If at First You Don’t Succeed

February is without a doubt my favorite month of the year. It starts with Groundhog Day, reminding us that Spring is not far away. The month ends with my birthday (February 26 if you’re wondering). Most importantly, February is home to St. Valentine’s Day! The one day a year it is ok…no, it is imperative, that you woo your special someone.

It was nearly 10 years ago that I was attempting to woo Leigh Ann, who is now my wife; my soulmate; the love of my life. It is a time that I will never forget. In fact, one of those particular days could have changed the trajectory of my life entirely. It has been nearly a decade, and I am just now able to talk about the night I completely humiliated myself. It is comical now, but I assure you it wasn’t at the time.

I knew from the moment I met Leigh Ann that she was something special. We were on our third date and like the two before it, it was going exceptionally well. I was just praying I wouldn’t mess it up. I had decided this night would be the night I was going to kiss the angel that somehow ended up in my life. I was as nervous as a 13-year-old at a middle school dance, but I was determined.

As I walked her to the door that night, I felt sure the moment was right. I gathered my nerves and went for it. As I leaned in, everything that could go wrong went wrong. I lost my balance, fumbled the kiss and embarrassingly ended the debacle with a peck on the cheek.

With my tail between my legs, I made it to my car and headed home. As I got to the end of the block, I stopped and put my head on the steering wheel and contemplated what had just happened. Now it is essential to recognize that Leigh Ann is 6-foot-1-inch and I am 5-foot-8 with my boots on. I was standing on the step below her making the task nearly impossible. As I sat there in the middle of the street, I considered my options. They were simple – I could go home or turn around a make another go at it. Fortunately, I managed the courage to turn around. She opened the door, I looked at her and went for it again. This time, the stars aligned.

I drove home that night feeling great! Today, 10 years later the rest is history. I can’t help but wonder how things would have turned out had I not turned around. Perhaps things would be just as they are, but I’m glad I didn’t chance it!

So often in life, we don’t turn around and try again. We get discouraged by a mistake or failure and take the path of least resistance. Or, even worse we give it another go, but use the same tactic expecting a different result. It was Albert Einstein who said, “the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Had I turned around, but stayed on the bottom step, it is likely that I would have fumbled again, which would have been catastrophic. I am quite certain that “the third time is the charm” would not have applied to my situation.

We are going to make mistakes; we are going to fail from time to time. When this happens, the best thing we can do is own it and apologize. This is by far the best way to put an uncomfortable situation behind us. The important thing is that we don’t dwell on it for too long. We need to pick ourselves up, move on, and if we’re lucky, we’ll get a second chance.

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