Tag Archives: failure

On Moving Forward

“Oh, What Now?” “Egads,” or just “Errrrrargh!” These are but a few of my Mother’s expressions of frustration. Whenever there’s an obstacle, she’ll put all 4 foot 11 of her being into one of these exclamations. I frequently find myself doing the same. Not these expressions per se, mine are a tad spicier. OK, a lot spicier. more like a sailor whose arm has just been severed. But, you get the picture. It’s something we all do.

UnknownIf you are aiming high enough, there will always be something in your way. If your path is always smooth, you are either not trying very hard or you see dead people. In every endeavor, in your career or your relationships, you have a choice. You can retreat, you can move ahead or you can try to maintain your current position by standing still. The reality is that there is no such thing as standing still. At any given moment, you are either moving forward or backward.

Sometimes the obstacles are situations like lack of money. Sometimes it’s a business or personal relationship. But, whatever it is, fear is involved. Fear of failure, fear of confrontation or even fear of success.

Our primitive brain and our instinctual responses equate any failure or confrontation with survival. Any change in the status quo will trigger our brains into fight or flight mode. With that trigger comes release of adrenaline and increased heart rate. Even thinking about an obstacle that will create change will pull that trigger. The net result is stress, and that stress is what makes us freeze. And in our frozen state, we think we’re just standing still or delaying. But, the world keeps turning, which means we’re being left behind by the simple laws of inertia.

The fear of success is even trickier. So many people think that means you’re afraid to be richer than your friends or more successful than your parents resulting in them seeing you as suddenly different. But, I don’t think that’s it. Being successful means increased work, increased commitment, constant thinking, constant doing and constant expense of energy. The thought of working harder and maintaining forward momentum can be exhausting in and of itself, never mind actually doing the work. So, many people just curl up on the couch instead and watch the world spin. But, they also wonder why they don’t get anywhere.

Put the fear aside. Put the triggers aside. Put aside things, relationships and habits that no longer serve you. Put your laziness aside and move forward. What you will find is that the process of moving forward is invigorating. it doesn’t sap your energy, it increases it. If you can get through the fear, you’ll find your mind engaged. You’ll wake up excited at what can be accomplished and what you can create today.

Say it with me: “Oh, what now? egads, Errrargh.” Your frustration means you’re passing obstacles and moving forward. embrace it, have a life well lived.


My horse died last week.  He was a good friend.  Lexington was one thousand pounds of power that protected me on the trail as much as I protected him. He was like me, an Alpha horse that was willing to step out in front to protect the herd when he needed to. But, he was better than me. More honest, better looking and way smarter. He was one of a kind.  I saw him every morning and every night, standing watch from his spot in front of the barn, his flaxen white mane hanging regally off to one side and a shock of hair hanging down his forehead, laying right between his eyes.  I’ll miss our late night chats and sunrise state of the corral updates.  Yes, we conversed regularly in our own way  He was my friend and I miss him terribly.

He died of colic.  Horses can’t vomit, so if too much of the wrong thing gets inside them, it settles and clogs somewhere in the small intestine. It can be a rock, moldy hay, whatever.  If you don’t discover the sick animal quickly enough, sections of the intestine die. If too much intestine is destroyed, the horse dies also. That’s exactly what happened to Lex.

We’re still not sure what he ate, but I know from the experience it takes a perfect storm to kill a horse. I fed them dinner early and then headed to San Diego for the afternoon and evening. I fed them outside in the pasture so the animals that ate in stalls would not be inside too long. Lex always ate in the pasture so there was nothing different for him. But, we returned after dark. On a normal day I would go out to the barn and turn the stalled horses out into the pasture, but they were already out.  If I had, I might have caught it. We’ll never know.

More good news, I’m on a plane headed east to attend the funeral of a client who’s wife died of cancer at 47. A tragedy, another inexpressible loss. Far greater I’m afraid than the loss of my friend. Mine, while painful is but a trifle.  Losing a wife, a mother, no comparison.

However tragic and unbelievable, and while never forgetting these losses, the human spirit finds ways to heal from them. Lex’s memory won’t fade, but I know the last frantic and frightening hours of trying to save him will.  My wife wants to head to Kentucky in a few weeks to look for a horse to replace him. I told her I’m not ready to date other horses yet. But, I’ll go with her anyway, ride some great horses and likely come back disappointed that they don’t match up to my friend Lex. But, it will mark my first step in moving on.

Believe it or not there is good news in all this heartache. It’s called perspective. I’ve been doing this for 15 years now, so I’m not afraid to say that I’ve lost clients to other agents,  lost deals, lost the fair edge in negotiations, been sued by former employers, flirted with not being able to make payroll, thought my career was over more than once and you know what? As stomach turning as business can be, nobody died. Each time, I showed up for work the next day, learned to not make the same mistakes twice.  Each time, I ended up keeping my wits about me and riding out the storm.

As I got on the plane today, the non-stop coverage of the tragedy in Japan continued. I read in the NY Times about the rescue of a 60 year old man from the roof of his house. He had been riding the house in the water for two days, and oh yeah, before they found him, he had drifted ten miles out to sea. Now, that’s a problem. That’s what I call riding out the storm.

So, next time you lose a job to someone else, get fired, come up a little short on cash, come upon a director or producer who is taking themselves a bit too seriously, cursing and throwing things because the setup took too long, please remember you read this. Remember to take a deep breath and whisper silently to yourself “perspective.” say to yourself “well at least I’m not riding the roof of my house ten miles out at sea. Now THAT would suck.” Remember, in the end, we’re making movies and money.  We work in a profession where we don’t have to perform life or death brain surgery.   So, when the going gets tough, just breathe.

I’m not by any means saying what we do isn’t important and the stress isn’t real. It is. Well,  I certainly know mine is.  I’m saying, show toughness and tenacity when called for. Don’t take things personally and save your angst for when you really need it. Because, if you haven’t needed it yet, I can assure you the day will come when you find yourself dealing with personal tragedy or riding the roof of your house ten miles out at sea.  By using some perspective now, at the very least you’ll recognize some real trouble when you see it.

Quote Of The Day

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan