Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight

It seems I am always in a place where I am learning new things. I get stale if I sit still too long. And one thing I have had to get past time and time again is the fear of failure. For many years, this fear kept me from going out on the limb. I wouldn’t put myself out there and try something new because I was afraid I would suck at it and would be embarrassed.

The following post showed up in my Facebook memories this week, and once again, the universe is sending me what I need to hear at just the right time…

Failure: The Great Equalizer

Lately, I have been talking about fear in my posts.

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Fear of failure is probably the number one reason people don’t try to achieve their dreams. Nobody wants to fail at something. But I have a secret to share…

Everyone will fail at something.

Failure is the great equalizer. If you get out of bed each day and go out into the world and try to do something – anything! – you will occasionally fail. It’s the one thing that everyone on earth has in common.

Some people may be reading this, shaking their heads and saying, Nope, not me. I have never failed at anything, nor will I ever fail at anything I attempt in the future… Bullpucky!

If you have never failed, you have never reached outside your comfort zone. If you don’t plan on failing in the future, you are planning on living out the days of your life wrapped in bubble wrap and never interacting with anyone else.

You may be a world class athlete, but you may fail at your first attempt at baking. You may be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but you may have zero flexibility and those advanced yoga poses will beat you. You may be a concert pianist, but fail big time when you try to do your own taxes. You may be perfect 99% of the time in your chosen field, or when working on a task you have done many times, but you will fail the other 1% of the time. You will make mistakes.

Failure is how the universe teaches us. We learn to walk, by crawling and falling down a lot. We learn to talk by babbling in gibberish no one can understand at first. We learn to complete our school work by getting some answers wrong, and we learn to succeed in our chosen careers by making mistakes.

The trick is learning from the mistakes, the failures, the missteps.

If we fail at something and do not take away a lesson on how to do it better, or maybe how not to do it in the future, then we fail twice.

The beauty of failure is its ability to teach us how to succeed. We shouldn’t fear it. Failure, to some extent, is inevitable. I am not saying that we should not care about the outcome, that we shouldn’t strive to succeed. But we shouldn’t let our fear of failure freeze us in our tracks and keep us from even trying.

There is a Japanese proverb that puts it in perspective:

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

Great advice. If it is something worth doing, and doing well, you will get back up.

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Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

Sit Down and Shut Up

I have realized that the universe sends us lessons when we need them. And I should always follow along…

I have been taking an online workshop on self-hosted WordPress and the Genesis theme and extender plug in. It is my hope to some day move my little ol’ blog to a self-hosted site where I will have even more freedom to play. (Don’t get me wrong – WordPress.com ROCKS! and anyone looking to start a blog should definitely try the free version first.) But as with anything, I need to grow and spread my wings.

So, being a complete newbie to so much of the computer world, I did what I always do. I found a class and some books and have thrown myself into it. (I am a total nerd at heart!)

The universe must have though this was a grand idea, because a few days before I was going to just dive in, sign up with a hosting company and see what happens, I found a message.

This message came in the form of an opportunity to take a website design workshop for FREE. All that is required of me is to do the work and provide feedback so the instructor can better gear his course toward the absolute beginner.

SIGN ME UP!

So, I am a few days into the project and am loving it. This teacher is awesome and is breaking it all down into easily doable steps so we don’t get overwhelmed. I will be sure to share his site and course here when we are finished and he begins offering it to the public!

The hardest thing for me to do when learning something new and different is always to tell my inner critics to sit down and shut up. The little voice giggling in my head saying “who do you think you are to try” needs to be reigned in. I think we all have times in our lives when the brain imp comes out to bamboozle us into quitting too soon (often before we even try). I am here to say that if you ignore him, he eventually goes to a dark corner and sulks, leaving you to get on with the work at hand.

Finding this gentle nudge from the universe in my Facebook feed reminded me of some other instances of the not-so-subtle shout-outs from the powers that be that I have mentioned in my blog. Please feel free to click back through memory lane and learn the lessons that I did – our inner demons can be tamed. It is something I work on daily. But I am starting to learn.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

The Luck of the Irish

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and in light of the fact that a two-day state of emergency due to three feet of snow has left me behind in my work…

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

Raising Mighty Girls

March 8th is International Women’s Day. It was first observed in 1909 in New York and is now a holiday in many nations around the world. It has typically been a day for people to protest and strike for women’s rights around the world. While some people look at this as an activist’s dream, or a reason to march, or a divisive thing, I like to think that it is a day for us to celebrate strong women everywhere, a day to highlight women lifting other women up.

Why is it that so often girls spend more time cutting each other down instead of building each other up? I don’t recall learning to be a cutthroat competitor in grade school, but I do remember that it was far too easy to get caught up in the gossip and biting comments made about other girls, either as a participant or a victim. This goes
way beyond not having books with strong female characters and I am left wondering if there is something in our DNA that makes many girls view other girls as competition rather than friends.

I think it is important for us to instill a sense of inner strength in girls and women the world over. But it is even more important to instill a sense of sisterhood. And I am not saying that in a ultra-feminist-let’s-march-on-Washington kind of way. We don’t need to put on pink hats and put down men in order to be strong and support each other. As I type this, I worry that this will spawn some political debate and I want to nip that in the bud. That is not what this post is about.

I came across a video this morning on Facebook. It was originally posted by a page I follow and love – Rebel Girls. The creators of this page have published a fabulous book titled Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. You can check it out here. Their mission is to empower girls to grow up to be strong women! Anyhoo… here is the video for you to watch – I found it eye-opening.

This post is about teaching girls that they truly can do anything they put their minds to. And I think it’s important that they have equal representation in children’s books. I am not sure though that the disproportionate number of books that either don’t have girls at all or have girls who are too dumb to speak is not as glaringly obvious as this video makes it out to be.

I don’t think all princesses need to be replaced with female scientists. Yes, many princesses in kid lit are portrayed as wimps waiting to be saved by a man, but there are many who use some female ingenuity and courage to change their lives themselves. After all, didn’t Cinderella’s fairy godmother get her to the ball in the first place?

Another page I follow on FB, and share many posts from is A Mighty Girl. (They also have a great website full of inspirational toys and books for girls, FYI!) They, too, want to empower girls to grow into extraordinary women. I am not ashamed to say that even as I approach 50, I am still inspired by their stories and posts.

One of my favorite books as a kid was Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. It was about two girls who save themselves.  Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series is my hero. Though she is often referred to as bossy, she is also considered to be much smarter than either Harry or Ron. Matilda, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, Esperanza Rising, Ella Enchanted, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, The Hunger Games — There are many books out there that show us what strong girls are like!

For those of you trying to raise strong girls, or trying to find your strong inner girl, here are some links to reading lists of children’s books with strong female characters!

Top Read Along Books Starring Mighty Girls
Cool Girls of Children’s Literature
Early Chapter Books with Fierce Female Characters
50 of the Best Female Heroines in Middle Grade Books
Telling Her Story: 60 Books for Women’s History Month

What do you think? Do you feel girls are well-represented in the books that are written for young readers? What are some of your favorite kids books with strong female characters?

 

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

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