Last night I drove my daughter to a call-back for a modelling gig (think second interview). Actually, this one was more of an acting job. My brother had warned us that call-backs were much more difficult than initial auditions, so my girl was a little on edge, and a bit nervous.
Her name was called and about 20 minutes later she emerged from the audition room, her face the vision of worry and doubt. Disappointment. She began texting furiously to her friends but silent otherwise for the traffic-clogged drive home, aside from quickly expressing her frustration about her tremor (she has an essential tremor, and we’ve yet to find a solution to effectively managing it— any and all suggestions are welcome).
As her mother, I of course know her, and know not to initiate conversation when the vibe is high tension— she will talk when she’s ready. So I just sat there in the car next to her, and drove us home. Once home, she bolted for her room and shut the door.
I wanted to hug her and tell her that failure is inevitable in life. You win some, you lose some, as the saying goes. But I know it still sucks. Failure can play on our insecurities about ourselves and whisper in our ear that maybe we aren’t good enough. Make friends (or even acquaintances) with failure, and you start to realize that you are in fact, good enough, but maybe just not a fit in this particular case, or maybe this one thing just isn’t going to work out in our favour right now. Until we embrace failure as a normal part of the process of reaching our goals, it will always beat us up and leave us devastated.
There is a way to avoid failure, however: Do nothing. Don’t reach for goals. Play it safe— always. But what kind of life is that? Avoid failure and stagnate; embrace failure and grow!
She emerged a couple of hours later, feeling lighter as she snuggled up to me on the sofa. We didn’t say much about the day, but I did share with her a possible audition in which her competitors would have lost to her, because we all have weaknesses and things we are better at (and worse at), than others. We are not all built for everything. I reminded her that she will probably have 10 losses for every win in this industry, but that it’s okay. It just means she need to dust off the disappointment and look ahead to the next audition, the next opportunity.
And then the next morning we got an email from her agency. They were calling her back.
So there you go. The day before she felt she was losing and now she’s had a win.
Two sides of one coin, they are both equal and neutral parts of trying things and reaching for goals. May we really know that failure is not to be feared but to be embraced, and may we teach our kids the same early on.