J.K. Rowling has become the first billionaire author in history. When she began her epic Harry Potter series, she was a single mother living on welfare. Publishing companies rejected her first submissions 12 times.
Walt Disney was fired from a job with a Kansas City newspaper because the editor felt he “lacked imagination.” He had several businesses fail before his groundbreaking movie; “Snow White” went on to become a world-renowned classic.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor because her bosses felt that she was “too emotional” to be successful at her career. She has been one of the most successful people in television with a net worth estimated at around $3 billion.
What about you? What is your relationship to failure and how much does it take to take you out of the game when things don’t go as you planned? For people who set goals, there is an innate desire to achieve them. Goal setters are achievers by nature. So when they don’t accomplish what they set out to do, it can take a toll on one’s mood, self-esteem, and hopes for the future.
The reality is that obstacles and setbacks are inevitable. You set out with the best-laid plans and intentions and then well, “life happens!” I don’t know too many friends, colleagues or coaching clients who had their path to attaining their goal be a simple, direct, easy “A, B, C” process. Most often it looks more like this:
Since obstacles and setbacks are pretty much inevitable, the real question is how you will relate to the challenges that inevitably arise? What are you choosing to see? Even in your temporary failure or setback, can you see the progress toward your bigger goal? Can you see that you are “approximating your goal” each time you come one step closer?
I had to grapple with this notion last week. I had planned to run a self-empowerment retreat in Sedona, Arizona for the past nine months – and I did!! Celebrate! So I achieved my goal, right? Yes, I realized part of the goal but I also some aspects of it.
What do I mean by that? I succeeded in creating the event (co-creating it with my friend and colleague, Howard Falco). I was super excited to travel across the country to a beautiful, warm destination in Arizona to deliver the work. I was excited to have several of my students and people who have heard my work attend. It was deeply gratifying to see people’s lives transform (You will see testimonials at the bottom of this message!). And I had fun. Those were all goals of mine. Fantastic, right?
I agree. But I also did not achieve the attendance goal we had set forth, and therefore, we also did not accomplish our financial goal. The event overall was “in the red.”
So did I succeed or did I fail?
Just like you when moving toward your goals, the answer is, it depends on how I am going to tell the story to myself. It depends on my perception and my narrative. I sincerely believe that creating our narrative about our life experiences produces the energy that you bring into your next encounter and expression.
I met someone who participated in the retreat is now registered to become one of my Certified Life Design Coaches, and another beautiful soul who will embark on doing Life Design coaching with me.
Whether you are “succeeding” or “failing” is up to you. As I tell my Life Design students if you are not failing regularly, you are not playing a big enough game! The question you have to grapple with when things don’t go as you had planned is this: Are you more attached to a particular OUTCOME than you are committed to your PASSION? When you focus entirely on the result, perhaps determining your value and worth accordingly, you experience difficulty. You will be at risk for getting burned out, feeling sorry for yourself, getting into a negative spiral of low self-esteem and self-worth. If your focus is instead on your passion, your mission, and your purpose, you will keep your head up and your eye on the prize. Most of all, you will keep going, doing what you need to do to be successful to the degree you desire. You have to focus on the overall process and goal, not just the temporary milestone. Adapt, learn, make some adjustments and keep going with the attitude of “bring it on!”
If you are facing setbacks, as we often do, keep your eye on the prize. Remember why you started in the first place. Most worthy goals are harder than we ever imagine but don’t count yourself out. Your dream fulfilled may be waiting for your right around the next corner.
That is what I am doing right now. We have yet to wrap-up the work from the Sedona Summit, but here I am focusing on the next amazing, exciting excursion. The reason for that is that I am deeply committed to my mission and vision.
As you will see from the testimonials below, the Sedona Summit was deeply transformational. That is from the words of the participants, not mine.
As I said above, I am already elbows deep into the preparation for the next event.
It will be a small, intimate and very exclusive workshop, with very limited spaces available, because it will occur on a small ship run by National Geographic Expeditions.
It won’t be for everyone and not everyone will know about it but I can promise you, it will be life changing for those who will attend.
(Some people who attended the Sedona Summit already booked their places!)
And – to make it even more extraordinary and special – it will happen in very exotic and exciting surroundings. (I can’t wait to tell you more about that.)
Only if you send me a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “yes” (obviously feel free to share your thoughts and opinions, if you wish, I love reading emails from you) I will keep you posted and informed about this extraordinary opportunity.