Introduction

Defeat is Another Opportunity To Practice Being Prepared

Young woman with back turned towards us sitting over a river on a cliff.

Defeat is Another Opportunity To Practice Being Prepared

I am not a flawless Creator.

The last time I threw my life a curve on purpose was in 1994. Unlike a baseball pitcher practicing how to toss a curve ball, this life decision had no practice runs.

I had to win.

They say that when you ask for something you want through prayer, dreams, during meditation or those debates with your guardians and angels during long car rides, it will come to pass when all the pieces are agreed to and there is time to assemble the best outcome.

Or you can just go get the Golden Retriever puppy you have been wanting and show up at the house with it. I did that too one time.

In 1994 I went out to find me. I got tired of waiting for my big reveal.

I asked for a divorce from a man everyone loved and who was not only kind, but a devoted father and hard worker. We got along well. Even lived together while separating. We hired a divorce mediator who let us write our agreement, which I typed up on my home computer using WordPerfect. I didn’t ask for child support or alimony. He got the house. I moved out to a small condo down the road.

I had no job.

Looking back, I may have been testing myself. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was capable of. I was my own version of a software application in development, whose first business requirement was survival.

The Whole World is Here

They say we have a life purpose. There are those moments when you know the Universe is working on your game plan and, like any good coach, It shoves you out onto the playing field when it’s your turn to play. You can ignore Coach if you want to. I’m sure I missed many plays, which explains why practice sessions are so vital. You want to succeed, right?

When I saw the internet for the very first time, in 1994, I said out loud, “The whole world is here!” I could think of nothing better than to meet everyone. Since then, my career is tied to that one pivotal moment. Remember that scene in the movie, “Field of Dreams”, when the ball field is all lit up at night and players who have passed on come out to throw the ball around?

That was me back then, walking onto the field.

I had no idea how to play the game, but I knew I would learn. My own personal mantra is carved into my soul. It is this: “Don’t underestimate me.” It comes in handy from all that practice with failures or rejections. When Coach turns to me and signals me to come over, I’m not always feeling ready, but defeat is another opportunity to practice being prepared.

Since the web makes it possible to know each other, I learned things like:

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from people you think are smarter than you. They are. So what. That’s why you want to ask them your questions.

2. Always be humble and kind.

3. Spell check. Grammar check. Repeat.

4. Never assume anything. Ever.

5. Some people may always judge you.

6. How to make a dream catcher, macramé, make a podcast and learn Angular. Not necessarily in that order.

7. The internet is forever-net. There are no take backs.

8. Google will change its mind. Often.

9. “Build it and they will come” is not a practical business requirement for web development.

10. A little shift in the wind can make the football bounce off the goal post.

That last one is important for me now.

Today I find myself standing at another crossroad. I have been working on a new personal career plan for myself for the past 3 years. There have been practice runs, like interviewing for jobs and being told I’m too old or overly qualified. I closed the online web design and marketing community I founded in 1998 after a twenty year run. Getting my hands into source code and teaching myself more difficult skills has both challenged and delighted me.

With all the inspirational and educational resources available on the web, there is no end to finding help when I need it. I’ve had many career successes and achievements, but when I tried to compile them into one place, I realized I never had the ego to record it all. This is because these achievements were always the direct result of having a mentor who believed in me, especially in those most crucial moments when I needed them to.

I took the phrase, “We create our reality”, to heart when I first read that statement somewhere back in the 1980’s. I’m not a flawless creator, but I try to show grace in disappointments and humor during pain, such as when I had my knees replaced. My PT therapists giggled whenever I referred to my left knee as “Hope”, because it was the first knee to be replaced and responded like a champ. Five weeks later, my right knee was replaced and fought the process, so I named it “Despair.” This pretty sums up those times when I kick myself towards another goal. There is hope. And there is despair.

It’s not easy to aim high. This is how I know that experience is my teacher and how fortunate I am to be open to the journey.

My tattoos are inside my skin.

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Originally published in Medium February 18, 2019