0 comments / Posted on by Erin Gates

The next installment from my hubby- whom is becoming more popular than me.  I might have to slap him.

It is time to fail.

As most of you have read recently, Erin has been personally having a rather tough couple of months. No small part of her trials have been her perfectionist tendencies butting up against not enough time in the day. I would wager that even for those of us who don’t think everything has to be perfect, we can all relate in some way to the feeling that failure or mistakes are not an option.

I have been blessed/cursed to have failed many times in some very major ways and have made more than my fair share of both large and small mistakes. Early on it was terrifying. At 15 I was kicked out of boarding school 3 months into my tenure. I am not sure if this was actually my first huge failure, but certainly one of my most memorable. I won’t go into the details surrounding it, but suffice it to say that I was wronged, actually in an attempt to do the right thing. Didn’t matter. I was still kicked out. The first one in a long line of cousins who went to a New England prep school to be kicked out. Guilty or not, the stigma was still there (even if Amanda Knox is completely innocent, will anyone ever look at her the same?).

Compound that situation with going back to North Carolina where my family was, entering mid-year into 10th grade at a school where I didn’t know many people because it was a rival to where I went to Junior High, so I was a pretty angry kid. Kudos to my parents for not making it worse and completely supporting and believing me (when my dad flew up to collect me, he flew me back first class…looking back that was an incredible thing to do).

I continued to fail/make mistakes. Whether it was leaving college early, trying to run a North Carolina restaurant from Boston, getting married to the wrong person (Erin is my second and far and away best wife), or any number of things, I have failed, made mistakes and lived to tell the tale.

One might think that I would be deathly afraid to fail or make mistakes today. Not true. I am a better, stronger, more confident person because of them. Not being afraid to fail frees you to up to truly succeed. One cannot live life afraid or under a rock. Once you accept a failure or a mistake you can begin to realize that they are not in fact life threatening. Mistakes can be fixed, failures are not permanent. Not trying or indecision is the real threat to life. As I said in my first post, I don’t want to look back on life wondering what if.

Accepting mistakes as human nature, common and natural and not as a sign of weakness or ineptitude is easier said than done, but still doable. Failing and bouncing back is even harder. But who ever said life was easy or fair? Someone said what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. It is true. I am not suggesting wake up tomorrow with the intent to make a big mistake so you can learn, but simply to not be afraid to do so. It is kind of like jumping off the high dive. At first it is really scary…and then once you are in the pool, you jump out and run up the ladder to do it again. It is in fact not nearly as scary as it was in your head before you did it.


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