It doesn’t take much to feel like a failure.
No matter how confident or capable we may be, there’s always something or someone ready to humble us.
Rome had Odoacer.
Napoleon had Waterloo.
In the past, I’ve written about how fearing failure is far worse than experiencing it, and while that’s true, there’s also the fact that failing absolutely sucks. Anyone that has worked for months on a project or spent late nights studying for an exam or has given their all to a job only to see all that dedication and hard work go for naught can tell you how crushing that can be.
Since starting my new job, there has been a fair bit of turnover, transformation, realignment, and new processes and I’ve found myself struggling at times. I’ll leave a meeting feeling like I’m 22 again, fresh out of school and struggling to find my asshole with both hands.
Of course, you dust yourself off, try again and improve, but in the meantime there is that wave of overwhelming sadness that crashes down on you and makes you question everything.
You can read inspirational posters that say that failure is a necessary part of success and quotes from Thomas Edison and Michael Jordan talking about how much they failed before ultimately succeeding and while they’re correct, they’re also Thomas Edison and Michael Jordan.
The rest of us? Sometimes we just fail.
And while we know it’s simply an unavoidable part of life, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to accept.