Fail again, fail better

We are a culture of success. We want everything to be perfect, dialed, and done right the first time.

My father ingrained it into us as kids “do it right the first time.” I do not know if that was ingrained in him as a kid or if it was after being in the military, but he was hard-core and would often yell if we did things (mostly chores) and our results were not up to his standard. Imagine over time knowing that if it was not perfect the first time — you would receive his anger and frustration. Yet, it meant that we only learned to fail with negative consequences.

When I heard about Pema Chodron’s book: “Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown” I knew I had to read it. It is the transcription of her 2014 commencement address at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Her granddaughter is in the graduating class. It is a quick read (a book with text on only the right side pages, and small, so it can be read in less than an hour), but a powerful message.

I love this idea she shares:

“‘Fail better’ means you being to have the ability to hold what I called in the talk ‘the rawness of vulnerability’ in your heart, and see it as your connection with other human beings and as part of humanness. Failing better means when these things happen in your life, they become a source of growth, a source of forward, a source of, as I say in the talk, ‘out of that place of rawness you can really communicate genuinely with other people’.” Page 115

To think about failing and being vulnerable — that is where we learn. There is so much I can take from this in work and home life, and especially with this ‘lil man that is going to soon join us. I vow to let my son learn in his own way, fail, and be vulnerable. Hopefully it means he will not have the message that has haunted me for years — that I always had to do it right the first time.

Resilience, courage, and gratitude

I was talking to a colleague last week about how her husband was in the military at the beginning of their marriage, and at the time the only way to communicate was via letters in the mail. Ah, the art of the handwritten letter, the love and care it takes to sustain a relationship via mail. Today, it is much easier for families that have a loved one in the military to communicate via email, text, and phone.

It still amazes me how families do it, when their loved one is away for such long periods of time. I do not think I would make a good military wife (thank you, Chris for sparing me). I would be a basket case. I do love how much pride Americans have for their veterans. I kept seeing Veteran’s Day specials on the Internet last week and thought I would share a few. This is a list of 32 freebies for Veterans, and here are a few more freebies. So if you are a Veteran, take a peek and see if you want to get a hair cut, visit a National Park, or eat for free on or around November 11 (depending on the deal).

I want to send out many thank you’s and my gratitude to the men and women of the Armed Services. Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for all you do for your country, and for putting your precious lives in harm’s way to make this world a better place. I also want to thank your families for their patience, resilience, and courage. I do not know if I am brave enough to do what you do each day as you pray for the safety of your loved ones.

In gratitude.

The Jeep that made me weep

Where was the WOW factor? Maybe I am getting old, but the ads during the Super Bowl just do not have the creativity that I remember watching when I was younger. Most of the ads were boring, not funny, and had no element of surprise. Mostly they were for cars, movies, and CBS.

Yet, there was one ad that made me stop and watch. You first hear Oprah doing a voice over. We all know her voice. We hear it and instantly listen. The voice of a storyteller. You know at the beginning that the ad is in gratitude for those in the military serving our country. I was enraptured as I envisioned those in my life that have served our country and those that I do not know that are in some far off place risking their life to make sure mine is safe. It brought tears to my eyes. It was the only ad that made me stop and watch completely.

And then I saw the Jeep. I was bummed.

I wish we could have a tribute air during the Super Bowl and not be selling anything. Where we can commend and appreciate the service men and women and not find at the end that it was paid for by a car company. It makes me feel different about my tears, when it is more about Jeep wanting me to buy their car. It would be great if we could just appreciate, and not have to question who paid for that appreciation? In any case, if you missed the Jeep ad, be sure to take a look below, and take a moment to appreciate those serving our country.