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The Benefits of Failure

No one wants to fail.  Certainly not me.  But sometimes failure can actually produce unexpected positive results.  Let me tell you a story of how I learned this.

A couple years ago, my hubby and I decided to ride our BMW motorcycles from Myrtle Beach to Watkins Glen State Park, in the Finger Lakes area of NY.  It was early in September and the weather was as close to perfect as it could be.  We drove 1100 miles through the mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and arrived safe and exhilarated.  We pitched our tent among the trees and decided to ride into the nearby town to pick up some ice, drinks and other supplies.  The road leading into the town was full of curves and hills.  As we approached an intersection, my hubby (who’s always in the lead), raced to the top of the hill, glanced both ways, barely coming to a complete stop, and made a quick left and off he went.  I didn’t quite make it to the top of the banked, curved hill.  In one horrifying moment, I realized I was off balance, and there was no way I could straighten the bike on that angle.  Over we went – the bike going one way, and me rolling in the other direction.

Now, let me stop and tell you that my greatest fear had been to go to this rally with 1000 other riders, and have something like this happen and draw attention to myself.  I had only been riding a few years, and even though I had about 50K miles under my belt, I was far less experienced than most of the other riders.  Almost all the riders were men, and the women who were there were primarily riding on the back of their guy’s bike.

So, with my husband nowhere in sight, I picked myself up and immediately was surrounded by men pulling over to see about me.  Mercifully, I wasn’t hurt because I had the good sense to ride with proper protective clothing and leather gloves.  It was my pride that was hurt.  Several guys picked up my bike, and one even offered to ride it over the hill to the other side of the road (where it was nice and flat).  I readily accepted the offer.  About this time, hubby came roaring back down the road – he had finally missed me! – and asked where in the world I had been.  I explained I had been in the middle of the road – thank you very much! So, what did I learn?

Here are a few lessons:

1.  My greatest fear came to pass, and I survived it.  I think I internally relaxed about it, and I rode hundreds of miles around the Finger Lakes, and never even came close to another incident.  The worst had happened, and I was over it.

2.  It actually created a sense of “belonging” among the other riders.  They were gracious, kind, and talk around the campfires included the old saying among bikers: “There are only two kinds of riders – those who have dropped their bikes, and those who will.”  I was now part of the club!

3.  One man gave me a well-written motorcyclist’s manual with some nuts-and-bolts tips on handling a big bike.  I tried some of those techniques, and became a better rider.  I even learned how to counter-steer through sharp curves.  What a blast!

And last but not least – hubby decided to ride in such a way that I wasn’t a fading dot in his rear-view mirror!

So, what are you afraid of?  What failures have you experienced in life and business?  Can you stop and make a list of how those failures produced good in your life?

Leave me your comments and tell me your story…I want to hear it!