Tag Archives: practice



Well, I put myself out there. I applied for a job that I was super passionate about but for which I was a little short on experience.

So many interviews and meetings later and I’m, well, short on experience.

My friend told me last week about the lady who started Spanx. If the junk email in my box is any indicator, she’s doing pretty well. My friend told me that every night at dinner this lady’s father used to ask her how she had failed, what she had learned from it, and what she was going to do next time. In this way failure and risk were normalized for her.

I tried it a couple of nights ago. It didn’t work because no one had failed at anything all day long except me losing my temper briefly before dinner. But today I had a doozy.

“Well, kids, Mommy failed at something today.”

“What did you fail at, Momma?”

“I applied for a job that I really wanted. But I didn’t have enough experience. They’re probably right, but it would’ve been fun. I’m glad I tried.”

I don’t know if they were paying attention, but I hope something sunk in.

The other week my husband and I attended a family class on anxiety after church. The therapist running the class told a story about taking his friend’s daughter to the playground. While this little girl played and climbed he heard her repeating to herself, “Be careful, be careful.” When it was brought to the father’s attention he had to estimate that he said “Be careful” to his daughter up to fifty times a day. He wasn’t even aware.

So, I’ve made note and stopped saying “Be careful” so much. And I’m talking about failure at the dinner table. And I took a chance, failed, and talked about it in front of my kids.

Because if there’s one thing I don’t want, I absolutely do not want my kids going through life being careful.

On the Horse…


I am happy to follow-up and tell you that the elementary school rehearsal yesterday went very well.

I am back, as they say, on the horse. After careful review of what is going to be rehearsed on Monday I have asked for another go at blocking and choreographing the scenes. The director kindly assented.

All of this may not seem like much, but it is indicative of much growth.

Let me tell you a story.

When I was in second grade I inadvertently won the privilege of standing in front of the entire school and reciting a poem. I hadn’t known it was a contest.

So, after the kindergartener and the first grader went, I got up on stage in front of all the K-8 graders in my school and recited my poem. I then sat down to watch the rest.

I will never forget what happened then. A fifth grader got up to recite her poem. She trembled and stuttered and burst into tears and ran off the stage. The girl may or may not have vomited. It certainly looked like she was going to.

I was mortified for her. How embarrassing! I didn’t even know that sort of reaction was possible. It was horrifying.

A couple more lucky speakers recited and then, a few moments later, everyone applauded as the teacher announced that the girl from fifth grade was going to try again.

The teacher said, “How brave of her!”

I clapped for the girl, but I didn’t buy it. The girl had run off the stage. “Brave” was something they said to trick her back up there. And I remember thinking, with my advanced second grade wisdom, that if that sort of thing ever happened to me there is no way you’d get me back up on that stage.

My heart found nothing brave or admirable in that moment.

Now, I am significantly older and, as with most things, when you practice not being perfect every day you just get better at it.

My inability to fail prevented me from doing a lot of things. It’s taken a long period of indoctrination to reverse it. In fact, I now find a special pride in my ability to fail miserably, experience rejection, and try again, even if it’s an elementary school production, even if it’s a novel.

So, here we go, keeping on, practice, practice.