Sometimes You Just Have to Outrun the Bastards

This is an essay about failure.

I got promoted a few months ago, but it’s the failures that led to this that made all the difference. They set me on a path to continually stack better habits and deliver better results, both at work and at home.

Two distinct failures led me to becoming the type of person I needed to be to stop failing.

It all started when I interviewed for a leadership position at work and was found wanting. While nobody wants to hear that in the moment, it led to valuable insight once I suppressed the ego monster.

On that first attempt, I learned what it would take to level up. Which led me to realize that I wasn’t yet ready. I was overconfident and thought too much of my effort level and abilities.

The truth hurts sometimes, but the truth was I wasn’t good enough.

Don’t like it? Get better.

So I put my head down and went to work.

Things happened that resulted in a more clear, more confident and more mature version of myself.

I got healthy again. My father passed away. My wife and I had another baby.

Another opportunity arose. Another failure.

On the second attempt, I learned that I now thought too little of my abilities. On the other hand, I was far better prepared.

And I was close. Although small consolation that can be sometimes.

By this time, the compounded effects of my efforts to get better were beginning to show up more tangibly. They were showing up in my professional relationships, in my effectiveness at work, and in my paycheck.

Failing twice in public led to a change for the better. I am thankful for those failures.

Those failures showed me who I was and who I needed to become.

They also showed me that even when we start doing things right, we must be patient.

Six months after the second failure, I got a call for the promotion I had now long-sought.

Sometimes you just have to outrun the bastards.

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