President Kennedy, among others, said “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” I’m sitting up tonight by the pink light of the Tibetan salt lamp thinking about that quote. I’ve taken it for granted, meaning, I’ve known it. But right now I wonder, do I? Really?
Fear has not entered into the equation in my life too often. If I want to do something, or want a certain outcome, I just go for it. Not really impulsively, but if I think it can be done then I get about doing it. Moving to Florida, for example. The move involved selling a house I loved, leaving my home town of 45 years and the dearest circle of long time friends anyone could dream of, buying a new house in a town where I knew one person. And…and this is important, being sure I could create a new retired life I would enjoy.
Now, an aside….I’m an Aries and we tend to just push for our way. Our best trait, I read in a book, is courage. (Our worst is that we are selfish, and aggressive. Hmmm.) So I think that helps with the fear thing.
The question for me is, in conjunction with this quote, did I “dare to fail miserably”?
I did not look at it as a dare, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t. Nor did I even allow myself to think of it as an action that could end in failure. Is just deciding what you want and achieving that goal the same thing as daring greatly?
The daring part…..brings me always to Brene Brown and her book, Daring Greatly. This is where I learned that to make ourselves vulnerable is to dare greatly. Because vulnerability is so hard, excruciatingly hard at times. And excruciatingly beautiful at times. How will you ever really feel love, without feeling vulnerable? How will you create your great work without at least a small amount of fear that it won’t be accepted? But if you don’t push ahead, and follow your passion, or lacking a passion just following your curiosity, how will you experience the exhilaration of success, of joy, of achieving?
I didn’t feel that I dared greatly when I moved here, and bought this house and started to create a new life. It was actually fun, once I got through the real work of selling a house and packing it up and moving it here. It was fun to meet people, to make new friends, to start a writers group. But I suppose that from some angles it looks like I dared greatly, because I could have moved here and not met anyone, made no friends, and been miserable. So, I challenged myself and successfully achieved my dream, which is still in process.
I did dare, though it felt enormously safe, when I allowed myself to love the man who sleeps beside me. Dan dared greatly in loving me, and in sharing his life with me. And that relationship, I believe, is succeeding greatly. Like the rest of my new life, it’s brought me nothing but joy.
I think of that quote by JFK, and it inspires thoughts of men and women who have done amazing things with their life that have benefited all of humanity. I think that those are the people he is talking about. But he’s talking about all of us, just like Brene is. To dare greatly is to move toward a dream, taking into account it could fail, but also that it could bring spectacular joy to our lives.
Dan and I have now created some new dreams in partnership, and I feel like those will come true too. We are daring to do them, because he, like me, believes we have to take the chances carefully, and keep in mind that failure is a possibility unless we cover all the bases and build the dream one block at a time.
I only use my life as an example, because…well, whose life could I use but my own? I am not blowing my horn, I need no approval of what I’ve done from anyone except myself. But it is interesting to observe the journey, and to realize that perhaps I did dare to fail greatly so that I had the possibility of achieving greatly in my personal life.
So can everyone else. If we fail, we learn from it. When I was in a miserable long term marriage, I tried to leave it multiple times before I was successful. Instead of viewing each attempt as a failure, (after which I found myself in a more abusive relationship than before because I had to pay the price for having had the audacity to think I could leave) I used it as a lesson. I learned from it, each time a little more about what I had to face, what the impact of leaving would be. I would regroup, replan, and try it again, and on the third attempt I got myself out, and more importantly, enabled my son to leave his abusive father. That whole thing was daring to fail miserably and failing miserably, but not giving up, and eventually achieving greatly.
Guess these are middle of the night ruminations as I begin to feel a shift in my life really, from one alone, to two who were alone, to two who are working together, daring greatly. Not feeling a lot of fear of failing miserably, but knowing that without constant care, failure is an option. That we will achieve our dreams greatly is a more solid belief. And it will be excruciatingly beautiful when it happens.
Being out on that vulnerability limb is a scary place to be, but also a beautiful one. I’ve held onto it a few times now, in my life, and it hasn’t broken under my weight yet. I hope you all can find the same.
Love and light.