Have you ever said that to yourself?
And FYI - I've been thinking about writing this post for about two months now, but I was worried it wouldn't be good enough. ;-)
It was actually just this week that I got re-inspired to write it, after seeing a very raw and authentic Facebook post by my friend and colleague Heather Nicholds. She'd shared how she sometimes feels like a failure, despite her outward appearance of success. It reminded me about this post that's been lurking in my mind for a while now.
For me, this idea started with the breakup I went through in December, after thinking I'd finally met "the one." I even blogged about our relationship. Twice. After telling people how they too could manifest the relationship of their dreams, here I sat, single again. I felt like a failure. It was embarrassing. Not that anyone said "Hey, stupid - you'd better take down your blog post. You clearly don't know what you're doing." But still, I wondered if I should.
However, it made me dive deeper into the idea of "failure" and how we can all relate to it. In my life, I've tried a lot of things that people would call foolish. I've traveled thousands of miles without much money, moved across the country without a job or a place to live, and quit other jobs without knowing what I'd do next. I've always lived the whole "Leap and the net will appear" thing. And, it always has.
However, what I want to share in this blog post is that it hasn't always been easy. Like my friend Heather, I know that some people see me as successful, as if I don't have a care in the world. (I know this because they've told me) They think that because I work on my own schedule, travel, run my own business, and share so many positive social media posts, that I've got it all figured out. But they don't know how much I've struggled. And how many times I've thought I was a failure.
For example: I've been homeless. A few times. I've been at low points where I couldn't pay my light bill. Many times. I've wondered if the Universe has my back, or if I was just destined to fail. I've thought "It's taking so long to become successful that I might as well just give up." But I never did. And you guys, that's the only thing that matters. I'm at a point now where I can clearly - oh-so-clearly - see that the only reason people fail is that they give up. Yes, I know it sounds cliche. But it's so damn true.
THIS. You guys. It's SO true. It wasn't that long ago that I was in the dark place, thinking I might just quit this whole self-employment thing and get a "real job." I was really struggling. But I decided to keep going. I pushed myself to make some changes. I pushed myself to get clear on what was working and what wasn't. And I started to work harder at developing "prosperity consciousness." I forced myself to think more about what I DO want, and to stop worrying. I started putting in more effort (even when I didn't know how it would pay off), and doing the "Action conquers fear" thing. Because it does.
And here's a big one. . . I let go of my attachment to the outcome. I really think this is key . . . I believe a big part of succeeding is this: To put in as much positive effort as you can, and then let go. Don't be attached to it working out the way you want. Just keep putting effort into what you LOVE in every way you can.
I think of it like a garden. You plant the seeds, then you keep watering them and caring for them. Some won't grow, but some will. You can't expect them all to grow, and you can't smother-love the ones you want into growing. You just have to do your best, put in effort, and trust that you'll have a gorgeous thriving garden if you just keep tending it. I mean, yeah - that broccoli crop died, even after you put all your attention on it. (and it's OK to feel sad about that, because broccoli is awesome) But hey, check this out - your asparagus is going gangbusters!! And you have SO much of it that you're trading your neighbor for their broccoli. You get the idea.
Another thing that has helped me is to look around at my peers. So many people who you might think are immune to self-doubt experience it regularly. Every successful entrepreneur I know has gone through periods of feeling like a failure. Often. Again, the only difference between them and someone less successful is that they didn't give up.
What is failure about? To me, it's about learning. There's always something truly valuable to learn from each experience. Failure is also a zen lesson in non-attachment, trust, and expansion.
For example, I felt like a failure when my relationship ended in December. However, if I really look at the situation, I didn't fail. I gained so much. The experience of being with him was extremely valuable, and he's someone I will always be grateful to know. To this day, he continues to be a true friend, and I can always count on him for business advice or support. He's one of those people you just can't regret knowing. Plus, I grew so much from the experience, and am even more clear on what I want in a relationship. Being with someone so wonderful helped me to raise my standards and get even more in tune with the awesomeness the Universe can offer me. After my initial feelings of sadness and loss, it became clear to me that I was in fact, a success - not a failure. I had experienced something I wouldn't trade for anything, and am now in a position to receive even more of what I want, because of that. Doors don't ever close unless better ones are waiting to open.
It's also important to not take "failure" personally. Greg Faxon posted this video on the subject. There is always something in the experience for us. There's always a reason why we haven't YET succeeded. If we stay open, learn new lessons, and keep going, there's no way NOT to be successful.
Do you remember how I said a while back that I almost quit not that long ago? I was feeling pretty low. But I kept going. I guess I just love my work way too much to stop. It's in my blood or something. And do you know what happened? The most amazing work opportunities started to roll in. Out of nowhere. One after another. You guys. I would have missed all that if I hadn't kept going.
How did they roll in, as if by magic? Gosh, that's a good question. And in truth, there are a lot of factors. One, of course, is that I'd decided to push through the darkness and keep going. Another is that I kept the focus on my efforts (vs. the results I did or didn't see). I let go of my attachment to outcome, and just put all my energy into what I love. I pushed myself to align with "prosperity consciousness" in a whole new way. And finally, I increased my skills on a daily basis. I immersed myself in learning new things, in all areas of my work. I got reinvigorated to do what I do. I think that kind of energy draws success to it, in my experience. Especially when compared to the attitude of "Nothing I do matters; I put all this energy into a big project and not one person signed up." (Yeah, that happens a lot and it's no fun.) Attitude is everything. Not that it's always easy. It's definitely NOT. But it really is everything.
It's my sincere hope that this blog post is helpful to you in some way. Really, I'm just sharing some of my story here, in hopes that it will be meaningful to others. I want you to know that you are never, ever a failure. What you do really matters. If you haven't succeeded yet, there's a reason, and you CAN succeed if you keep going. I want you to know that all of the "greats" once felt like failures too. No one gets to the top of a mountain by landing there.
Behind every great success story was someone thinking they might as well give up. But they didn't. Go watch the movie "Joy" and see what that determined woman had to do before she was finally successful. That's life. But there's a happy ending for each of us if we believe in ourselves enough to keep going. I don't care what it is - your weight, your money situation, your health, your relationships, or your career. You CAN be successful in every realm if you keep trying. And please - be kind to yourself in the process. It's not always easy.
SO much LOVE and appreciation for all of you.