As human beings, we want to succeed, we want to do well in life. We have been told time and time again that “failure is not an option.” I think that phrase is misguided and misleading. With maturity — or should I say age, I have discovered that this was not sage advice. Leaning on this belief that failure is not ideal, I took the safe route all too often. I rarely failed because I set my goals low enough that failure was nearly impossible. That is what I did in my younger years. I tried to choose safe relationships, a safe career, safe goals. All which led me to safety but limited growth and fulfillment. I applied for jobs which I knew that I was almost guaranteed to get. I set goals, like receiving my Master’s degree, which again, I was pretty confident that I could achieve with perseverance and a targeted focus on my studies. In my personal life, my low standards for dating often led to disaster after disaster because I was willing to accept too little and give too much. I didn’t want to fail, but ironically these low standards always led to dating disasters.

Thankfully, time led me to take more chances and take more risks. I observed some of my colleagues and close friends setting high goals and often exceeding them, so I dipped my toe in the water and began taking small, calculated risks in all areas of my life. I started with work and school. I worked on my administrative certification despite hearing how difficult it was to pass the exam and also, I was unsure of how I could afford the courses. I took a chance and started the program. It was challenging, but I succeeded. I am proud of that certification because I knew that success was not guaranteed. I had to really work for it. I also applied for roles outside of the classroom. I pushed myself. I loved having my own students and being only responsible for those seven or eight classes. I knew that I could help more students in a different role so I forced myself to apply for other roles. I set higher goals. I am so glad that I did. Working on a district level allows us to impact education far more than I would have in a single classroom. I cherish classroom teachers and aides because of the work I personally know they do diligently every single day, but I knew that I was being led to serve in other ways. Throughout my career, I have applied for several jobs that I didn’t get; it is never a good feeling but it is always a learning experience. Besides, I feel that I always find my way to the right roles.

Additionally, I decided to set my standards high when it came to dating. I journaled past mistakes and created a list of traits I would like to have in a mate. I would never set my expectations that low again. I prayed over it and let it go. I was not concerned with how many dates did not work out. I was determined to find the person I was destined to be with and I did. The chances that I take in all areas of my life, don’t always work out. There are many times when I don’t succeed — no matter how hard I try. Nevertheless, I dust myself off and get back up. Failure is an option and I am learning to embrace it more (I still don’t quite like it). Each time we fall and rise, we inspire others to do the same. We rise to the occasion and we are all the better for it.

T.R.Y. Life learner, mother, daughter, poet, teacher, rights crusader. Always on a mission.