Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.

Oct

23rd

failure

Part of cultivating a good life is redefining what failure means to you and embracing it for exactly what it is.

Odd topic, perhaps. But let’s go there. I do want to talk about FAILURE.

The simple definition of failure = “lack of success.” I’m going to share a few examples with you and you can decide for yourself if you feel that failure is truly the lack of success.


Mr Walt Disney sits at his drawing board in his studio, drawing a sketch of Mickey Mouse

WALT DISNEY. Do you like Disney movies? Have you been to a Disney park? He pretty much redefined American childhood. Did you know that Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”? Several more of his businesses failed before the premiere of his movie Snow White.

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STEVE JOBS. Do you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, or Apple computer in your home? Did you know that Steve Jobs was actually fired from Apple at one point?

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THOMAS EDISON. Do you enjoy having LIGHT? Do you like watching movies? Do you like MAKING movies? Did you know that Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything”? Edison went on to be fired from his first two jobs for not being suitably productive. We know that Edison went on to hold more than 1,000 patents and invented some world-changing devices, like the phonograph, practical electrical lamp, and a movie camera. This famous American is attributed with failing over 10,000 times to invent a commercially viable electric lightbulb, but he didn’t give up. When asked by a newspaper reporter if he felt like a failure and if he should give up, after having gone through over 9,000 failed attempts, Edison simply stated, “Why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitely over 9,000 ways an electric lightbulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.”

JK Rowling

J.K. ROWLING. Do you love the Harry Potter books and movies? Did you know she became the first billionaire author in 2004? Did you also know that she was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first Harry Potter novel?

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DR. SEUSS. Do you and / or your children like his books? The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham … there are so many. His books have sold over 600 million copies. Did you know that he had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers?


I don’t aspire to be as famous as any of these people, but just like most of you, I do know something about success and failure.

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I was teased as a teenager for not partying like the rest of them as they experimented with harmful substances … but I am so grateful to have kept my mind and body clear of all of that. And now there are hundreds of thousands of you around the globe opting to follow my social media, receive my emails, and buy my products. So maybe I wasn’t “cool” by their standards, but the bigger picture of a happier life was always on my mind.

I got a D in high school photography … but I created a product that helps to save millions of photographs. And ironically, I regularly share photo tips.

I failed freshman English in college … but I re-took the class, got an A, and went on to write and publish 9 books.

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When the economy was going down and the memory-keeping industry was looking like it might tank, I started a business in said “tanking market” which has flourished and is helping countless people preserve their memories around the globe.

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My husband and I had years of failed attempts to start a family. Through a lot of challenging experiences and discomfort from endless tests and procedures … we finally became pregnant with Porter … and then Claire and then Crew joined our family as well. Our children are our greatest successes.

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I like to think about failure because it helps me recognize and acknowledge my personal successes — big and small. Failure WILL happen. But I don’t say that to leave you feeling discouraged or depressed. Quite the opposite! I hope that these stories inspire you.

We all need to expect bumps in the road. We should expect failed attempts. WHY?? Because remembering this reality equips us so we’re mentally and emotionally ready to pick ourselves back up when it happens. We should accept responsibility when it happens. We should learn from our mistakes and do better next time when it happens. Without struggles, we can not progress.

So … back to the definition of failure. “Lack of success.” Really??

I say the definition of failure = An opportunity to LEARN and GROW; failure is an opportunity to build character. I just turned 40 on Friday and as I’ve reflected on my years of many ups and downs, I am grateful for every. single. bit of challenge that I’ve faced because those experiences are part of who I am. Failures. Successes. They’re all a part of my story.

I would absolutely love to hear about one of your “failures” that helped to strengthen your character.

COMMENTS

7 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    Dear Becky and I do mean “dear”. You have totally pumped me up today. I watched your Facebook Live replay earlier about how so many of us have given up scrapbooking for whatever reason and felt super encouraged to keep on keepin’ on. And now this wonderful post about how we are not alone in failure and that with strength and determination we can all turn it around by what we learn from it. So on this particular Sunday, I am once again reminded that I am truly a fan of yours and will continue to be, Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Erika Bates says:

    Becky,
    Though we have never met, you feel like a dear friend. It’s funny to see you write in this topic today because I was actually discussing this with my husband today: feeling like a failure because I seem to have relatively little expected of me (having only one wonderfully well behaved child, a fun job and a great husband) but still can’t seem to keep up. I used you as the prime example of a woman I wish to emulate. I know you have an amazing support team around you, but SO much of your success is your own. Hopefully this won’t come off as stalker-y, (haha!) but as sincere admiration: As I struggle to juggle home and family, I think of your example. As I fight to become more active in the church and drag myself to 3 hours of meetings in Sunday, I remember the stories of blessings you have shared. I just needed to tell you today, that you have been a help to me. I seek out your stories as cheer ups and encouragement, and while I love your products, and your amazing business, your example and words are worth so much more. Thank you. For all you do.
    Erika Bates

  3. Susan says:

    Becky – what a beautiful, inspiring post! It’s amazing that I found this today! I was feeling down about myself – feeling that people don’t understand me and don’t like me for who I am. I read your post about not fitting in with people, but staying true to who you are. You have totally inspired me to continue to be just who I am! I have been following your career since the very beginning! I am so proud of you and feel so blessed to have your influence in my life! God bless you!

  4. Jessy says:

    Becky:
    You have absolutely no idea how badly I needed this! I’ve been struggling all week-end with the failures. Past, present, and future. Worrying about all of the what if’s. Praise and worship music helped me on the drive home this morning and I was able to get some good sleep (nursing night shifts). Now this! Failure comes, and we will make it go! Survive and thrive! Thank you so much for the happy tears!!!!

  5. Becky,
    You say good things. You write posts that have meaning. You share from your heart.

    Failure. Perfectionism. Stress. Are all very big words that mean a lot of different things to so many people. But I think you touch on them in a very sincere way.

    I can relate, and we have some parallels. I never saw the need to be a part of the drug scene, I’m 10 years older than you… and would rather be the nerd I was.

    I too thought I’d become an English major…. but got an F on one of my first papers Freshman year in college.

    We too, had difficulty getting pregnant… but it was just all timing.

    I too, have been fired from a job where I thought I was a good employee.

    I often feel that you are speaking to me, with me, and I know you often state you wish you could sit and meet each one of us… but in your way, I think you do! You have found the good part of social media. Your honesty about faith and family, your laughter and smiles behind the scenes about your business & success… and the every day banter you have with your employees and people you meet… is just the wonderful ‘normal’ that you get to share with a whole lot of people.
    Thank you,
    Peggy Sue

  6. It was time in our marriage to stay building our family. We got pregnant right away! We were overjoyed but at 9 weeks we had a miscarriage. It war the most physically painful experience of my life. We kept trying, 4 months later we were expecting again. And 9 months later my sweet Melody Joy entered our lives. Everything was perfect. We thought, hey this is awesome, let’s add another! So again we got pregnant right away. My babies would be 16 months apart, oh my. But at 13 weeks I had another miscarriage. The baby had a heart beat, I saw him kicking and twirling inside me the same day! I was a failure. I was crushed, I failed. I didn’t understand why this, why now. I prayed and prayed. I was told to begin reading my scriptures everyday. It brought me closer to my Heavenly Father. We kept trying. Another miscarriage. Another failure. This time, after feeling sorry for myself, an immense feeling of gratitude over came me for the supportive husband I had along with an adorable little toddler needing me to be strong.
    Finally we got pregnant again. I was so terrified of it happening again that I was not excited at all. I was too scared to show any excitement. 9 months later my second daughter, Emerson Hope come into our lives bringing hope again. She brought lots of challenges for me and my husband but it brought my husband and I closer together. Then one day last summer I took a pregnancy test, surprise! 17 months apart. Shelby Grace blessed us with a third daughter.

    Heavenly father knows what we can handle and we can not. When we pray there are only 3 simply answers we can receive, yes, no, or grow. Thrive my challenges I have grown into the woman I know my heavenly Father wants me to be. Life is hard, don’t make it harder by not getting help! Start with prayer! He is waiting for you!

  7. Jill says:

    Becky,

    Thank you for this post!!

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