Embracing Failure

Updated: May 5, 2021

I am not one for hero worship or king making. I believe that we all have an opportunity for greatness. I have learned amazing life lessons from many who have crossed my path. However, there is one person who I have more admiration for than most – my youngest brother Harold.

Harold is a six-foot-five, autistic, African-American man. He lives on his own. Every day, he has to navigate a world that sees him as inferior on many different levels. His medication causes him to have ticks and jolts that are extremely visible. Yet, he gets up, puts on his clothes, and goes out into his community to face his fears, every day. Harold is an active volunteer in his church, attends art classes, and has his Associates degree in graphic design. He is truly living his best life.

Harold also has a driver’s license. Years ago, Harold decided he wanted to have a driver’s license “like everyone else”. He had a goal and he would not be swayed. My parents and I were nervous for him as he began his journey to this goal. Deep down, we did not think his goal was going to be met. We supported him anyway.

My mother paid for driving school lessons for him (he’s a pretty good driver). He did face a large obstacle. Although he was strong at actual driving, his autism and intellectual disabilities made the written portion of the test difficult. Harold would not be swayed – he had a goal to achieve.

He took his written portion 14 times before he finally passed.

He took the test 14 times.

He failed 13 times before he passed.

How many of us are willing to fail at something we want 13 times before we achieve our dream? How many of us could imagine being told no by the same person 13 times before we got to yes?

That’s the thing about going after your dreams or fulfilling your purpose. You may have to fail many times until you get to breakthrough. Stick with it. You probably won’t have to fail 13 times but you may fail more than once. When you finally reach your destination, you will feel the additional joy of having persevered through the obstacles you broke through.

The only way to Succeed with Passion is to embrace failure and celebrate the lessons you learn along the way.

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