Something that brings me joy is watching others succeed. I love listening to the NPR podcast “How I Built This” with Guy Raz. It’s full of people’s success stories - how they created amazing companies and continue to thrive. Sure, I’m inspired by those people and their success stories; in a, “If it can happen for them, it can happen for me” kind of way. BUT. Even more, I genuinely enjoy watching others succeed, because they get to succeed. It has nothing to do with me. Like, “Wow - they are amazing. Look at that amazing thing they did. Good for them and their amazing thing!”
It’s also a reason biographies and memoirs are my favorite. If someone has it together enough to have an entire book written about them, they must have succeeded at something worthwhile. Usually there are a lot of pages detailing the yuck, the disappointments, and the hard things that stood in their way, but ultimately, there is a success story. Those stories speak straight to my soul. I get completely overwhelmed in their beauty. Especially when it seems everything is stacked up against them, you know? All they have going for them is their big dream and, like, one person who believes in them. And BAM…Success story. Gosh, I could tear up just thinking about it.
Now, how cynical are you? Are you like me and get full of joy with these stories, or are you thinking, “That’s completely ridiculous and unrealistic. Those people just get lucky; things like that don’t just happen everyday.” Ooh. I love people like you. Because I want to sit down with you over a cup of coffee and chat. I want to get to know you better…because I do not understand you. Now, please hear me - I did not say I do not like you, okay - I said I do not understand you. You are still welcome here, okay? I’m fully aware that another point of view exists. I just don’t share it.
I’m going to pick on my hubs a bit here.
My husband and I are complete and utter opposites. We’ve been together for almost 20 years, and the only thing we have in common is that we both love Jesus (yes, that one fact is something strong enough to build a marriage upon). Now, he has become a huge supporter of my crazy ideas and big dreams. But it takes a lot to get him on board. He needs facts. He needs examples. He needs proof that the whole thing isn’t going to blow up. He doesn’t assume that the success story is the rule - those people got lucky, and he’s happy for them, but it’s not likely that it can be replicated. Basically, he’s a kill-joy. And he knows I say that with love.
Oh, guys. Side note - This reminds me of a story. One time, my daughter Ella and I were at a store looking at a super expensive item. We loved it and could totally see it in our house. So I called Andy (Hubs) to get his thoughts and to see if we could swing it. Ultimately, he said it probably wasn’t a good idea, so we decided not to get it. The salesman came back over and Ella told him, “We can’t get it. My dad’s a fun-hater.” And I’ve never seen a salesman laugh so hard in my life.
Okay, back to it.
Let’s chat about disappointment.
Disappointment is inevitable. Every success story has had its share of disappointments. And everyday, it’s probable that something isn’t going to go exactly to your plan. It could be a big thing; perhaps a small thing. But I guarantee something is going to slap you in the face today. Maybe you slept late again. Maybe you didn’t get your workout finished this morning. Maybe you missed out on an opportunity at work. Maybe your daughter said you were no fun. Maybe no one signed up for your event. Maybe you spent all your money investing in a new product and nobody bought it. Maybe Covid-19 ruined every single thing you had planned for the past six months.
Man, I’m such a downer. Sorry, guys.
So often, we let ourselves wallow in our disappointment. This one thing was terrible, so basically everything is going to be terrible for the foreseeable future, right? I am never going to tell you to not feel your feelings, no matter how rough they are. But, eventually, my generally annoying optimism will always try to help you pick yourself up and get back on your feet. #sorrynotsorry
As a small business owner, I’m no stranger to disappointment. At my very first open house for dance classes in 2007, one kid signed up. One. I was devastated. So disappointed. But - that wasn’t a reason to quit. It was motivation to figure it out. I was going to have to work another job to pay the bills so I could follow my dream. Every year, more students came. I figured out new class arrangements, better marketing strategies. Word of mouth recommendations picked up. And every year, I was able to put less time in at an outside job.
Disappointment can be one of two things for you - it can be the reason you quit, or it can be the reason you pivot. Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” There are at least 9,999 different ways to try something new. Don’t let that scare you - let that excite you! I have a wild idea for us to ponder - maybe it’s okay to be disappointed sometimes. Because maybe the thing you were chasing wasn’t the big thing you were supposed to catch. Maybe it wasn’t your intended success story. Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, there is something better. And if we spend too much time wallowing, we won’t have fresh eyes to see that better thing ahead. Maybe your success story is on the next page.
8/31/2020 08:46:34 am
Miranda - Great stuff here. I was struck by you only having one student at that first open house. Might have only been one, but I bet you still made a difference in that person's life. And that's the thing. Sometimes, all it takes is "one" to get started. - Mike
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My name is Miranda and I'm a mom, spouse, dance teacher, and entrepreneur. I’m going to share my life with you. The good, the bad, the weird. I hope to inspire you, encourage you, make you laugh. I’ll be honest. And I can’t wait to learn more about you through it all.