The Only Failure in your Twenties is Inaction

Katie Duvall

About the Author: I’m Katie, a May 2015 graduate of the Colorado School of Mines with a degree in engineering with a mechanical specialty. I’m a Colorado native in my first year of the Engineering Development Program working as a Reliability Engineer in San Antonio, Texas. I interned with Williams in the summer of 2014 working with the Front End Engineering and Design team in Pittsburgh, Pa. I can’t wait to see where my career with Williams takes me!

“You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook… but only the fearless can be great.” Chef Gusteau, Ratatouille

So, first let me say that I am a total Disney kid. I stumbled upon this quote when I was watching Ratatouille to try and inspire myself to cook dinner. (If a rat can do it, I can do it!) And I think this time watching the movie was the first time I really truly heard that quote because it is so applicable to the stage of life I am in.

Just starting out at a job is tough. Especially when it’s your first time out in the real world. Everything is new.

New is intimidating.

When people are intimidated and overwhelmed, we can move forward in one of two ways. Either we become paralyzed by a hurdle in our path, or choose to take that shaky leap into the unknown. Being in our twenties is the perfect time to take those leaps. When we make mistakes, we have time to fix them, and people tend to be more forgiving when our naivety becomes apparent.

These are the things that I often forget, but they mean that we have the opportunity to answer the call to action. We really have no excuse for not trying something different. Like the quote says, we have to try things that may not work.

Our first stab at something is probably not going to be perfect, but with some helpful feedback we can go back to the drawing board and recalibrate our approach. It’s also important to remember that even though we are young, we have a lot to offer. No one can define our limits except for ourselves.

Yes, we are going to make mistakes. Sometimes the decisions we make will lead us to crash and burn! But knowing that you gave something full effort is something that you can carry with you forever. Those are the experiences that teach us to keep moving forward. It’s true that the only choice we could make in our twenties that would be a true failure is inaction. So get out there and make your life one big experiment of trial and error. That’s the only way we figure out what works for us.

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