Fantastic (well, kind of) failure

In chapter 3, “Contract Into Company,” I recount an on-stage mistake that still stings as if it happened yesterday. I tumbled with as much grace as possible, but deep down I was completely mortified. But here’s where I repeat what every grown-up on the planet will tell you: I learned from it. And though I knew it would not be the last mistake I made, I vowed it would be the last time I made THAT mistake. And that is the incredible power of failure. It puts the choice back in your hands. We can do what-ifs and hypotheticals all day long, but without taking some risks and really experiencing life (yes, and the failure that sometimes results), we will never become better – dancers, students, friends, human beings. When I fell on stage, it was during a dress rehearsal so, fortunately, only a limited audience witnessed it. Nonetheless, it socked me with a restored awareness. Every performance after that, I danced with a more keen sense for movement patterns in order to avoid a future collision. Of course, at the time – as I lay there like roadkill on the stage floor – it was tempting to make a knee-jerk excuse for the error and completely scrub it from my memory. But mistakes are meaningful – and, in the long run, less mortifying – if you acknowledge, own, and use them. One side benefit of failure? The mistake itself shows others that you are not afraid to make yourself vulnerable, which is endearing. Oh, and your response to it shows others that you are mature! And resilient! And forgiving.