I had some trouble sleeping last night, and as I chased the pillow, I was reminded of something that upset me a few months ago. Insomnia driven nights are never good times to contemplate failure, but I’m the kind of person that finds it difficult to get it out of my brain once the thought has popped up.
In one of the writing communities I frequent, I was encouraged by a friend to apply to be one of their volunteer writing mentors. It seemed like a given I would be able to get the position. In the past, I had organized several online writing groups, proofread and edited friends’ writing, and even had a weekly, informal, online writing class I had done to help fellow writers improve their work. The class involved me picking a topic each week, drafting a short lesson, sharing it and then discussing it with my fellow writers. It was a thing I really looked forward to each week, so I was excited to possibly do it again.
But I didn’t get the gig. I was told that it was not based on my experience or ability, that outside factors had taken me out of the running. For some reason, that only made things worse. I had thought I was a shoe-in, that it was a given that anyone would want my skills and experience. Though I was rather disappointed about the whole thing, I did my best to suck it up and soldier on.
It was as if the universe knew I needed a bit of validation, as well as a pick-me-up. Within two weeks, I found out that I had gotten a freelance job I had applied for around the same time as the volunteer gig, a job that would pay me for my time and efforts. The job entailed working as a mentor to a budding writer, which was very similar to the volunteer position I had not gotten. It was vindicating and helped to remind me that my skills and hard work were valued.
If I had gotten the volunteer position, I might have ended up taking a step back from the sorts of jobs I want, rather than a step forward. I might have had less time to work on projects that took me closer to my goals. While I’m still working on how bummed I felt about not getting that position, I’m also learning the value of realizing sometimes you miss out on one opportunity, so that another more fitting opportunity can swing your way.
I know that “Sometimes things fall apart so they can fall into place,” shoulds horribly cliche, but in this instance, it was definitely true for me. Now, I get to continue to work on my skills as an editor and writing mentor, while placing myself even closer to my goals. I think we all have moments where our confidence is shaken, but if we don’t give up, we never know what might be around the corner. Failure happens to all successful people, sometimes many times, before they finally hit their stride. So I won’t give up, and I hope you won’t either.