Monday, March 12, 2012

Failure: Size Small

Last weekend I went to the beach with three of my dearest friends. While we are all big fans of white sand beaches, infinity pools and drinks with umbrellas, this wasn't that kind of beach. It was the Oregon coast in March which, while beautiful, is not something you associate with swimwear or burying your toes in the sand.

What it's perfect for is talking...which we did nonstop for three days. More importantly, for this blog, we spent an entire evening cozied up in front of the fireplace while we dissected our fears of failure.

These women aren't the kind of people you would expect to harbor deep-seated fears about failure. They're ivy league smart with impressive jobs, or the ability to obtain impressive jobs if the winds blow them in that direction. They all have amazing children, loving husbands and beautiful homes. They are successful by any standard and yet, somehow they all had a lot to contribute to our fear of failure discussion.

At some point in the evening we had an epiphany. We realized our fears of failure are like t-shirt sizes. They come in small, medium and large. No matter what size you are, you can be certain there will be a fear of failure that is the perfect fit for you.

Failure: Size Small.

These are things that we aspire to do. We might work at them from time-to-time but over all, the stakes are low.

My best example of size small failure fear centers around pie crust. My mom makes the world's best pie crust. She can have it rolled out on the counter, draped over the rolling pin and laid out in a pie pan in less time than it takes me to write a blog post.

When I make pie crust, using the same recipe handed down through the generations, the results aren't the same. There is breakage, patching and frustration. This isn't enough to prevent me from making the pie crust but I certainly wouldn't ever offer to bring pie to my mother's house.

If it were any other recipe I'd say forget it. Cut my losses and move on but this recipe is a family legacy. I want to get it right so that, maybe, someday, I'll be able to make it for my grandchildren. On the other hand, do my pie crust fiascos keep me up at night? No, emphatically no! Still, until I get them right, my pies won't be something I bring to a dinner party.

So, blog readers. What's the focus of your size small failure fear? Remember, the key here is small and low stakes. I'm saving size medium failure for Wednesday.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you had a good time! Size small failures - I'd have to think about it. Maybe when I hit the wrong notes while practicing my guitar.

Emily R. King said...

I'm following you back!

As for size small failures, I agree about the pie crust. What is it about pastry that's so dang hard? Mine looks (and sometimes tastes) like cardboard.

Scarlett said...

I loved the Oregon coast in August, when I was there. Stunning!

Small failures~ Well, my life-long struggle with time management. I'm a Panster, which would be acceptable if only I were more productive in my pursuits.

To my credit, I do tend to put all of myself into whatever I'm doing. So perhaps *this small failure* is nothing more than my perception of my reality. *g*

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I make vegan, low-fat pie crusts and they always fall apart!

Beylit said...

You were so right, this line of posts is right up my alley right now.

My inability to actually write a post write now would be along my size small failures. It is not a constant and thing and it won't nag at me, but it is still a thing.

And dumplings. I can't seem to make a dumpling to save my life. My mother makes chicken and dumplings and it is rich and thick with these lovely plump dumplings floating about in it. My chicken and dumplings is like a thick noodleless chicken soup, and my dumplings always melt away to nothing. Still tasty, but not chicken and dumplings. Some day I will discover the secret to non melting dumplings, oh yes, someday I will.

Jenny S. Morris said...

I'm going to the coast next weekend. This time of year is great for fireside coziness.

Small fear is that I'm not going to be able to loose the 5+ pounds I recently put on. ;0)

Tamara Narayan said...

I'm failing to be optimistic today. My husband just called and said our youngest might not get into her big sister's school after all. (It's a long story of lottery schools and budget cuts and blah-de-blah.) I hope I'm wrong.

On a better note, I left you an award and a "Tag, you're it!" on my blog.

Copyboy said...

I buy my crust. What does that say about me?

Jemi Fraser said...

I'd love to see the Oregon coast - that's my kind of beach! :)

I gave up on pastry crust several years ago.

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, wrong notes is a perfect example.

Hi Emily and welcome!

Scarlett, so much is perception, isn't it.

Diane, my mother would say the fat holds them together.

Thanks Tamara, will stop by!

Copyboy, it says you're way more practical than me.

Jemi, it's really beautiful.

Johanna Garth said...

Whoops, missed you Beylit. I'm sure yours will get there...someday!

Jenny, lucky you. Perfect fireplace weather.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

My size small failure fear is that I'll never learn how to cook without ruining whatever I make. I can barely make macaroni and cheese correctly. (And I am also referring to Easy Mac when I say that.) I've even accidentally burned frozen pizza.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

A small size failure? Perhaps any attempt to use an "organizational gimmick" to neaten up a closet, my desk at work, my school files, etc.

Sooner or later, I'll just stick stuff wherever.

Carol Kilgore said...

I thought I was the only person on the planet who couldn't make pie crust. My mother-in-law made the best I've ever put in my mouth from anywhere. I have tried to make a crust with her standing beside me telling me exactly what to do. Fail.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I can't conquer bread with yeast. Rolls turn out okay, loaves are rocks. Every time. I can make it fail without fail - ha ha!!!

T. L. Cooper said...

This post really made me think today. My brain totally resisted the idea of acknowledging my size small failure fear... I'm not sure why because I know I have at least a few... Perhaps I just needed to focus on things that make me feel confident today... :-)

Anonymous said...

I don;t sweat the small time stuff. Just too busy anyway. They can fall by the wayside as we live in an imperfect world.

Unknown said...

My small-sized fear of failure is tech-related. I am afraid I am going to end up hitting some button and my computer will freeze or crash, never to be the same again.

Misha Gerrick said...

Hmm... failing to visit all the blogs I want to. :-)

The Bookworm said...

Good luck with your pie crust Johanna :) The coast must be beautiful, even if there are no martinis and burying ones toes in the warm sand.
I'd say my small failure fear is not being as organized as I'd like to be. On the upside, there is some method to my madness and I have a strange knack for almost always knowing where everything is, including my family's missing objects :p

Sarah Tokeley said...

A small failure would be not reading blogs on the day they're posted. This means that I get backed up during the week and catch up at the weekend, which is when I'm supposed not 'not' read blogs.