Failure? Or….Bravery?

img_5568While doing chores the other night, I was watching You’ve Got Mail for about the twentieth time. There’s just something classy about that movie. And a lot of it is based around the holidays, so it’s sort of a Christmas movie. (For the record, Die Hard is most definitely a Christmas movie. In case you were wondering.)

There’s a part in You’ve Got Mail where Meg Ryan admits to her friends that she’s closing the store. The older lady, who had been a friend to her mother, said something I’ve heard before but it affected me differently this time. She said, “Closing the store is the brave thing to do.” When Meg Ryan protested, Birdie said “You’re daring to imagine that you could have a different life. Although it feels like you are a failure, you’re not. Marching into the unknown – armed with ….nothing. Have a sandwich.”

The sandwich part always cracks me up. But this time, what she said resonated with me for some reason. This past year didn’t turn out the way I hoped on a professional level and it’s really easy to view that as failure. It wasn’t anything horrible – I just expected to finish the year on a much better note. But you know what? It wasn’t really failure at all. I tried all sorts of different things this year: from adding new positions to my department to restructuring current jobs to revamping procedures. Some worked well and some failed miserably. After beating myself up a bit, I started to look at it from a different perspective.  What really happened is that I tried new things. Pass or fail, I tried them. What would’ve happened if I left things as they were? We would have still grown (but probably not as much) and more than likely did okay. But a lot of the risks we took this year have already paid off. In dividends. And the best part? I don’t have to wonder what would happen if I did try something new – because I already took those risks and experienced the outcomes. Now, we can go forward and make new adjustments and take new risks – all because we’ve tried the alternatives already.

The one thing that was constant about this past year was change. At one point, I practically made a plea for no one to change or leave their job for at least six months – because it was so hard to keep up with the changes and we needed to recover. One other quote from the movie is “People say change is good thing. What they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen, has happened.” For the most part, I can agree with this. However – change is also something that you can control. Especially if you don’t like your current situation or think/believe you can change it for the better. There may be risk involved, but there can be a reward at the end of it as well.

Last year there was so much change that we wanted to just survive it. This year was a year of experience- we learned so much through all the changes, that we’re looking forward to making next year brilliant. The way I look at it, this next year wouldn’t be as successful if we hadn’t gone through the past two years of change and growth.

So, if you have something in front of you that requires bravery – along with change you may or may not want to happen – just imagine you could have a different life. I have no clue what that looks like for you, but the fun part is when you dare to make the dream a reality.

You just have to go into the unknown. Hopefully armed with a sandwich.

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Sassy and classy. Sports, books and travel are three of my favorite things in life.

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