By all measures, 2019 was an amazing year of my life. No point in being humble about it, it was incredible. I published an international bestseller, spoke to hundreds of thousands of women about Brave, Not Perfect, visited refugees in Jordan with Girls Who Code and the UN, and after years of struggling with fertility, met my gestational surrogate Amber who is carrying our baby boy. (Just to name a few highlights… :))
It may have been an amazing year, but I’ll tell you what it wasn’t: perfect. I’m not just talking about challenges and setbacks that were out of my control, I’m talking about straight-up, unadulterated failures. Looking back on the year, it’s way too easy to gloss over the mistakes and focus on the positive outcome. That’s not my style. I think if we don’t take some time to dwell on our screw-ups, we don’t truly own them and learn from them.
So, without further ado, here are my 5 Favorite Failures of 2019.
- That time I failed my driver’s test. I’m not going to lie, this one really stung. If you haven’t been following the saga on my Instagram, I’ve been (re)learning how to drive this year and my road test was a few months ago. I was so prepared and ready… or so I thought. I failed miserably within the first two minutes of the exam and went on to cry for pretty much the entire day.
- Realizing I’m a horrible hugger. I probably meet a thousand people a week, but somehow I’ve made it to 44 years old without learning how to give a proper hug. It makes me uncomfortable! When someone goes in for a full embrace, my move is to dodge it and pivot into a side hug and just kind of just tap their back instead. And then one day I saw my sweet, warm, affectionate 4 year old do the SAME THING. Broke my heart! Working on this one…
- Getting shut down in Hollywood. I had a meeting with some bigwigs to kick around a creative idea I’ve been working on. Let’s just say I didn’t get the response I was hoping for. I was met with blank stares, raised eyebrows, arms folded across chests… basically, they thought I was crazy. The good news is that nothing makes me hustle harder than a little rejection!!!
- When I forgot my husband. I am big on souvenirs when I travel for work. When I took a week this year to go with my team to Jordan, I came back like a guilty Santa Claus. Everyone got something. Shaan got a toy camel and Arabic Kinder eggs, Audrey got a UN tote bag, the office got lots of baklava, even my sister got some pistachio chocolate. My wonderful husband Nihal? Nada. He’d been holding down the fort on dad duty for a week, and I didn’t even get him a post-card. I’m sorry, Nihal!!
- Shouting at my son. Shaan and I had some epic power struggles this year, mostly because we operate at different speeds. I’m a fast person. I walk fast, I talk fast, I work fast. Shaan… not so much. One day I just snapped at him to hurry up. He just looked at me and said “Mommy, why are you shouting? It’s not nice.” I had to hand it to the little slowpoke… he had a good point.
In all seriousness, my biggest failure was moving too quickly through it all to really take it in. I didn’t celebrate the wins nearly enough because I was too eager to make the next bestseller list or hit the next milestone. And by trying to do too much and be in too many places, I missed out on the joy that comes from being truly present. Oh, and I completely exhausted myself in the process, beating up on my body and wearing myself out.
I can guarantee you that next year won’t be perfect, and I’ll still be the same crazy overachieving Reshma — but I am committed to slowing down, prioritizing my self-care and setting a good example for my family and my team.