There’s Only Make

Only Make

What is Failure anyway? And why are we all so afraid of him, along with its always-so-ominous-sounding kin: Mistake?

Here’s the thing. I’m done with it. All of it. Fail and Mistake. I am done ostracizing you as evil doers and sending you to the corner. I’m sick of running in the opposite direction from you as if you are infected with the most contagious plague. I’m done letting the thought of your duo raise my heart rate and give me the hot flashes of panic and anxiety and what-have-I-done?. Done. Done. Done.

Welcome you sad and misunderstood duo. Welcome to my clan. Let’s be friends. How about we try to understand each other a little bit more. What do you say to that?

Here’s how I see our new relationship, my new friends. Fail and Mistake, you have an important job. You are the fire watchers, the feeling sensors, the cushioning to the fall, the lookouts. I used to think of you as some scary, hidden-in-the-bushes, invisible forces. I didn’t know where you lived. I was constantly afraid that you would be just around the next corner, that you were just lurking in the bushes and waiting to jump out at me and scare the shit out of me and steal my self-worth and perfection, as if it were something as easily to snatch as a handbag. But I get it now, that’s totally not your show.

You are actually the first line of defense. You’re not mean and hiding and waiting to send me into an anxiety attack, you are with me all the time. You are not lurking to destroy me and my endeavors. No, you both are like the friendly garden gnomes out front. You are like a protective home alarm system. I have just been misreading your signals my whole life. You just want to protect me. Protect me from going too far in the wrong direction. And, quite frankly, I could use your help more often.

Here’s the thing. I am full of words and ideas and plans and inspirations and – well, mostly words. They are begging to come out. Even though they are mostly nonsensical or navel-gazey. About 75% of it is worhtless. Often poorly formed, misspelled with frequency. But they exist, all of the craziness in my head. And, they all want to see the light of day. And I want them to see the light of day. And I don’t want a bad relationship with you, Fail and Mistake, to keep them locked up inside me. So, I’ll keep letting them out – the words, the ideas, the art, the nonsense – and then we can have little check-ins. Okay? You let me know what’s working, what’s not. You have a good view from out front. You see how all of this stuff hits the world, how it falls, how it resonates. I promise to take your guidance realistically, as long as you promise to dole it out gently. I promise to embrace you. You promise to keep showing up to guide me in the right direction. Okay? (I will also bake you cookies and give you a warm place to sleep, if that helps at all).

I just don’t want to spend my life hesitating and walking on eggshells and holding stuff in because I am afraid you are right around the corner. I don’t want my fear of you to limit what comes out of me. I just want to generate, and I want you to help me be brave. So, let’s see if we can work together. I think we can. Here’s to a fruitful new friendship in the year ahead.

Mmm, I got a little off track from today’s Quest-ion, but I’m okay with that. Today’s prompt comes from author, brand consultant, and radio show host of Design Matters DEBBIE MILLMAN. She wraps up the Quest2016 Week One Theme of Get Clear with Yourself with this: How would you do business as unusual in 2016 if you knew – no matter what you chose – you would not fail?



  1. “I just don’t want to spend my life hesitating and walking on eggshells and holding stuff in because I am afraid you are right around the corner…” amen…you duly called those two out (failure and mistake)…love it….



    1. Thanks Tania! It’s so empowering to make wild mistakes (almost intentionally). I’ve decided to call myself an imperfectionist, and not hold back in fear. It’s a fun practice!



  2. Not off track at all! Totally on track to the question. This should be required reading for the group! You have helped me already, and I am lining up failures like those Chinese warriors. Poof they can’t even walk.



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