After failure


Not me. I don't smoke.

Not me. I don’t smoke.

Truth be told, I cried — after I hung up the phone. The Los Angeles Times editor fired me for a botched reporting job as his UCLA “stringer” in 1988. After four years of intensive training to break into journalism, was I hopeless?

Thank God for people who encouraged me (in the church).

A funny thing happened a few months later. The UCLA stringership* at the New York Times opened up, and my friend recommended me. I landed the spot and did a bang-up job. I got bylines and learned a ton from some really talented people. Because of my work, the New York Times scooped the Los Angeles Times in its own backyard a number of times**.

journalistsOf the two, the New York Times stringership was more prestigious. Of the two, it was a better learning experience. Of the two, it was a better resume booster.

If I hadn’t gotten fired, I wouldn’t have even been considered for the spot (because of conflict of interest). So the horrible experience turned out to be a great thing!

What you do at a failure is critical:

  • Get support from friends who love you
  • Pray
  • Learn to not make the same mistakes
  • Trust in God, not in your own wherewithal
  • Keep good friends; they are a network of opportunities in the future
  • Believe in yourself because not many in this world will believe in you

* a “stringer” is an onsite person, not a regular reporter or an intern, who produces occasional articles or does local interviewing to be incorporated in a bigger piece. The New York Times had a journalism student at each major university across the nation. They paid a small stipend, and the student got great experience.

** “scoop” in journalism you beat your competition, getting a news story out first.

36 responses to “After failure

  1. This is great stuff, and incredibly pertinent to my current situation. Thanks.

  2. Great inspiration! What I’ve learned in life is when God closes one for, he opens another that he may be glorified. Consider it a blessing.Thank you for this thought inspiring message. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Good timing with this post, thank you.

  4. And then you went from the top of the news biz to the Good News.
    What a story! (And congratulations.)

  5. Great inspiration! What Iโ€™ve learned in life is when God closes one door, he opens another that he may be glorified. Consider it a blessing.Thank you for this thought inspiring message. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Inspiring article. Better you told you don’t smoke. The person has photo resemblance

  7. What an awesome story! When you think the worst happens it is actually a blessing in disguise right?

    I too felt like a total failure after taking a test and didn’t get a job.

    I’m not giving up yet. Maybe something better is coming but in the meantime I will be patient.

    Thank you so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. What an awesome story! When you think the worst happens it is actually a blessing in disguise right?

    I too felt like a total failure after taking a test and didn’t get a job.

    I’m not giving up yet. Maybe something better is coming (God must be preparing something for sure) but in the meantime I will be patient.

    Thank you so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I really appreciate how you share and the advice at the end! God bless you!

  10. I loved this. This was really encouraging and great advice. I’m trying to do the same in my own life. Thank you thank you thank you for the reminder.

    I’m so glad things worked out for you. God is good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. We all are winners by the choices we make encouraged by our love for the One God Almighty. Stepping up the home plate not to swing the bat, but to feast. You eat well my brother, I hope don’t mind me calling you my brother.

  12. I have been finding this also, that if I hadn’t undergone my terrible trials of late, certain things would never have happened, and I can see a tiny light at the end of my tunnel, in a completely different and BETTER direction than I ever imagined (EPH. 3:20). The light may be just a firefly, but what has already happened makes even that worth it. Thanks, Ps Mike.

  13. I like this very much! Absolutely true. The “Bad” news turns out to be Good news in disguise. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have learned to trust the Universe (God) and when something unexpected pops up – no matter how bad – I wonder where is it going to take me, this thing. For sure it’s kicked me onto a new path and that path is going somewhere. Without fail, something better comes out of it, although I might not recognize it when I’m first launched onto that new path.

    Trusting God takes a lot of fear out of the unknown. It’s easier to go forward, too, when you know that somewhere down that track is the purpose, the reason you’re on this particular path in the first place.

    Life then becomes an adventure, no matter what.

    Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. getting fired is a blessing in a way.haha.”the horrible experience turned out to be a great thing!”This article is so encouraging. Thank u and Godbless!

  15. Thank you for addressing how to comeback after a failure! My message has been a message of restoration for the last few years because so many churches want to throw people to the curb after a failure. Where would any of us be without God’s grace?

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