Take a Bow

June 09, 2017

A few weeks ago during a riding lesson, in front of six other students and a couple of watching parents, I made an “unscheduled dismount” from Tank’s back. We were practicing a combination of two small fences called a “bounce”—so named because the horse jumps the first fence then “bounces” over the second one without taking a stride. We’d never done this before and, it became obvious, hadn’t quite figured it out.

On one of our attempts, Tank didn’t have enough impulsion going in and had to make a big effort to get over the second fence, consequently “bouncing” me out of the saddle, where I clung to his neck like a scarf, making heroic efforts to stay aboard. Kind of like this (but with less success):

Tank stopped obligingly while I struggled to stay on, but eventually I slid to the ground, landing on my feet.

When I related this story to my friend Laure, she asked, “Did you take a bow?”

Laure’s question made me think about how some failures really need some form of positive acknowledgment—like taking a bow. After all, when we fail at something, we’re most likely pushing our comfort zones or trying to master something new. A spectacular failure comes from taking a big chance or going hard for something we want. That should be celebrated, even if the outcome wasn’t quite what we intended.

I’ve written about failure before, but coping with it is a lesson that bears repeating. Failing is important. It means you’re stretching, growing, and learning. Instead of hiding our failures, we can at least acknowledge them, if we can’t quite imagine celebrating them.

So the next time you fail, spectacularly or not, take a bow. Acknowledge that beautiful failure, be grateful for it, and move on.

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  1. Dear Kathy - what a wonderful way to look at failure - it turns it around and helps us grow. Thank you for this beautiful thought. So glad you didn't get hurt in your attempt. Keep safe friend. Hugs!

  2. Debbie--Thanks for your kind comments, and for stopping by. Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Beautifully stated, Kathy. Glad you were not injured in your "unscheduled dismount".
    Gail Clarke

  4. Me, too, Gail (though the muscles in my lower back were sore from struggling to stay on!). Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

  5. Kathy, the video was very inspiring, as was the description of your dismount...Landing on your feet. Once again, your post comes at a perfect time. I don't know how this works, but this happens so often for me here. I am learning a new job, big learning curve with a computer system and all kinds of procedures. Made some mistakes while learning, but you are reminding me that it's OK...So I'll take a bow with you for trying someting new...And get back on my horse and ride...Thank you kindly, Rita

  6. Cheryl--Thanks. I don't fall very often (thankfully), and I'm always glad when I'm able to walk away unscathed.

  7. Rita--We must be on some type of cosmic wavelength! I feel for you in your learning curve, as I am currently struggling with the redesign of this blog, and things that seem like they should be easy and straightforward just are not. Thanks for YOUR encouragement to "get back on my horse and ride." :)