Best Friends: Failure and Success

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan

What’s up with wanting something for nothing? What’s up with thinking that the hardest things in life should be easy? I continue to be amazed at how many people search “running a half marathon without training.” I Googled it too, and ran the thing—without training—but still.

I’m thinking about how so many of the things that are worthwhile in life require hard work, dedication, and an unwillingness to give up. I think about my friends who’ve started businesses, raised families, and pursued their dreams, sometimes all at the same time. I think about myself, writing a draft of my memoir and now a book proposal wondering: will anybody even care?

I set a deadline for myself a few weeks ago and became several versions of crazy in my attempts to reach it. And then I was stopped in my tracks: I caught a nasty cold. I fought through it for a couple of days, but it fought back just as hard. The message was clear: slow down, sister, you’re out of control.

So I did. I took two days off from work. I pouted, whined, and stared at the ceiling. I didn’t write much, and it nearly killed me. Then, after five days of strugglefest 2012 I went to the doctor. And I got better.

Today was my first day feeling mostly well and not having to work, so I got after my proposal with gusto. I’m almost done, but not quite, and it will be a few more days before I send it off to prospective agents. I didn’t really reach my deadline, but I didn’t really fail either. Perhaps I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Perhaps.

Yesterday I went out for a short run after a week of being grounded. I needed something to help me along, so I told the TED I iPhone app that I had twenty minutes and wanted to be inspired. It introduced me Brené Brown’s talk “The Power of Vulnerability.”

She set out to study shame for a year, but continued for six. She talks about our willingness to move forward even where there are no guarantees. She talks about investment in relationships that may or may not work out. She says it takes courage to be imperfect, and that shame is really a fear of disconnection, that there might be something about you that doesn’t allow you to connect with others. Nobody wants to talk about shame, but the less we talk about it the more we have it.

Brené interviewed people about love and they told her about heartbreak. When she asked about belonging, she was told stories about exclusion. When she asked about connection, people told her about times when they felt disconnected.

This was my favorite line from the talk: “In order for connection to happen we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Really seen.” But don’t take my word for it; join over six million other people and give it a listen. The Power of Vulnerability

We live in an uncertain world, yet we try to make everything certain. There are no guarantees, and seriously, if there were where would the motivation be? Guaranteed success would zap all of the fun out of trying. I know this.

You can Google “running a half marathon without training” dozens of times and you can read just as many opinions, but you won’t know if it’s possible for YOU unless you try.

It was hard this morning to rouse myself out of a Benadryl induced sleep, knowing I wasn’t going to meet today’s deadline, but hoping to make some progress. Then I got what I needed–a smashing pep talk from a friend and a link to this video in an email: An Awesome World

Then another blogger shared Mind Tricks, my last post, and said some really nice things about it. Her blog is pretty terrific, so please check it out!

Here’s one thing I know for sure: I always feel better if I try and fail than if I don’t try at all. How do you feel?

A Little Help From My Friends

Last May Shelby Humphreys awarded me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, and I was supposed to do something with it, but I slacked. Until now. Better late than never?

I thought it was sweet of Shelby to nominate me, but I suppose I didn’t think my newish blog was all that inspiring or that I deserved an award, even if it was a wee award from a friend. You know how sometimes you think someone’s a bitch, when really they’re just shy or insecure? If I’m ever being a hellcat, just assume I’m operating from a place of self-doubt and please don’t take it personally.


Things have changed a bit, and now my lovely readers (that’s YOU!) from over seventy countries are telling me that my blog is inspiring. And who doesn’t like some positive reinforcement? I hear it on this blog and in private messages. Sitting at dinner with friends, I hear that my writing always takes an unexpected twist. Unpredictable is good in books and movies, so I’ll take it. I hear from people on the street, in the grocery store, at work. They tell me my posts are engaging, relatable, inspiring.

My friend Michael Heinbach, who also happens to be a Sports Writer at the Missoulian, was thanked by a local high school football coach for “keeping things positive” and for “supporting the hard work” of the players. He posted on Facebook this morning about the exchange: One simple gesture, two short minutes resulted in a smile on my face the rest of the day. I challenge my friends to do the same today – take a brief moment out of your day to tell someone you appreciate what they do.

He’s right; do it.

It’s a shame that we need outside reinforcement to believe in ourselves, but it’s also a shame to think that life is a one-person job, when really we’re all in this together. So, in honor of your support I’m going to very belatedly accept Shelby’s award. Please visit her blog HERE and prepare to be inspired by her tenacity and insight. Shelby’s had an interesting year, and she does a terrific job taking readers on her journey of losing 100 pounds in a year.

In order to “accept” the Very inspiring Blogger Award I have to list seven random facts about myself and nominate fifteen other bloggers. And friends, I’m going to ask you do something for me too.

Every time I post here several hundred people read it, but only a fraction of those people have signed up as followers of my blog. I know nobody really likes to sign up for anything—I surely don’t. Remember my aversion to contracts and leases?—but…please? You’ll only get, at maximum, two emails every week letting you know I’ve posted something new. You will not get spam from WordPress. Nothing like that. I promise. You can even mark the emails from WordPress as spam so they don’t gunk up your inbox.

Please? I’ll explain in the next post why this is important, but for now, if you’re enjoying this site, please consider doing me a favor and click the “follow” button on the top left of the page. There’s also a link to the right of this post to “Follow Blog Via Email.” Both should work, but please let me know if it’s not a smooth process and I’ll see if I can streamline it.

Seven random facts:

1. I like knee socks, feather pillows, and baby shampoo.

2. I do not like to share my books. Sixteen years ago I gave a box of my favorites to a guy who was going into the woods in Canada and I never got them back. I write all over my books and they double as journals. Sixteen years later I still think about those books…What I’d give to know what my twenty-year-old self scribbled in the margins…

3. I like almost every food except for anything made from liver. I will, however, eat gas station corndogs. Jalapeno cheddar is my favorite, and if they’re 2 for $1 (thank you small town Montana and Idaho), well, let’s just say I’m never one to turn down a deal.

4. I often drink a dozen cups of tea in a day, but I start my day with coffee. Sometimes when I’m falling asleep at night I get excited thinking about my morning coffee. (Side fact: I pee a lot.)

5. I wish more people cared about spelling and grammar. If I could I’d buy everyone a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves and The Elements of Style.

6. I do not like to be cold, but I live in Montana. Seat heaters, electric blankets, hot water bottles, cozy boots, and down jackets are my friends. (See tea and knee socks above….)

7. I’m a great starter but a terrible finisher. Working on it….

Here are the fifteen blogs I nominate for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

Visible and Real


The Everyday Strange and Sacred

Heart Banter

The Read Room

Writing of Many Kinds

The Saltwater Twin

Life in the Mean

Talk to Diana

Cultivating Style

Creative Exfoliation

Food, Fashion & Art

Words of Peace

Serene Reflection

I run I Breathe

My Monkey Hill

And there are so many more…..

Today is John Lennon’s Birthday. He would have been 72. In 1967 he wrote, with his friend Paul McCartney, A Little Help From My Friends. I can’t think of a better song for today.

Happy Birthday, John!

Image(Getty Photo)

Today Lady Gaga will we presented with the LennonOno Grant for Peace in Reykjavik, Iceland. This award celebrates pop activism (So cool. So subtle.), and Gaga is certainly deserving. Check out her Born This Way Foundation that empowers youth and inspires bravery. Her newest venture is Body Revolution that encourages people to “embrace and share their flaws.” She’s so awesome I can hardly stand it.

John Lennon was one of the badasses of his generation, and now we have Lady Gaga fighting the good fight. Seriously. We are so lucky. These days it really does seem like the world is falling apart, but sometimes things have to come all the way undone in order to become stronger.

You’re just left with yourself all the time, whatever you do anyway. You’ve got to get down to your own God in your own temple. It’s all down to you, mate. – John Lennon

“And now, I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.” – Lady Gaga