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Freedom to Fail

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When I was a little girl, my mom liked to carve out time between her full-time job and the busyness of day-to-day life to sew dresses for me. If I had a preference, she’d let me pick out the fabric or pattern. One dress in particular, she let me pick the fabric—and I picked something that looked like it might not go together well. She asked if I was sure, but I was. She knew me well enough to know that I’d put serious thought into my choice. She bought the fabric, and she made the dress. Handmade clothes take time—something most moms don’t have a lot to waste. Even though she could risk having spent all that time making a dress with the potential that in the end the fabrics only barely matched, she still gave me the freedom to pursue the vision I had for that dress. There’s risk there. Time, money, raised eyebrows over a funny-looking dress, but she gave me that freedom to risk failing—to try. You know what? The dress turned out great and received a lot of compliments. More than that, I was really excited that it turned out—and that now my mom could see what I saw. My confidence and decision-making could have been squelched—even with good reason, but instead my mom offered me something I’m tremendously grateful for—her trust.

When you start a business, you’re daring to see something others may miss. It’s a risk bigger than mismatched fabric. It’s your livelihood, your reputation, and on some days maybe even some of your own self-respect. When you have a vision for something, it doesn’t generally happen overnight. It takes time and sacrifice. Yet for all that, you see purpose in it and also in the journey. When you start a business, you can’t know with 100% certainty that it will pay off in the end the way you see that it could. Even great business ideas can fail, but risking not knowing is worse than failing. That’s partly why there’s been an embrace of failure over the last few years among entrepreneurs. If you’re not failing in some measure, it means you’re not trying. Life is too short not to try, and it’s too long to be painfully indifferent. Try. Take risks. You could fail—but you could also succeed.


Designer & Illustrator | owner of Charm Design Studio, LLC.

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