Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Failure is an Option

As somebody once said, there's a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is simply the non-present of success. Any fool can accomplish failure. But a fiasco, a fiasco is a disaster of mythic proportions. A fiasco is a folktale told to others, that makes other people feel more... alive. Because it didn't happen to them. -Elizabethtown

Several years ago, I had an epic...fiasco at work. Most of it was my own doing and my own perception of the events rather than what actually transpired, but I left my job, broken, disheartened and totally convinced I was the worst social worker ever and not ever wanting to practice social work again. For two years I stayed at home, hiding behind the excuse that I was "home with the kids" and looking at various Master's programs at the local university thinking I would replace the label of social worker with something new. I wasn't a social worker, I reasoned, since I had so completely failed at it, therefore I needed to become something new, something I wouldn't fail at.

When nothing really struck me, and the reality of paying tuition for yet more education sunk in, I tentatively stuck a toe in the water and sent out a couple of resumes. I ended up in the scariest job I could think of...Emergency Department Social Worker. Yeah, holy crap, huh? A year and a half later I'm still there. I'm still terrified every single day I go to work, but I don't think I've failed there and even feel I might have done some good, however I am getting a little tired of having panic attacks while driving to work wondering what bad thing is going to happen at work that day and if I'm going to be able to handle it. I mean, I work in a level one trauma center ER, the only things that happen there ARE bad things, but I don't feel like a failure anymore. In fact, I want to go back to the last job and tell them, "in your face, assholes. Trying doing what I do NOW! And I do it WELL!"

I may have failed but I also survived, but he fear of failure still freezes me in my tracks. Which is why when a challenge to move 1000 miles between New Year's and the Fourth of July came up on my Twitter feed I was all, "there is no way I'll never be able to do 1000 miles. I will just fail." The rules are simple: one hour of intentional movement equals five miles. You can do what ever you want. You just have to do it, but I had no faith that I could.

At first I blew it off, but then the awesome woman, Jenn, who started the challenge posted something like, if you are stuck, then move, which was like a nice slap across the face. Oh, I'm stuck, I'm stuck so hard, and I realized that, crap, I'm going to have to do this stinking thing, aren't I? Again, all I could think was, "what if I fail? What if I don't make the1000 miles? Yeah, what if? Then I guess Jenn can use me as a folktale. There are worst things that could happen. So, I've accepted the challenge, and as of today have moved a total of 20 miles! 980 miles to go!

 Meanwhile, Jenn is working on her folktale blog...

Check out Jenn, her awesomeness and her challenge on Twitter: @just_say_jenn and on her blog:

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