It’s day three of Blogvember. I’m following the prompts from Andrew Canion, which can be found here.

Trust the process. Enjoy the journey. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Failure is just another chance to succeed. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn something from it.

The list goes on.

The above are just a sampling of the clichés that saturate what we’re told is a binary distinction: success or failure. It’s inundated in our culture, found in movies, literature, sports, and riddled nowadays in the world of social media. There’s winners or losers, with winners being those who succeed, and losers those who fail. Alas, it’s even constantly sputtered by the President, who is obsessed with winning at all costs, and being viewed as successful (despite a documented history otherwise, but that’s another story altogether).

When I think of the last year, I see plenty of failure. Missed opportunities, details overlooked, things I said but wished I hadn’t. On the other hand, I’ve had some successes. Professional growth, successful interactions when interpreting, or particularly good progress for some patients who come to me for speech therapy. There’s even some overlap there: errors recognized lead to greater success in the end, or perhaps a specific error I made lead me to a new realization about a concept I hadn’t fully considered.

The more I grow in both of my fields, the more I see how much I still have to learn, and how much I still want to get better so that the individuals I serve can benefit more.

I’ve been a novice in two separate fields, and without the mistakes being made, and the subsequent learning and growing from them, I wouldn’t get to be doing even better by the people I work with now.

I have immense gratitude for the individuals who helped me learn great lessons through my mistakes. Even in moments where I didn’t do my best (I strive for this to only be because I couldn’t, not because I wouldn’t), I not only learned how to work through it, but how to recognize when something isn’t working.

When I was facing significant anxiety at a job I loved, and suffering burnout, my leaving my position felt like failure. But within that failure, I learned about what drives me, about what burnout can do psychologically, and I took the lessons learned from what I now recognize (both to myself and aloud) what was absolutely a hostile work environment created by a colleague. Perhaps my only failure was not being brave enough to speak up in time, daring only to do so when it was clearly too late.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it’s lead me to take chances on myself I never would have otherwise. Another cliché likes to say everything happens for a reason. I don’t buy this one for a minute either. That said, I do think we have the ability to take perspective of something, good or bad, and choose how we move forward from it. I think about the path I’ve taken over the past few years, since leaving what I thought was my dream job, and realize I’m in a better space now than I was then. It took work to get there, and does each day, but I’m glad to have taken the opportunity to reflect on grow on it, and I hope I can keep that spirit alive.