Fearing Failure

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We’ve all done it. We all experience failure in some way whether large or small. Maybe your failures seem like a never-ending stream of mistakes and poor choices. Or, possibly, things go well as a general rule, but you’re unable to overcome a past wrong turn that has left you deathly afraid of anything other than your known comfort zone.  Failure and fear combine to create a debilitating line of thinking that can leave us emotionally drained and unable to move forward into the life God has planned for us.

While fear and failure appear to be birds of “the same feather” so to speak, in actuality, that is far from the truth. Fear is a reaction to failure, not failure itself. If we understand fear of future unknowns as being a response to failure, we can begin to ask the question, “What if there is a more productive response to failure than fear?” To be clear, fear in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) In fact, caution after failure isn’t an entirely negative response either. The key about failure, though, is that we treat it as a lesson to be learned from. Failures need to be understood and accepted as the growing pains of success. God puts trials into our lives so that we would grow into faithful followers of him, “lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4)

Instead of inaction, our failures ought to make us consider the lessons that can be learned applying those lessons as we step forward in confident action knowing that only by trying, falling down, and then getting back up again through the power of God’s grace do we grow and succeed. As Dr. George Grant continually repeated throughout his Gileskirk history course, “Failure leads to success.” Whether your failures have been small or significant, the correct answer is to always treat them as a learning experience meant for your benefit and God’s glory. Use your failures to move you forward trusting God for the future and seeking to live a life that brings Him all the glory!


As I was thinking about a topic to write about for this post, a quote from Creativity Inc, a book I’ve been reading lately, struck me.

“While we don’t want too many failures, we must think of the cost of failure as an investment in the future.” ~ Ed Catmull – Creativity Inc. (p 111)

Creativity Inc. covers the history of Pixar from its inception up until the last couple years. It’s an excellent business book and one that I trust will influence my thinking as a manager and creative enabler in the workplace for many years to come. What struck me about this quote was how the author puts failure and our mistakes into the appropriate category. Mistakes are an investment in success. If you’re not failing yet, you’re likely a long ways away from success. When life bucks you off, it’s time to get back on and ride!

Climbing Mt St. Helens

After a couple of months planning, coordinating, and praying for good weather myself and several friends enjoyed the grueling 6 mile ascent up Mt St. Helens last Saturday. Here are a few photos documenting our adventure into yet another aspect of God’s incredible creation!

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At about 3/4 miles in, we arrived at the snow and promptly donned our snow shoes. Matthew looks pretty good right now… :)

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Sometimes I hesitate to post pictures of myself… Call me self-conscious, but since I took it, I’ll let this photo stay on record. :)
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Kevin & his wife, Talitha, skinned up on skis while the rest of us hiked on our snowshoes.
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At first, the weather was foggy and disappointing.
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However, once we got above the tree line, things began to clear and we were soon hiking under brilliant blue skies and warm spring weather.
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Yours truly. :)
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Kevin, tackling the slopes with the vigor and experience only he could have from his para-rescue military background.
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Not quite there yet… ;)
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Talitha, summoning the energy to continue step by step up the grueling ascent.

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Mt. Hood above the clouds. Breathtaking!
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The final mile and a half to the top. At this point, every step you asked yourself, “Now, why exactly am I doing this?!!”

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The view of Mt. Adams was spectacular!
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Looking down the way we came…
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Finally!! At the summit! We started out of the parking lot at 6:10am and I made it to the top just before noon with Ethan, Kevin and Talitha summiting about 45 minutes later.

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Zachary managed to be the first to summit. Good work!
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Kevin & Talitha struggling through the final few remaining feet of climbing. Great work to both of you!
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“I can’t believe we actually made it!” :)
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I even managed to have a hot meal at the top thanks to this fancy little backpacking stove I brought along.
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Unlike most other hikes I’ve been on, when you’re climbing Mt St. Helens, there is this real sense of camaraderie between everyone on the hike. Everyone has a common goal of reaching the top and encourages each-other towards that end. This time, there was a fair crowd with around 140 folks up on the slopes, so we certainly weren’t alone!
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The west crater rim. Majestic!
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Mt. Rainier and Sprit Lake.
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The fearsome lava dome slowly growing and developing to erupt yet again at some point in the future!
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Mt. Adams behind the prominent snow cornice at the crater rim. Get too close to the edge and you’ll fall in like a couple hikers did several years ago. They didn’t make it… :(
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Camp at the summit.
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Ethan
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Kevin & Talitha
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Sacked out
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If you look carefully, you can see one of either Swift, Yale, or Merwin reservoirs on the Lewis river.
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“We must get off the mountain!!!” :)
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Group photo time! Ethan, me, Kevin, Talitha, Eli, Zachary, and Ezrah.
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Now for the fun part… 😉 Sledding back down the mountain!!! Some of the folks at the top thought we were insane, and I must admit that looking at the slope made me question my sanity a bit too, but once we got going, there was no turning back!
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You’ve never had as much fun sledding as we did dropping 3500ft in elevation in less than 45 minutes. It was flat out incredible!

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We made it back down to the tree line in just under an hour. That hour of sledding made the whole climb worth it!
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Great work guys! I had a blast and I totally think I could do that again… Next year! :)

For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

~ Psalm 95:3-5 ~

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Matthew 21:21-22

Atlanta & a bit more cow sorting

Early last week, I enjoyed my first opportunity to take the 4 & 1/2 hour flight back to Home Depot headquarters in Atlanta, GA for a business trip Monday through Tuesday. Besides the long flight, the trip out was made even more fun by my having to take the Red Eye Easter night. By the time I hit the sack on Monday, I’d been up for about 42 hours straight! 🙂 (As it turns out, I guess I don’t sleep well on planes…)

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As far as pictures of the trip go, I don’t have much, so I’ll just be posting a couple token ones here. (Above is the main parking garage which completely fills up by mid-morning.) The Home Depot Store Support Center (aka. SSC), is HD’s primary headquarters and between the 3 connected buildings, provides space for somewhere between 4-5k associates.

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This trip was my first time back to Atlanta and the whirlwind of meetings and new information Monday through Tuesday certainly didn’t disappoint! I was there along with my boss, his boss, and one of my lead developer team members to discuss how our project can better integrate with a few other projects that corporate IT has going on. Aside from the meetings, I had the opportunity to see some views of the Atlanta city-scape, spend a little time outside in the beautiful weather, and then made a quick stop at Martin Luther King’s birth site before flying back home Tuesday evening.

Visiting King’s memorial wasn’t my idea, but it was still interesting to be reminded of just how recently civil rights remained a major issue. It’s sad, though, that while King fought for many good things, his character can be questioned, and his position on human rights,  particularly the rights of the unborn, flew in the face of his message. King was an advocate of “family planning” and an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood:

“There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.

What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims…”

– Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader and Nobel laureate


Cow Sorting Thursday Evening

Fast forward to last Thursday, Joel and I had the opportunity to go sorting again and this time the weather was nice enough that they put up the pens outside! The evening was beautiful and while we were still “out of the money” so to speak, we both thought that this time around went better.

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One of Chief’s fears or dislikes you might say is crossing water. When it’s a large body of water, like a pond or a wide creek, it only takes a little coaxing to get him to go in. However, when presented with a tiny 2 foot wide trough, it’s a totally different story! It took awhile, but we were able to declare success before the evening was over and I’m hoping as more opportunities present themselves that Chief will overcome this fear. Ultimately, it really comes down to an issue of trust, so it was neat to experience a small win that we can build on further in the future!

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And… that’s it! Another one of my random updates, but at least it’s something, right? Until next time!

"All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies." ~ Psalm 25:10