I have Successes. I have Failures.

Why this odd affirmation helps me.

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I have successes. I have failures. — doesn’t sound like the most inspiring mantra in the world, now does it? Here’s why it works for me.

It reminds me that every aspect of my life will be a mixture of successes and failures. Sometimes single events can be both. I might fail to meet my sales goal for a recently published book, but succeed in helping someone rebound from a bad job situation.

People often make statement which imply that success or failure is long-lasting, even something that you become permanently.

“She is our success story.”

They are a ‘failed entrepreneur.’

It took a long time for Sylvester Stallone to ‘make it’ in the movies.

The truth is we all have success and failures each day and in each phase of our life. The only thing that changes is how much success we encounter.

If success or failure is something I have, instead of something I am, then I don’t need to feel badly about the failures (notice I called them ‘the failures’ instead of ‘my failures’).

Feeling better consistently allows me to be more productive and reap more successes.

We spend our formative years at school, a place that tracks exactly how many you get right versus how many you get wrong. It took me years to notice that often in life, how many you get wrong doesn’t matter. To a salesperson, what matters only is how much you sell, not how many people you have approached and not made a sale. And….

Aren’t almost all of us ‘selling’ and therefore sales people in some aspect of our lives? Landing a job or a gig, means selling what you can offer.

If the failures, or… let’s even call them the non-successes, don’t matter and don’t bother us, we are free to try and try as many times as we can squeeze into a day.

I once was on an amusement park ride with my husband and son where we traveled in cars that swiveled from side to side and were firing some kind of light gun at moving targets on the wall. It was laughably difficult, er impossible to effectively aim because of the movement of both cars and targets. Now, I am not a marksman, nor do I play video games on any kind of regular basis. Never have.

Faced with this ‘laughably difficult’ ride, I laughed out loud and began firing my ‘gun’ as rapidly as I could while pointing it in the general direction of one target after another.

The game and ride was fun for reasons I can’t explain and too soon we felt the ride slowing as we approached the exit. The final portion of the ride displayed our score, along with shots fired and percent accuracy.

Here is the funny part. Between my husband, my son and myself, I had the highest score but the lowest accuracy. My rapid-fire attempts had hit more targets than my son and husband’s carefully aimed shots. They, more regular video game players, had I guess, actually thought there was a point to aiming and had therefore taken more time in firing each shot.

But more important than the bragging rights I took from that ride (and trust me, I did indulge in a bit of bragging) was the lesson:

What often matters is total wins, not wins vs. losses.

Obviously, this isn’t always true. A batter only gets 3 strikes before they have to go sit back down and wait their turn again. If I am picking a surgeon, I most definitely care how many procedures are complete successes versus how many have complications.

Yet, in all cases, baseball batter, surgeons, video game players, entrepreneur, authors — each will have some mixture of successes and failures. For me acknowledging this fact sets me free, which is why I now walk about saying:

I have successes. I have failures.

About the author: I write and think often about achievements, successes, failures, including an audio book: Quotes for Achievement, and my newest book is meant to inspire underemployed or unemployed folks with both practical tips and personal stories. Out-of-Work to Making Money, 21 Comeback Stories Every Job Hunter Should Hear is currently available on Amazon (coming soon to Audible)

A programmer by day, author by night. When I put on running tights, I like to imagine I’m a super hero. Creator of Unemploymentville.com. Follow me if you dare.

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