My son and I just got back from seeing a spectacular performance at the Sarasota Circus. We saw trapeze artists, jugglers, strong men, and even a couple that could change outfits under a towel in about 2 seconds flat. It was AMAZING! Every year I am blown away by the incredible display of talent they have and I always leave inspired.
This year however, I was inspired for a different reason- I saw two performers make mistakes and try their trick again. Odd thing to be inspired by maybe but here’s why it did..
We live in a society that sometimes seems like it demands perfection. Most of us, if we are honest, shy away from some things because we are afraid of making mistakes. Most of us also tend to beat ourselves up if we are not flawless at something and sadly we often end up quitting before we get the results we’re hoping for, just to avoid those feelings.
I’m not the only one that’s ever battled that, am I??
To see these men and women who are masters at their craft, get up there in front of everyone and still make a mistake, showed me that despite the fact that they can perform these incredible feats, they are still human after all. It also showed me that as long as they keep trying, they can finish the show well. On that same note, I want to share two inspirational stories with you that prove that mistakes, failures and even self doubt are all part of the journey towards success.
The first story is of NFL quarterback and recent Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I believe you’ll be inspired by it.
Nick Foles was drafted in 2012 and saw limited playing time in his first year. In his second year, Nick had a breakout season, leading the NFL in several passing categories and earning a slot in the Pro Bowl. For the next few years though, Nick failed to live up to his previous success and he was bounced around to a few different teams.
Nick says that prior to the 2016 season, after being benched and then released by his previous team, he seriously contemplated quitting. He said that he was certain that he would “hang up the cleats” forever and that a big part of him was afraid to go back on the field again because of his past failures.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever wanted to quit something because you felt like you were failing? Me too.
However, after much soul searching Nick decided not to quit. He instead decided to face his fears and persevere. Despite his decision to stay, Nick ended up spending nearly the entire 2016 and 2017 seasons riding the bench. In late 2017, when the Eagles starting quarterback went down with a season ending knee injury, Nick finally got his chance to play.
The pressure must have felt enormous. Nick was playing for one of the best teams in the league and the hopes were high that they would go far. Nick was thrust into a role that only two years earlier, he thought he could never be successful at again. Despite all this pressure, Nick shined and shined big.
He helped the Eagles finish the season strong and he led them to two playoff victories and a Super Bowl win against the most dominant team of the last two decades. He became only the second back up quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl and he did it with such grace that it looked like he had been there 100 times before.
To me, Nick’s story is way bigger than football. His story is about life. When we fail and we want to give up on something, we must fight the urge to throw in the towel because we have no idea how close we are to our big victory.
Check out this two minute video of Nick sharing a few nuggets of his story- Nick Foles Video
Now, if sports stories don’t inspire you, maybe this story will. Ever heard of Denzel Washington?
Two time Oscar winner and worldwide superstar Denzel Washington was also in a very low place in his life at one time. He was flunking out of school and he believed that he should give up. That’s when a woman that he met at his mothers beauty shop helped him see why he should stay the course and persevere.
I came across a video of a speech he gave at a college graduation where he shared a little bit of his struggles, his faith, and his checklist for how to overcome obstacles and be successful. Although it is directed at college graduates, I’m willing to bet it will speak to you too. I’ve watched it about 5 times already just in the last 24 hours and I will probably watch it again after I’m done writing this!
Check it out here- Denzel Washington Speech
After hearing these stories, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions-
What are you contemplating giving up on because you feel like you are failing?
What are you afraid to start because you don’t want to fail?
My prayer is that you would do what Nick, Denzel, myself and many others have done and persevere. One day you’ll look back and you will know that it was worth it because YOU are worth it.