Conquering Failure

Dawn Stergin
6 min readJan 6, 2020

When you take a Leap of Faith and Miss the Landing

Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

“Go for it!”

“You got this!”

“You only live once.”

We hear inspiring stories from friends and media about people who take a great leap of faith and start something new and amazing or achieve an astonishing goal. These courageous people sometimes face and overcome great fear and doubt before reaching and succeeding.

But what about when we miss and fall on our faces?

The company we started fails and we are broke. The relationship we pursued tanks. The move to another country leaves us lonely, disappointed and lost. We have tried and tried, but we just can’t do it.

Life is full of missteps and losses. We studied for that test but still bombed it. We thought he was “the one” but he didn’t think so. We were sure we would get the job but were passed over. Most of us learn to handle these disappointments. However, there are times in the lives of the brave when we put our WHOLE selves into something paramount we believe is worthwhile; something we have always wanted or thought about doing and we crash and burn.

I’m a petite 5'1". I was always the smallest or next-to-smallest in my class growing up. A phrase I learned to use to cope with teasing was, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Consider that this also applies to the goals we reach for. There is the potential to fall hard. This often prevents us from taking that leap. The doubting voices in our head, what I call ‘the shitty committee’, will sometimes harass us into resignation. But what if you manage to overcome all obstacles and silence the board of accusers and take that step towards your goal . . . and miss? It can be devastating. We can lose our focus, our direction, even our purpose in life when this happens. How do we deal with an enormous defeat like this?

A loss of hope may result from falling short of a primary goal. There are steps we can take to recover and rejuvenate. We can have hope again.

First, respect and acceptance of the impact of a big loss are key. Everything we do has consequences. If we had not taken the big step, there would still be consequences. We would never know if we would have succeeded. We may feel cowardly for not trying. We…

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Dawn Stergin

Former addictions counselor, empty-nester, activist, animal lover, writer and lover of what it means to be human.