The Sting of Failure: painful and promising

I recently shared my story regarding my academic failures. Since sharing my story, someone asked: “how exactly did you overcome your failures; what did you do? There are many layers and even as I write, I am still overcoming. It took me a long time to pronounce the words: “I failed.” For me, those words are painful, powerful, promising and brutally cleansing – all at once.

After my first academic suspension and I moved back home with my parents, it was well over a year before I could pronounce those words. One day, my dad and I had a difficult conversation that escalated into my excuses and my dad yelled: “Cheryl! Until you accept and admit you failed, you will stay stuck!” His words angered me and I belched bitterness. His words sounded harsh, and insensitive to my failures. I expected that my dad’s words would soothe me, not sting me. I felt terrible inside and more importantly, I realized the people in my life were also impacted by my failures. As I had expectations, so did they.

For quite some time, I kept blaming family and friends for not understanding me, pressuring me, not supporting me the way I needed and actually exploited them to anyone that would listen. I blamed my family for sheltering my life and believed that was the cause of my being irresponsible. I was firm in the belief that they abandoned me in support at the most difficult time of my life; this was my truth. Whenever I was challenged and questioned as to what happened, I exploded in loud conversations, overtaking the other person’s words when they were close to the truth or speaking the truth. It was simply too much for me to bear. What was the truth? I lost interest in the courses because I was struggling to comprehend the concepts. My attention span in the course was at a low level; and I was inconsistent in attending my classes. I was failing and thought I had to force through to pass the courses. I kept thinking about the expectations I set with my family, and friends. I was going to be a corporate lawyer.

I didn’t want to come down off of the high mountain of being called “smart,” “intelligent” and the word “lawyer” just sounded prestigious. I found myself in a fight for a lawyer label. Labels “lie.” I realized that too far in and flunked out of school. I was on academic probation my first year, and the excuse of the freshman year being difficult was convenient. In my sophomore year, the struggle to continue the lie strangled me into depression. I just could not keep forcing an academic fit.

I camouflaged my struggles with excuses, explanations and blamed others. The failure forced me to stop forging the names of others . . . you can’t be a counterfeit and pursue your calling too. Signed, Dr. CASM

Value points that helped me mature and move forward:

  1. Admit and accept failures; learn those lessons.
  2. Don’t fake it because you won’t make it. Counterfeits crash.
  3. Let your pain purge by focusing on your future promises. You need some hope to help heal.
  4. Stop getting those “my truth massages.” Get professional help; talk to someone that will tell you the truth.
  5. Ask the hard questions; what will it take to achieve the goals? Don’t fall in love with the idea, don’t fall in love with titles and labels.

#stayfocused #staytrue #stayyou

Photo by Sam Ilić on Foter.com / CC BY-NC


Nap time sleep clipart free images 4Our son loved kindergarten (K-5). He loved to play with others, loved to laugh, loved to eat snacks and take naps! He did very well in K-5, but he struggled with the transition to first grade. The first weeks of school were great, but then slowly, his momentum quickly leveled to a slow pace. Finally, I asked him what was wrong and he said: “Mom, I wanna go back to K5. I want my nap! In K-5, we get extra snacks and if you good, you get extra playtime.”

As parents, our hearts leaped for joy and a sigh of relief because that was it? We figured this would pass over time. In his view, life was good in K-5: friends, playtime, snack time and nap time. After a few months, we realized he was really serious and struggled to move forward with new expectations. He was in the same school, but a different way of learning. His study time increased and he had less time for snacks and no naps!

He cried every week for the months of August through November (I will NEVER forget). He complained regularly that the teacher forgot about the nap. He wanted to believe that K-5 was the best time in life. He wanted the teacher to conform to his needs, his level of understanding and what was relatable.

Years later (I think about this now), he’s a young adult, but the idea still remains so relevant to many adults that hail “good times” but were they great times?  My son did not need a nap at the time, he needed knowledge, he needed to be challenged and become flexible in new structures and expectations. He cried, and he complained, but it did not change the journey direction. Going back is not going beyond. You can’t journey forward, while stepping back.

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