It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t eloquent. There were no hearts or Cupid’s bows, no cutesy sayings, no X’s and O’s. But my husband sent me a love note this morning. And today? Today, it’s everything.

This week has been tough so far. If anyone tries to tell you being an entrepreneur is easy, just assume they’re lying. Being an entrepreneur is like riding a rollercoaster – with no seatbelt. The highs are high, the lows are low, and you’re never quite sure whether you’re strapped in and ready to go. 

At one point in this rollercoaster ride today, I found myself pulling out my phone and texting my husband, “I’m so sorry. I wanted this all to be success and smooth sailing. Ugh, I feel like such a failure!”

The phone was silent for a long moment.

And then he sent me this:

I burst into tears. It may not have made sense to anyone else, but I knew what he was saying to me.

Earlier this spring year I had a conversation with a very successful businessman. In the course of our conversation, he told me a story about a young man who worked for him. They had met for lunch, and the young man was venting to him about how he had all of these ideas but was too afraid to start. He didn’t know if they would work. He didn’t know if he could make a go of it. He didn’t know if he was brave enough to try.

The businessman said he grabbed one of the cocktail napkins off the table and in bold ink letters wrote “permission to fail” on it. He signed his name and dated it and silently slid it back across the table to his employee.

Not long after, the young man gave his notice and left his job. A year later, the two men met again for lunch. As they sat down, the former employee took a small white square out of his pocket. He unfolded it, then set it down and slid it across the table between them.

It was the same cocktail napkin with “permission to fail” written on it.

The young man had carried his “permission to fail” with him every day for the past year, and he had looked at it every time he was afraid or uncertain. Now he could look across the table at his former mentor and say “I did it. I made $1 million this year.”

I had told my husband that story because it really impacted me as an entrepreneur. We hadn’t spoken of it since. Until now.

Keep going. If you need permission to fail, then consider it given. Just don’t let fear stop you from doing what you’re called to do.

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