Let’s succeed, fail, and come back. Anytime we take action on a goal, we expose ourselves to attack and even failure, but the rewards are tremendous in that we gain ideas, knowledge, skills, relationships, and heck, even success. I say succeed until you fail, and fail until you succeed because the comebacks are some of the best feelings ever!
Since I was a child, my parents have always encouraged me to try many things. “If you don’t try, you will never know” was the lesson I learned. So I participated in many sports, school clubs, and community organizations. When I grew up, I went after my goals in law, politics, and business. I even made an effort in my love life. Did I win? Yes, many times, but I also had my share of losses. I’ll tell you a few of my experiences.
When I was attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1995, I broke up with my first girlfriend. I was so sad that my grade point average plummeted from a B average to a D average at which time I was placed on probation. If I didn’t raise my grade point average, I would be kicked out of the university. I went to visit one of the university’s counselors. “What do you want to be?” she asked.
“I want to be a lawyer,” I answered.
She looked down at my grades on the transcript and then she looked back at me. “Do you like working with people?”
“Why don’t you become a social worker?”
I was quiet. I wonder what my expression may have looked like?
For the next couple of years, I attained mostly all “A”s for every semester except for a few “B”s here and there. I brought by grade point average back up to a B average and graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a B.A. in Political Science.
In 2001, I ended up attending Gonzaga University School of Law and graduating with my J.D., passing the Hawaii State Bar Association’s examination, and today, I’m a lawyer.
In politics, I ran for a Hawaii State House seat in 2002 for a community I was unfamiliar with. I was told that I would likely lose because two of the so-called front-runner opponents were well-known and professionally established. I was only twenty-seven years old, just out of law school with very little experience, and no name recognition. Plus, the demographics were not in my favor, and another opponent was young like me with a similar background so we would cancel each other out. However, I had typed out my strategy and platform for bettering Hawaii many years before while in college so I was mentally prepared. My front-runner opponents bragged about their experience while I focused on what I was going to achieve for our community and the State of Hawaii. To counter my opponents’ name recognition, I walked door-to-door around my district 3 times, which was about 20,000 visitation of homes until I burned holes in my pants from the constant rubbing of my bag filled with brochures. I won the House seat by a good margin.
Years later in 2010, I ran for the Lieutenant Governor’s race and loss, but the newly elected Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith M. Kaneshiro recruited me to become a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and Legislative Liaison because he had watched me in action as the House Judiciary Chairman as I took on very controversial issues like same-sex marriage while he was an attorney with my Senate counterpart, his good friend who I had some disagreements with but I alway tried to be professional with him.
In 2015, I resigned from the Honolulu Prosecutor’s office because of a driving under the influence charge, which I have won the civil side of the case in 2016 because of false information and wrong-doings by the police, but still awaiting an appeal from the higher court on the criminal side of the case after a district court judge ruled that my testimony was not credible, which did not make sense because I didn’t testify in the trial. Despite it being a traffic crime, he sentenced me to prison with maximum fines and community service, much more than what I’ve seen when I litigated criminal cases such as assault.
Instead of worrying about my legal woes, I dedicated 100% of my efforts into the private sector. I had ended my Internet retail business in 2012 after 10 years but I was still involved with a couple of business partners in an event production company since 2014. I then helped to build a night club, assisted an agricultural company in its goal to build a value-added agricultural processing plant, joined a team to build an aviation company, partnered with another group to build a consulting company for foreign investors, and several other projects. Meanwhile, in my role as a litigating and transactional attorney, I took on a few clients who were undergoing a business partnership split. In my 2 years since leaving government, I experienced a business partner who took all the money and left the rest of us with nothing, another who didn’t sign an agreement that would give me a tiny share of the company after I helped build it, and another who had child custody legal issues so the company was placed on hold. To some, these losses could be seen as a failure. I may have not made money from these ventures, however, I gained a lot of skills, built new relationships, and have come up with ideas for when I make my return to these sectors. There are many “wins” within such failures.
On the bright side, the aviation company and consulting company for foreign investors are moving forward with business partners that make a great team, and I’m still working on my creative writing projects and taking on some legal work. With any start-up company, there is a risk of losing time and money, but there is also the opportunity to create new services and products that will generate more jobs and revenue for our community. It is for these reasons that I continue my journey in these arenas.
Both “success” and “failure” are just as important. Wins are fun, but if we always got what we wanted in life, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much, and life would become boring. For it is the experiences of the journey that makes us appreciate the wins. We gain ideas, knowledge, skills, and relationships regardless if we succeed or fail, therefore, by the looks of it, we still win even when we lose.