A question was posed to me the other day that caused a lot of
consternation on my part as I wasn’t really sure how to answer. The
question was “if you could go back and erase any event in your life, would you do it?”  I honestly struggled quite a bit with this because I have had some major failures…a business partner stole money from me, I lost jobs, and I never had a family.  These are things most normal people would consider massive failures.  I do too mind you, but what if I could erase the first one?  I  I would not have likely gotten my next job which turned out to be my favorite job in my career.  I met many people while working there that I still consider dear friends.  If my business partner had not done this to me I would not have been in the state of desperation I was in and probably would not have even considered this job.  I don’t think I would erase this one.

The second one is composed of many job firings.  It is not that I do anything wrong or that I am not an extremely hard worker.  It is often a difference of opinion in how I think things should be done, versus how my boss thinks, and we part ways.  I have been told that I am very smart but I question my intelligence because “who would get fired that much if they were smart?”  Turns out, lots of entrepreneurs cannot work for others as they have a keen idea as to how they want things done.  Also, corporate America is not for everyone.   I would love to erase some of them but if I did I am not sure I would have the empathy and humility that I do today.  I am keenly aware of people looking for employment and am always willing to lend a helping hand or network on their behalf.  I am sure that if I had never experienced this myself, I likely would not be this understanding to job loss.  I might even have assumed that they did something to deserve it, which is absolutely not the case in most job losses.

The third one is a big one for me.  I never got married nor had children.  I am certain that my parents would have loved to have grandchildren.  I am sure than I can still do both if the right circumstances prevail.  I just wonder why on earth it had to take so long.  What if I could go back and erase it and marry and have children at 34?  I would have missed out on meeting some great guys that I met after age 34.  I did not marry any of them but it does not mean that I didn’t adore these guys and enjoy our time together.  Don’t get me wrong, dating is hard, and I have met quite a few throwbacks that I would like to forget.  There have also been some really good ones.  So, I don’t think I would erase that one either but I reserve the right to change my mind if the situation is still the same when I am 80.

Would you erase your failures?  If so, why or why not?  Really think about it.  I honestly don’t know why nobody ever asked me this question in an interview because it is a great one.  Do you handle your failures or successes better? 

I believe failure is easier to handle.  When I have had successes and there have been many, I seem to struggle to deal with it with grace.  I tend to let my successes make me think I am pretty good.  As I mentioned earlier, I would not have the compassion and humility if all I had ever experienced was success.  I am terrible in corporate America but I am a great listener, and that is because I so desperately wanted to be heard.  I think it is better to serve than be served and so I am fine with failure as long as some success is sprinkled in there too.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this as it has truly been eye-opening for me to realize that I would not erase my failures and really mean it.  What do you think?


  • Jo Ann Burkhalter

    Writer and Sales Professional

    Alabama born and raised, educated with a MBA from Auburn University and passionate about all things southern. I have always enjoyed helping people and and especially animals.