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  • Writer's pictureJenelle

Making Lemonade | Identifying the Lessons and the Blessings, Turning Failures into Wins.

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

We have heard the term or have made references to the term for years. From life and business coaching talks and books, to the rich conversations with our elders, there are multiple proverbial sources that encourage us to change our perspective on failure, loss, and heartbreak, via the timeless phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I don’t know if anyone cooked up the snaps, claps, and true-isms around this topic as flavorfully as our very own Queen Bey when she caught all of our R&B appetites off guard when she released her 2016 visual album, Lemonade. We watched with our jaws dropped as she selflessly unfolded the layers of her story as only a woman could, layer by layer with intricacy, transparency, passion, and grace. She served her vulnerabilities of womanhood, love, motherhood, marriage, disappointment, loneliness, and failure, on a platter for the world to ingest. Her wisdom, her journey, and her lessons and blessings, made turning lemons into lemonade relatable to the everyday person.

It’s true, we fail, as humans we just do. To move through life as though we have not failed, or will not fail, is not only unrealistic and disingenuous, but it also impedes our ability to receive all of the natural teachings of life; how to cope, how to heal, how to be accountable to our vision of ourselves, how to set and manage expectations, how to grow, and how start over again. Society teaches us to fear failure, and a lot of times that fear is because of the way we associate it with shame. We judge ourselves and fear the judgement of others, but listen….I’m only gonna say this once, you can’t speak the language of ambition to someone who is content with the language of “good enough”, so why do we place the pressure of our failures and successes at the feet of the opinions and judgements of others who don’t have the courage, or understanding of the courage that it takes, to go for it!?! Don’t worry, I’ll wait….

I recently sat on a panel for a girl’s leadership summit, and at the end, the panel opened-up for a Q&A session. During this session, a young person asked what advice we would give to someone on how to handle failure. I immediately went through my catalog of failures and quickly thumbed through what I thought to be an experience that could resonate. I shared the story, that I have written about before, of how we had to close the doors on our business. I talked about how we spent years building this business to create opportunities for aspiring artists in our community and how timing and gentrification forced us to close our doors. This was an emotional and public loss as it was our community who backed us for years allowing us to do the work that we did. I went on to tell her that in order for me to heal, I had to reflect on the years of amazing work, and how blessed we were to even be in a position to build all of the wonderful relationships that we did. I had to extract the lessons and experiences and give them the value that they deserve in carrying them forward. This is part of the growth that makes us stronger in the pursuit of our endeavors. We can’t just say we failed so that’s it, we have to acknowledge what didn’t work, and perfect what did work, and most importantly, try again!

I’m going to bring up that pesky three letter word again, ego. When our ego gets in the way it acts as a saboteur and we talk ourselves out of the vulnerable space we need to live in to try something that we have failed at in the past. We think that we are protecting ourselves, we call ourselves strong by taking it on the chin, but in reality, we are simply scared. Scared of failing again, scared of being wrong, scared of heartbreak, scared of trusting ourselves, scared of our own judgement, and scared of disappointment. In other words, ego is the fear that blocks our blessings.

I encourage you to be courageous, to be accepting of failure, to fail and to fail again until you are standing in the blessing that was meant for you! If something (or someone) doesn’t work out for you then it wasn’t for you, at least not at that time and in that way. I will say it one more time…if something doesn’t work out for you, then it wasn’t for you. Submit to your failures, but do not be defeated as more than what you can imagine is lying ahead. Be patient with yourself and give yourself grace, when you run into failure sip a little lemonade and dust yourself off, but whatever you do, don’t stop growing and going for it. Failure is only preparation for what is yet to come!

(My) recipe for Lemonade:

  • Reflect on the “failure”.

  • Be clear on your role in the failure.

  • Identify the lessons.

  • Apply the knowledge of the lessons to create or open yourself to new opportunities.

That is the blessing; the gift of knowledge and experience gained and coming back stronger and wiser the next time! Heavy on the stronger and wiser.

Be well y’all!

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