She had a dream

imagesDelivered a presentation this morning. Prior to starting, I schmoozed with attendees. Spoke with a woman who quizzed me on the election.

I try to avoid politics; it’s never something that will end well. Regardless, we chatted around the topic. She told me she voted for Trump, I told her I voted for Johnson. We agreed that the political climate is so ugly right now and friendly discourse seems impossible although we were clearly doing just fine.

As we talked, I mentioned that the one thing my mind keeps returning to is Hillary’s loss. Hillary wanted to be president – she really wanted to be president. Every move she’s made over the last 20(?) years strategically aligned her with the end goal of presidency.

She’s 69-years-old and I can’t imagine that she will run again. Her dream is DEAD. I am 42-years-old and I fall asleep at 10:00 every night. Watching the news over the last year, seeing her crisscrossing the USA, I marveled at her determination, energy, and strength.

All that work, all that action… and she lost the election. I cannot fathom the immenseness of this defeat and the death of her dream.

The woman asked me, “Have you ever experienced a loss of that magnitude? Something that you wanted so greatly and worked so hard for… to have it ripped out of your hands at the last hour?”

I looked back at my life. I thought about auditioning for the Music Man play in 6th grade and not even making chorus. I remember trying out for volleyball and basketball in 8th grade and not making either team. I remember early in my career interviewing for a Product Manager position and not getting it. I thought of a prospect that I wooed for a year and when it came time to make the purchase, he went with my competitor.

“No, I can’t think of anything that I wanted so badly, that I did everything I could do, and yet I still failed.”

“Maybe you get everything you want?”

I laughed but I realized the truth was quite painful. I have never aimed high enough. I have never swung for that higher branch.

I’ve taken risks and I have experienced success but without having some truly gut-wrenching failures…. Can I honestly say I aimed high enough? I have simply played it safe.

And I think of Donald Trump. Say what you want but that guy aimed high. I think he has always aimed high. He certainly has the failures to show for it… and he has the success and wins, too.

Toward the end of his life, my father told me his biggest regret was he didn’t aim high enough. Today I finally really understand what he meant: Take risks. Get out of your comfort zone. Fail big time. Not only will the success you experience be so much greater but it will also taste sweeter.

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