Which one word you ask? The one word that makes me cringe every time I hear it... FAILURE. I have been thinking about the concept of failure a lot lately and wanted to explore these thoughts and ideas a bit. What exactly is failure? When I looked up the definition of failure, I found "the lack of success" or "an unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing." So I looked up success, and the definition of success is "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose" or "the attainment of popularity or profit." Hm. Let's think about that for a second.
If you have ever read books or memoirs about some of the most successful people in the world, they are the ones that took risks, the kind of risks that others saw as insane. They stepped way out of their comfort zone, and went against the norm. They did things that scared them. They shut out the naysayers and the haters, and went after what they believed in, no matter how impossible it seemed. They experienced repeated "failures." Things didn't go the way they planned, they came upon roadblocks and hurdles that were unexpected. They lost money, friends, and other things along the way. But the difference between them and others, was that they didn't give up. And to them, the failures weren't failures. They were challenges to be faced, hurdles to overcome. What others saw as failures, and a reason to give up, these guys saw as opportunity. An opportunity to change their course a bit, take a detour, try something different, and they kept working towards what they wanted. Failure didn't exist in their mind. It can't because it isn't real. It is a concept. The perceived failures they experienced along the way are what led them to their overall success. They were necessary stepping stones along the way. So tell me then, are they still considered failures?
I make decisions many times that people don't agree with or think are too wild and crazy. But I make decisions based on what I want in my heart, not based on the how's and why's of how I will get there. And when others come to me for advice, I always push them to do what their heart desires, no matter how scary it is. But I get a lot of resistance, and weary looks, so I began to wonder what everyone is so afraid of, and realized it was all coming back to failure. We are so bound by societal views on what is successful that so many people are miserable from trying to fit that mold.
Let me share one of the more recent events in my life in which I found myself falling into the trap of feeling like a failure. At the end of 2013, I decided to leave my consulting job for good to start my own business. I went off to Asia for 5 months, against a lot of people's wishes, and decided I wanted to focus on my yoga practice in India and work on my business idea. When I returned, I launched my business, Poses with a Purpose. I hosted a launch party, told everyone I knew what I was doing, my ideas, my plans, and dove in. I quickly learned that I had no idea what it takes to start a business... and not too long after that, I realized I needed an income and it wasn't happening through Poses right away. I was mortified when I had to go back to consulting at the end of 2014. I was scared to tell my friends and family, because I thought they might say "I told you so" or in the back of their mind, think I failed big time. Nobody wants anyone to think that of them... but I gritted my teeth, told the world, and did what I had to do. Since I was back to working full time, the retreats had to be put on hold, but me being the way I am, couldn't just sit around so I turned my attention to one of my side projects which has now become Made with a Purpose. Had I not gone through each and every one of those steps, I wouldn't be here today. Made with a Purpose is SO fulfilling for me, and I still don't know what I am doing all the time, but I am figuring it out along the way. And things are falling into place. Poses with a Purpose will come back to life when the time is right, but this time, it will be much more beautiful, because I will be more prepared, and I have new elements to incorporate.
Will my decisions lead me to success? Maybe not in other people's eyes, but I am not trying to be successful in their eyes, only in mine. In my eyes, I am and always will be successful; in my eyes, there is no such thing as failure, only experience. You perceive your life experiences as good or bad, but it is just perception. That old saying, everything happens for a reason? It's one of my favorites. I truly believe in each and every experience you have in life, there is a lesson to be learned. A way for you to grow, to learn something new about yourself, a new hurdle to overcome that makes you stronger and wiser. And if you can change your perception from thinking about things as a failure but look at it more as an opportunity for growth, and an opportunity to learn something new about yourself, your whole world will totally change!