"What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?" - Erin Hanson
Sometimes we want a business or what we think is a good idea to succeed, but despite our efforts, we come to the realization that a chapter must be closed.
Maybe you've been there before? Maybe you're going through that right now? It's painful. It's heartbreaking. It's confusing. And sometimes it feels like your entire world is quite literally collapsing before your eyes.
I've been there before and it looks something like this - You have an idea you're passionate about, you put your heart and soul into it, you invest your time and money, you work hard even when no one seems to understand or care about what you are doing. You tell yourself it's all for a reason--that eventually it'll all pay off, that not all businesses or good ideas become something overnight, or even within the first couple of years. So, the long nights turn into long months, which turn into long years, until you're faced with a decision. Do I keep investing in this dream? or do I walk away?
For some, they aren't ready to close the chapter. It would feel like a betrayal of their dreams and anyone who was invested in that dream. So, they keep going. They keep giving this dream energy they don't have - but somehow it pays off.
For others, they have no choice but to close the chapter. They've exhausted all their energy and finances. To keep this dream alive would mean the death of something else. Something more important - their health or their relationships.
From 2010 to 2015 I had a photography business I was very passionate about. As a kid I remember being fascinated with capturing moments that other people didn't even notice. I was observant and could almost see a moment unfold before it even started. I knew I had the talent and passion, so I went for it. I quit my full-time job and did it - I became my own boss! I worked extremely hard at this dream for several years, until I saw other people who I once mentored land more jobs than me. Which, to me was an indication that something was off. I wasn't booking as many jobs as I had hoped and that was starting to impact my confidence, passion, and physical ability to maintain a business. So, I closed everything down after years of trying to keep the business afloat. I had exhausted all my resources. It was hard. In fact, for several months after, I could barely get out of bed every morning. I felt like a let-down and disappointment to everyone who had ever believed in me, and a joke to anyone who had ever advised me NOT to start my own business.Yet, somehow I am here speaking to you about my experience. Meaning, "failure" wasn't the end of my story and neither should it be yours.
Too often we allow failure to define our dreams and think it's the end of whatever dream we are chasing. Instead of seeing failure as the final chapter of a dream, we should see it as a new chapter to a new dream, a new opportunity, or new adventure.
3 lies you need to stop believing RIGHT NOW:
"The road to success is never a straight path. Sometimes you have to make several "wrong" turns until you make the "right" turn."
The willingness to learn from failure will unearth a catalogue of lessons that can be brought into the next adventure or chapter of life. These lessons are what help us to build something bigger, better, and more improved.
The key is to ask, "What can I learn from this?," instead of, "Why did this fail"? This simple shift will change your perspective on failure and the current situation you find yourself up against. Behind every struggle and failure is a lesson to be learned, and often times they are the most valuable lessons that come our way.
It's a part of our nature to want to know why things didn't work out, but we have to accept that sometimes things just don't work out, and that's OK. Sometimes that is all the explanation we will ever get.
No matter how hard we work at something, or pour into it - some things work, and others don't.
"Sometimes things (in dreams and business) just don't work out, and that's OK!"
Experiencing any type of failure is hard and during seasons of failure it's difficult to see two steps ahead. If you're currently experiencing a season painted with failure, know that you're much stronger than you give yourself credit. Our heart and mind are extremely resilient in times of heartache or setback, even when it doesn't feel like it. We often don't see this until well after we've endured something difficult. Then we look back and think, "How did I survive that"?
So, if you need a reminder of how strong and amazing you are, here's your pep talk for today:
"You were made for greatness! Today's failure does not define your tomorrow. In fact, your failure will become the catalyst for something bigger and better. You were meant for great things and this setback will be the clarity you need to unearth those great things. Don't give up on what you feel you are meant to do, because this world needs what only you can give. This world needs your innovative ideas, genius creativity, talents, and everything that makes you, uniquely you. You have all the strength you need, and more, to endure this season. That's all this is - a season."
Too often we see failure as an end, when in most cases it's the beginning of something better suited for us. Failure is the best fuel to start something new, to start doing all the things you've been wanting to do but haven't been able to.
Winston Churchill once said,
“Success is your ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
When we use our failure as fuel, is when we truly succeed.
Sometimes failure hurts because we feel like a disappointment to ourself. Other times, failure hurts because we feel like a disappointment to others. What I've learned and experienced, however, is the heart of humanity steps up during times of failure. People offer a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, support in time of need, directional advice, and words of encouragement when we fail. Most people have a heart towards those in the midst of failure. Your failure isn't held against you. In fact, people still believe in you, fiercly!
This week I was watching an Instagram Story of NYFW and during one runway show a model fell. This isn't all too out of the ordinary, but this moment really spoke to me. You could see the obvious embarrassment and disappointment on her face. Just imagine - You put the time and effort into making sure something like this doesn't happen, but then it happens...in front of hundreds of people. When this model tried getting herself back on her feet, one of her shoes fell off. She resumed walking down the runway with one foot in a sky-high stiletto and the other barefoot. In an act of (what seemed like) empathy and encouragement, someone in the audience yelled, "take the other one off!" I literally cried when I heard that person offer some encouragement. Their words seemed to comfort her and gave her permission to be human, in a culture that seems to focus on perfection.
These video screenshots aren't the best but hopefully show the power of the moment.
When she fell, people started to clap as to say, "it's OK!"
This is where she took her other shoe off. I can just imagine the relief she felt in that moment!
Sometimes failing feels like falling on a runway with hundreds of people watching you, but there will always be people in the crowd cheering you on, encouraging you to pick yourself up and finish strong. So, finish strong!
In order to know what works you have to know what doesn't.
Failure allows you to tap into a certain creativity that doesn't show up when things are running smoothly, everything is successful, and life is perfect. When given an obstacle, creative thinking shines. Failure gives your mind an opportunity to tap into this reservoir of hidden, innovative ideas. Sometimes, to move forward, you need those innovative ideas to help show you how.
When we fail, we tend to start looking inward. A lot of times this self-reflection will lead to new revelations about you, your business, or your circumstance. When we are busy being successful, self-reflection has a tendency to be placed on the back burner. Take this opportunity to dig deep, so you have more clarity on your values, vision, and purpose for your next adventure.