One of the challenges of social media is that we only get to see the end results—the engagement ring, the wedding pictures, the baby photos, and the new job announcements. But what about the failed relationships, the called-off weddings, the miscarriages, or the layoffs? Where do we get to share THOSE moments and, more importantly, with who do we share those stories?
On a recent episode of Super Soul Sunday, I love that Brene Brown noted that every great writer has an SFD—a Shitty First Draft—that they never allow the world to see. (As a professional editor I’ve seen more than my fair share of SFDs! Oy!). But as she expounded upon this more, I realize that I have to give myself more room to shamelessly and authentically have more SFDs in my life—and to create a community of people who will allow me to fearlessly fail.
One of the things that I am discovering as a growing entrepreneur, a new New Yorker, and a late bloomer in romantic relationships is that there is SO many places where I just have to let myself fail. I don’t have to have the right answers, the best response, or even know what the hell to do. I just need to be around people who will allow me to say stupid things, try out new ideas, and fall flat on my face without judgment. I don’t always want to be Leah the Editor, Leah the Responsible One, or Leah the Safe and Secure. Sometimes I just need to be Leah the Learner or Leah the Adventurer. I’ve even experimented with the idea of once a month declaring a “Leah’s Day of Wild and Crazy Shit.” (No worries—I have still have responsibilities so it won’t be that wild and crazy!)
What I’m discovering is that the more I share my “crazy” ideas or do “crazy” things in safe spaces that they aren’t so crazy at all. Two years ago, I remember standing in my friend Jessica’s kitchen furiously swirling my head around moving my life forward from the DMV and frighteningly considering that that moment could be my window to try a new life in New York. Jess and her husband, Max, were among the very few people that I told about my plan at the time. I distinctly remember Max coming into the kitchen and breaking me out of my thoughts by saying, “Jess just told me you’re going to move to New York. That’s fucking awesome!” For the first time in weeks, I felt a little window of relief with his supportive statement, I said, “Yeah, it is pretty awesome. Thanks, Max.”
I like a good win just like anybody else. But I’m learning to like a good fail, too. Being willing to not do it “right,” even if not right looks crazy or insane, has given more power to JUST DO IT—whatever that it may be. And having good people around me to land my crazy thoughts and ideas has given me the sweet ammunition to know that it’s OK to fail and win and fail some more.