During the time I was a ballet student at the School of American Ballet falling in class was one of my greatest fears. While the fear wasn’t necessarily rational (I never did fall in class) it lurked like a shadowy predator that I couldn’t shake off. The irony was that class was the place I should have been experimenting, pushing the boundaries, trying new things; if there was ever an ideal place to make mistakes, ballet class was it. Since then I’ve realized that fear of failure is more common than most people would like to admit, but it’s not just the failure itself that worries people. The idea of looking bad or foolish can be enough to keep us from even trying something in the first place.
No one wants to be the star of their own ballet blooper…. but everybody’s doing it–even the pros!
Recently I came across this quote and it was a game-changer:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” ~Winston Churchill
Success never happens all at once–it’s a process–and failures are part of that process. No one whips off a triple pirouette the first time they try to turn, nor is a dancer given a starring role the first day they join a ballet company (except for Claire in the new ballet drama Flesh and Bone). Yet each time we try, whether we’re successful or not, it’s a step forward. Churchill’s quote reminds us to use our failures as stepping-stones, to move from one to the next without losing enthusiasm.
Better yet, move from one to the next…and keep on keeping on. There’s always a next step.