“I still fall on my face sometimes and I can’t color inside the lines. I’m perfectly incomplete. I’m still workin’ on my masterpiece.” Jesse J.

i-still-fall-on-my-face-sometime

As the story goes, Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. During this process, a well-intended colleague said, “Tom, give it up. This will never work.” Gritty Tom replied, “Dude, I’ve discovered 9.999 ways NOT to make a light bulb. Why stop now?”

Grit is a fundamental component of success in all areas of life. Grit involves staying the course despite failure, adversity and progress plateaus. Too often when a goal or task feels challenging or uncomfortable, we back away and/or give up. Life limiting, what-if thinking reinforces our fear of failure.

“What-if I look stupid? What-if people laugh at me? What-if it never works? What-if I fall on my face?”

Thomas Edison’s light bulb illuminated the world. His grit helped him kindle a flicker of hope despite numerous failures. I imagine his what-if thinking embraced a light at the end of the tunnel.

“What-if I learn from my failures? What- if I take myself less seriously? What if I am more than the sum of my failures? What-if I feel afraid and do it anyway?”

In the spirit of honoring Tom and improving my grit, I proudly present my Beautiful Failure Resume. It is complete with typos, incorrect dates and subjective experiences of reality. Ironically, reflecting on and writing my failure resume gives me the feeling I have finally turned on the lights.

 

Beautiful Failures Resume
Laurie Boussom, LISW-CP, FVHB

Early Formative Failures: 1968-1980

  • Believed Guerrilla warfare was being fought with actual gorillas (It was around the time Planet of the Apes was released.)
  • Asked my parents why the Youth in Asia were such a big deal (euthanasia)
  • Prioritized boys over my girlfriends
  • Believed I couldn’t “do math” based on a teacher’s callous comment
  • Cheated to pass geometry
  • Failed to resist pressure to drink and try mood altering substances
  • Believed I controlled pretty much everyone’s feelings and behavior.
  • Failed to understand that all emotions have a place and a purpose
  • Thought I had all the answers (I didn’t even know the questions.)

Educational Failures: 1979-1999

  • 1979: Kicked out of college for academic ineptitude
  • 1994-1996: Dropped college algebra 7 times, passed the 8th
  • Failed to take many courses me as I thought I wasn’t smart enough
  • 1997: Graduated with honors, University of Michigan, Master’s of Social Work (ranked #1 in the U.S, at the time) and continued to believe I was an educational faker.

Relational Failures: 1994-2008

  • Failed to allow space and time to get to know and appreciate me
  • Perpetuated the belief that I was worth less if I didn’t have a boyfriend
  • 1996: First divorce from a wonderful, chronically depressed guy
  • 1999: Second rebound divorce that was doomed from the start
  • 2007: Survived my worst breakup EVER from a sick, twisted psychopath
  • Often fail to be the kind of wife, friend, daughter, sister I desire to be
  • Frequently fail to appreciate my personal evolution and progress

Professional Failures: 1979-Present

  • Prioritized money over professional passion
  • Allowed anxiety to dictate the terms of my professional life
  • Worked feverously to evoke validation from people I didn’t respect
  • Often didn’t know what I didn’t know until it smacked me in the face
  • Failed to appreciate people who guided and encouraged my development
  • Failed 10 years to leave an unhealthy, punitive work environment
  • Doubted my skills and ability to successfully create my own business