A question was posed to me the other day that caused a lot of
consternation on my part as I wasn’t really sure how to answer. The
question was “if you could go back and erase any event in your life, would you do it?” I honestly struggled quite a bit with this because I have had some major failures…a business partner stole money from me, I lost jobs, and I never had a family. These are things most normal people would consider massive failures. I do too mind you, but what if I could erase the first one? I I would not have likely gotten my next job which turned out to be my favorite job in my career. I met many people while working there that I still consider dear friends. If my business partner had not done this to me I would not have been in the state of desperation I was in and probably would not have even considered this job. I don’t think I would erase this one.
The second one is composed of many job firings. It is not that I do anything wrong or that I am not an extremely hard worker. It is often a difference of opinion in how I think things should be done, versus how my boss thinks, and we part ways. I have been told that I am very smart but I question my intelligence because “who would get fired that much if they were smart?” Turns out, lots of entrepreneurs cannot work for others as they have a keen idea as to how they want things done. Also, corporate America is not for everyone. I would love to erase some of them but if I did I am not sure I would have the empathy and humility that I do today. I am keenly aware of people looking for employment and am always willing to lend a helping hand or network on their behalf. I am sure that if I had never experienced this myself, I likely would not be this understanding to job loss. I might even have assumed that they did something to deserve it, which is absolutely not the case in most job losses.
The third one is a big one for me. I never got married nor had children. I am certain that my parents would have loved to have grandchildren. I am sure than I can still do both if the right circumstances prevail. I just wonder why on earth it had to take so long. What if I could go back and erase it and marry and have children at 34? I would have missed out on meeting some great guys that I met after age 34. I did not marry any of them but it does not mean that I didn’t adore these guys and enjoy our time together. Don’t get me wrong, dating is hard, and I have met quite a few throwbacks that I would like to forget. There have also been some really good ones. So, I don’t think I would erase that one either but I reserve the right to change my mind if the situation is still the same when I am 80.
Would you erase your failures? If so, why or why not? Really think about it. I honestly don’t know why nobody ever asked me this question in an interview because it is a great one. Do you handle your failures or successes better?
I believe failure is easier to handle. When I have had successes and there have been many, I seem to struggle to deal with it with grace. I tend to let my successes make me think I am pretty good. As I mentioned earlier, I would not have the compassion and humility if all I had ever experienced was success. I am terrible in corporate America but I am a great listener, and that is because I so desperately wanted to be heard. I think it is better to serve than be served and so I am fine with failure as long as some success is sprinkled in there too. I would love to hear your thoughts on this as it has truly been eye-opening for me to realize that I would not erase my failures and really mean it. What do you think?