When I got married (the first time), my life got serious really quickly. In other words, I got serious. My dreams of having a happy marriage, starting a family, and becoming a successful businessman were now confronting me. It was time to prove myself and do it right.
I was excited to be married and loved my wife, but I felt the weight of expectations from her and her family to perform. I couldn’t blame her. I made promises. I had dreams. I just had no idea how to realize them. I failed to find a career path. I didn’t even know what anxiety was back then, but the uneasiness would creep up. I struggled to try to be perfect in church. Nothing was working. My confidence sunk. It wasn’t fun. I wasn’t fun. I just wasn’t myself anymore.
(Just between you and me 🤫) Have you ever experienced that? Taking something so seriously that it causes you not to be yourself? Why do we do that?!?!
After four years, the marriage was over. Our little three-person family was now broken. The life I thought I wanted was over. I fought to keep it together and failed.
You know what though? She gave me two of the greatest gifts I could’ve ever received.
The first one is My daughter, of course! I can’t leave that one out. 😊
And the second one?
The space to fail.
Let me explain… I grew up with a really hard-working mom that paid most of the household bills, while my dad always had excuses for not working or making much money. They divorced when I was 11. As the baby of the family, I heard my mom’s frustrations, and I didn’t want to be like my dad. I didn’t want to fail.
I didn’t realize it, but I was afraid of failure. I was afraid of what other people would think. I was scared to see myself as a failure.
As we were tumbling toward divorce, I considered killing myself a few times because then I wouldn’t have to face the other side of it. But deep down, I knew that wasn’t the answer and that my daughter would need a dad in her life.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t kill myself.
Soon after the divorce was final, I realized that life was OK. There were no raging mobs or even dirty looks. Nobody really cared.
I could be curious again. I could explore. I could try new things.
I could play with life.
I eventually realized that failure is part of life. It’s not even bad. It’s just part of trying. It’s the only way to get better at something.
Remember Michael Jordan? He was super good at basketball, and he missed shots. He missed so many shots. (I’m even going to look up how many he missed.) He missed over 9,000 shots! And that was just the games. He missed way more than that in his life.
I bet you’re thinking, “Is Loren trying to get divorced 9,000 times? That’s too much.”
You’re right. That is too much. Emily and I are happy and plan on staying that way for a long time. We are both committed to trying stuff and the failure that comes with it.
Last month I turned 41, and I don’t know how much time I have left, but I’m not going to waste it worried about what other people think.
I can choose to be the happiest guy I know despite the circumstances.
The future is bright. I now only work with people who want to do cool stuff and are willing to take risks and have fun but struggle sometimes.
I’m on a mission to give people permission to play every day. To coach the Michael J’s of the world to not worry about the 9,000 and to focus on the 12,192 made shots, six championships, and sold-out arenas full of smiles and high fives.