Since I was 18 I've had this big dream of being a best selling Christian author. At the time, I wanted to mirror Christine Caine's journey of writing books, selling thousands of copies, and travel the world speaking at large conferences. (*Note: I still admire Christine Caine. I've just added people to the list that inspire me.)
I have many other dreams too: run a marathon in all 50 states, go to a game at every MLB stadium, open an event center that allows dreams to flourish and welcomes a community of people, get married (check), have children, build our own house, and visit Europe and Australia. There are other dreams, too, just don't want to bore you with the laundry list.
Some of these dreams will happen and others won't. Some are a lot more attainable than others. Some of these dreams will cause me to close the door on other dreams because I'll be stretched too thin otherwise.
I'm now 24 years old going on 25 and have yet to complete, publish or sell the first copy of my aforementioned book. For years, I told my closest friends that I was going to write a book and get started. But I never did.
Why? Well honestly, I didn't know how. Nor did I ever allot the amount of time it would take to write a book. College (both undergrad and grad) took a large majority of my time along with extra curricular activities, friends, family, church, etc. If you know me at all, I keep a busy schedule. There was always a reason why it wasn't the best time to write or that I really didn't know where to even begin. The other thing: I was terrified of failing. I was scared to spend time, money and resources for something that could honestly not work out.
About a year and a half ago, I had this inkling feeling of "I need to do more." Now again, I'm a Type A busybody who has to force herself to take a sabbath so I constantly wrestled with the thought, "is satan trying to get me to overload myself to distract me from something that needs my full attention?" But after much prayer and thought, I knew this was a calling and dream I wanted (and needed) to pursue since I was 18: write a book.
As I've shared before, I started this website, my business, and my blog as the first baby steps toward writing the book. I knew I needed something that felt attainable and this was something I knew I could do. But let me be very honest: through every step, small and large, in the last year and half, I have still be terrified to fail, ready to quit many times. In the back of my mind though, I knew if I wanted to pursue this dream I had to press on.
On the outside, it may seem like I'm taking big strides and creating a "successful" business. No, I'm not the biggest event planner out there, I don't have 10,000 sales on Etsy, nor do I have a book ready to print. In fact, this journey has been full of failures and setbacks.
I am not great with technology or graphics, so designing my website or creating marketing posts was (and still is) a big feat. I continually second guess myself and feel embarrassed about how things look. I post awkward captions and stories, share things at the wrong time of day, and often feel dumb when I receive little to no response. When I was ready to design my first product, I realized I had none of the appropriate technology or design creativity to take my vision and make it a reality. I was ready to quit because I didn't know how to design, use Adobe very well, or what was entirely legal for me to do. But I had already announced a launch date so I had to figure it out. When it came time to launch my product, I realized the night before my website wouldn't support my ecommerce needs. For several hours, Taylor and I worked to create a solution. After the first week of my shop being open, I wondered how I would sell the rest of my stickers or if I should continue making products because I didn't know how I'd expand my reach.
And these are only a few of my many failures in the last year. Some of these failures seem small, but let me tell you, they've felt like Goliath the entire time. And every Goliath I've faced has created feelings and emotions of wanting to throw in the towel and say it's not worth it.
Normally, I would have quit by now. But something that has been continuously reiterated to me is this: expect setbacks. Expect failure.
As I've learned, we truly can't achieve that goal or dream if we don't fail. Failure in this journey has taught me a lot: how to charge sales tax, who is my target audience, or what do people want to read, see and purchase. I wouldn't appreciate where I am now or even the efforts that people like me go through if I hadn't experienced these failures. Failure has taught me what doesn't work so I can turnaround and figure out what does. Failure has taught me that I'm an imperfect human who isn't alone in this journey. Failure has taught me Who I need to rely on in this process and that I can't get anywhere without Him. Failure has taught me to remember my Why in all of this: to help people find their people and point them to Jesus.
Maybe the question shouldn't be: "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?", but rather: "What would you do if you knew you'd come out on the other side of failure?"
Failure is inevitable. It make us who we are today and tomorrow. Failure helps us refine our goals and motivations. Embrace it when it comes, but don't quit because it happens.
Dare to fail.
For daily encouragement, follow along my journey @captivatingcommunity on Instagram. To purchase a Free Indeed or Hope Abound sticker, click here. (Only a few left of each!)