Let’s celebrate a magnificent failure (mine, we’ll get to that shortly).
We in America don’t celebrate failure enough — we love to celebrate success, of course, and should. But failure is harder, so much harder, that for simply living through it we should heap recognition on those who’ve made it through intact, spirit unvanquished.
You’ve likely known failure — and even may be acquainted with failure in some aspect of your life right now. You know that failure is lonely, except for AA (and NA, and DA, and SA, and OA . . . perhaps it’s not so lonely afterall; I didn’t realize until writing this sentence it had become so clubby).
Let’s start with me and Ann: We tried to keep our core gallery personnel employed throughout the financial crisis — and failed magnificently. Yeah, we made it a certain distance, more than many others in my industry, who shed their personnel the way Pamela Anderson sheds clothing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that Pamela.)
I feel like we almost made it through to the other side, but just couldn’t . . . quite . . . get there. We couldn’t quite make it through to the other side keeping our staff employed (especially, especially one person, you know who you are).
It was an agony to go through, to let people down you care for so intensely.
But enough of the crying (Ann), and enough of the what-else-could-we-have-done (me).
Today I’m celebrating the intent behind the failure. We made payroll for two and a half years after the luxury sales implosion. It was as if New York City somehow survived 30 months of an invasion by Alpha Centaurians with weaponry bordering on wizardry.
We did that. We are those New Yorkers.
And we continued to sell artwork for our artists in the most difficult time since the Great Depression. And pay our vendors. And freelancers. And taxes. And our staff up until a month ago. All those little payments that circulated into a hundred households or more.
So today I’m choosing to celebrate the sheer distance we made it past impact. Today I’m thinking of it this way. A fisherman admires the prey with the most fight, who endures the longest. Today we are that fish. Today we are the prize fighter who should have gone down a long time ago.
Just how do you celebrate failure?
Here’s one way to celebrate failure. If you know someone who’s going through a bitch of a time, call them, assist them, anonymously or not. Be in touch with them.
Say hey, I am awed . . .
. . . by your ability to take repeated punches to the gut.
. . . you’re still showing up every day for your commitments.
. . . that you don’t give up!
. . . by your example in the world.
. . . that you smile through the turbulence.
. . . by your spirit . . . your character . . . your cojones . . . your chutzpah.
Success attracts a crowd. Success delivers pats on the back. Today let’s pat someone on the back who really deserves it — someone experiencing a failure and living up to it. That someone could even be you.
One final note
We’re also the fish that got away. Maybe the hook tore out a section of a vital organ, but we’re the fish that got away. And we’re swimming with a limp to better waters.
We’re also the prize fighter who went the distance.
- Midlife makeover
- Treading water: The life analogy you were hoping for
- And then it gets (even) worse!
- I’ve been in your burned-out soul space
- The Coconut King: From the ruins, success