going forward, maybe we need to treat those brave enough to have ideas and do something about them more like we treat babies who stumble, and fall.

Instead of waiting to drop the F-bomb, hang back and see what they do next.

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