No one likes to fail.
It’s a tough thing to swallow. It’s tough on the ego; it can be embarrassing; and it can be difficult to want to try again.
But I’m here to tell you failure is OK. It’s a part of life. And in many ways, it can lead to bigger and better things.
If it weren’t for my failures in certain aspects of my life, I wouldn’t be here in Alexander City today.
I was miserable in my early years of high school. Mentally, I was a mess and my grades suffered because of it. I likely would’ve dropped out of high school and amounted to who knows what if it weren’t for trying something else. I went to charter school with a graduating class of 32 people, and it was viewed in my hometown as the “Bad School.” People thought it was for kids who got into trouble; but really, it was for kids who didn’t succeed in a more typical high school environment.
If I didn’t basically fail out of my regular school and go to that charter school, I doubt I would’ve ever graduated.
Then I went to college. I knew I wanted to be a journalist but I didn’t know what I wanted to write about necessarily. I’d always had a love for sports, though, and once I found a professor who nurtured that despite me being a female and thinking I’d fail, I decided this is the path I would follow.
I wrote my first game story for that professor, Mike Harris, that year, and I failed miserably. I didn’t even put the final score in the story.
But I kept on trucking.
Then as I was getting ready to graduate from college, I had to apply to jobs around the country. I must’ve applied for nearly 50 jobs and I failed and I failed and I failed. Most of them I didn’t even get a call back. But then I did — from a tiny little paper in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. I took the job and immediately felt like a failure at my very first baseball game when the coach told me I couldn’t do the job well because I was a female. (I’ve gotten that many times before, by the way.)
Anyway, the point isn’t to gripe about my life. The point is to tell you to keep on trucking. No matter how many times you fail, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something.
In fact, all of my failures have taught me something and student-athletes should heed the same outlook.
I was recently reading an article about a study done at Northwestern University which claimed failure is actually a prerequisite for success. The leader of the study, Dashun Wang, said, “Every winner begins as a loser.”
Wang also said not to just try the same thing over and over again. People always hear the phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I don’t necessarily prescribe to that thinking. I, for one, am not meant to be an athlete. I love sports but I can’t play them; I didn’t keep trying to play sports because I would’ve kept failing. But I tried a different avenue — something I eventually became successful at.
But failing doesn’t mean you should give up. Losing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play anymore. Not getting a first-place trophy doesn’t mean you didn’t do well.
Failure is hard, but it’s something that can make us stronger and better people. When we fail, we need to evaluate the why behind the failure then figure out how to turn those failures into successes. But with enough hard work and perseverance, failures can be some of the best things that ever happen to us.