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Let's Talk About the F-Word

—Bethanie Miller, Chapter President, Hattiesburg, MS Jaycees

Probably not the first one that comes to mind, let’s talk about Failure. It is not uncommon to fear failure. When I joined the Jaycees in 2018 I honestly joined because I had just bought my house and I remembered my parents being Jaycees growing up. I figured I needed to get out of my new home and into the community. I really had no idea what the organization was about or who these people were.

In the last two years something changed within me. When I joined the organization I was petrified of failure. What if I messed up? What happened if I got something wrong? There was no way I would ever be able to chair a project or measure up to the leaders in this organization.

Time to fast forward - As I approach my third year in the organization, I have now served the Hattiesburg Jaycees in more than one office, chaired a handful of projects, and finally learned that in the Jaycees is the best place to fail. I have had more than one crummy project idea, been burnt out at least a hundred times, and thought I could not do it at least once a week. But thanks to my Jaycee family, I have found ways to carry on.

I am in no way going to lie: there are days I am beyond ready to throw in the towel. There are also many more days that I am ready to scream from the mountain tops how the Jaycees have helped me through my fear of failure. This organization has taught me that no is not always no, many times it is just “not right now”.

Failure in the Jaycees does not mean the loss of employment or income, instead it is oftentimes the opportunity for our fellow members to step in and encourage us that things will go better the next time or help us think of new ways to make our ideas work. This year continues to deliver a wealth of discouragement, but watching fellow Jaycees around the country and the world work together to create innovative ideas to move forward and create change even during a pandemic inspires me to at least keep trying to stay active within the organization.

Many of my ideas over the years have failed and I now realize that is okay. Failure teaches invaluable lessons that successes do not typically bring. Failure breeds new ideas and growth.

I hope that the Jaycees will help you find a new way of thinking as well. Let’s change what failing means to us. Failing can be and is growth. Failing is change. Failing is learning new skills and new things. Failing is learning that not right now is not a no forever. Together we can change our way of thinking and create positive thoughts towards the word failure. I challenge myself as well as you all, let’s fail together. Who knows where our failures will lead us next?

F.A.I.L. - “First Attempt In Learning”

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