I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all felt like we have failed at something or another during our lifetime. Yesterday, for me, could easily be one of those times. So, I thought about it and decided that “failure” is simply a matter of perspective.

I have a 1958 version of the Thorndike Barnhart Dictionary on my desk and consulted it for the true definition of the word. Here’s what it had to say:

Failure: 1. a being unable to do or become; 2. a not doing, neglecting; 3. a being lacking or absent being not enough, 4. losing strength; becoming weak…

So, let me start at the beginning. As most of you know, I write for Buddy Magazine. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to have a presence at a Dallas event, Lake-A-Palooza. As part of the exchange for me working a booth, I got to bring my books.

I have everything needed for an outdoor event. I have a pop-up canopy, an 8′ table, a 6′ table, card table and chairs. So, of course, I offered my setup.

Unloading was easy as I could drive my car in, unload, than go park. Setting up the canopy required help. Thankfully, the nice folks setting up next to me offered to help.

Take a look at the lake white capping in the background. The wind blew so hard that I had to put the easels away and lay my books down flat on the table.

Long story short, I was at this event for 12 hours and walked away with $76. Was it a failure? This is where my musings come in. Financially, yes it was a failure. That is not much money for the amount of hours invested.

Physically, it was a failure. I had to do the entire setup and tear down by myself (thank goodness for kind neighbors). Because the event was not over when I decided to leave, I couldn’t drive my car back in to load everything. I had to carry it all one piece at a time to the car. When I left around 8:30 last night, there was not one part of my body that didn’t ache.

BUT, in another way, it was a great success. I got to tell so many people about my stories and put my books in a few new hands.

So, how do you define failure? To me it’s all subjective.

Would I do it again? NO! Not by myself. That was the lesson I took away from it. At 67, I no longer can handle the big stuff alone. So, next time, I take someone with me or don’t go. 🙂

All-in-all, everything turned out okay. The wind finally laid and it turned into a beautiful day with lots of music and people.

The opposite of failure is success. And who knows – maybe next time I’ll sell out of books and go home with a pocketful of money!

At any rate, I LOVE this quote!

34 thoughts on “Failure?

  1. Well-said, Rob! Money is such a limiting factor in life for many of us. And, that book WILL be published! And it will be a total victory! I look forward to celebrating with you!


  2. Success is getting 75 dollars for doing something you love on a beautiful day while meeting all kinds of interesting people.

    I often complain to people that I seem to have a knack for everything but making money.

    If I define success by my bankroll I’m piddling survivor. If I define success as having the freedom and basic material supports for doing what I love I’m a blowout success.

    Yes…I really want to publish that book and yes it’s taking time but when that book comes out it will be because I struggled with my fears and won. If it sells, that’s gravy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, ma’am, that’s exactly what I did. The aches are subsiding today. 🙂 The older I get, the longer it takes to bounce back, but all that matters is that we DO bounce back! Thanks for your comment, Staci!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m glad you choose to discuss what failure is. It is subjective to how we interpret it and in my opinion you were not only successful doing this but extremely brave. To me even selling book would make it a great day. On the other hand the set up and time definitely sounds like a two person job at least. I hope you made some new fans who will continue to promote you long after the event is over


  4. Oh, Jan… my heart hurts for you — and so does my back! I used to make a lot of jewelry (mostly beading and wrapped crystals). In my early 40s I tried to do a couple of shows. I had to carry my displays, and lay out all those little pieces (which involved a lot of bending over). It never amounted to anything anyone would call success. Most importantly, it was too much for one person. My back had already been damaged a few times. Of course I continued to do more than was physically possible for one person, damaging it more and more over the next 18 years…
    You, my friend, did not meet that dictionary definition of “failure” because you were not “not doing” or “neglecting,” or “absent.”
    And you never fail to inspire.
    Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Teagan, you most definitely relate to the physical effort of setting up and tearing down. With tons of tiny pieces, I can only imagine how long it took. Thank you SO much for your heartfelt empathy and comment! Hugs back to you, my dear!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jan, I wouldn’t consider that a failure at all. I’ve been to events where I only sold a handful of books, but I gained so much from the experience, networked with other authors, and learned more about my craft. Now I look at every outing, regardless of the outcome, as a learning experience.

    I love your quote at the end. I need to embrace it! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love that quote Jan. For me , failure is just an empty word, a scary monster, which has to be shrugged off. Don’t forget…we meet success only when we knock off this monster called failure. Yes, you should have taken somebody along and devote a few hours less. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree will the other comments.
    Yes, that gusty wind can tire you out and what with wagging everything to your car makes your whole body ache. That kind of day calls for a long soaking bath which is good for the muscles.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. No, definitely not a failure. Apart from the hard work of assembling and dissembling it seems to
    have been a perfect day. You sold some books and made people aware. I think it is a success when
    you take on such a venture and love your last quotation. You go again, get help next time. 😊 .


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Miriam! That was my lesson for sure. But, I loved talking with the people and introducing them to Luke and Darlina. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.


  9. I think as we become older we are blessed with the wisdom — hard-earned — to choose the places we put our energy. Your presence at the event may have benefited someone in a way you will never know of. So, tired, certainly, but failure? Certainly not!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Failure? No. Not choosing to go would be to admit a fear of failure. I think too many people define success by monetary value gained but money isn’t everything. You met new people and who knows what word of mouth will do from those who bought your books?

    Liked by 1 person

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