No matter what anyone tries to tell you about failure – "failure is a stepping stone to success", "failing is not failure", "the best fail and fail often", "even Oprah was told she would never succeed", and so on – it still royally and totally sucks! No amount of logic in the moment of the actual act of failing can cure the immense flood of sadness and despair that courses through your body, the pain of it crashing up against your heart, the act of courage being crushed by the weight of disappointment.
My recent failure came from sticking my neck out, taking a risk, and doing it in pure Melissa fashion – jumping all-in and figuring out how the heck I was going to land knowing I wasn't fully prepared, and trying to figure it all out while in the midst of falling fast and hard.
You see I decided I would do a workshop in another city because I already had plans to be there. I organized it quickly, flying by the seat of my pants asking friends and colleagues to help me promote it. "Decent effort for whipping this together so quickly," I thought. Unbeknownst to me a lesson was being taught quietly on the edges of my hopes and dreams.
My worst fear was realized - not one single person registered. Not one. Head hung in disappointment, tail tucked between my legs as I boarded a plane for home two days early. Not only devastating, but completely and utterly embarrassing.
So, of course hindsight is 20/20. Looking in the rearview mirror there are lots of things I definitely could have done that would’ve probably prevented the failure. But to be perfectly honest, I really don't think I would've done it any differently - failure absolutely, positively shows you the path to outrageous success, and sometimes jumping without a parachute can be exactly what we need - besides how would you ever know if that was the secret formula if you didn't try it?
And I've come to realize just because I have the courage to leap, daredevil-style, doesn't exclude me from the devastating effects of failure, it's a blow, it hurts, it can be a dream destroyer - if you let it.
Ramping up a brand and offering like MoreSeekers is absolutely positively my destiny. My five senses tingle and come alive seeing those who desire a life of MORE get exactly what they want. I know deep down in my heart this idea of realizing MORE, of facing our fears, of letting go of fixing ourselves and focusing on the MORE we want, of making our dreams come true, and learning how to do it with ease and grace is something desperately needed in this world if we're going to succeed as individuals, and as a society. And I know, without a doubt, it’s absolutely a part of my divine plan. But man-oh-man does it come with a shit ton of ups, downs, sideways and backwards that no one could ever ever have prepared me to experience.
It’s a crazy thing to be able to see and feel an opportunity, a possibility, an idea with such clarity, such passion, such intensity, such certainty, and at the same time feel like you’re completely and totally off your rocker.
This failure was one of those that makes you question – you know those questions that rattle and shake you to the core of your being:
Do I have what it takes? Is this really a good idea, or am I just smoking my own? Does this resonate with anyone? What the heck am I doing? Maybe I should just quit?
And yes, every single one of these reverberated through my body, sucking me into sadness and despair, and whipping every single one of my cells up into the frenzy of a failure tornado. These are the questions that have the power to stop most people dead in their tracks because they cause us to second-guess ourselves out of our dreams, out of opportunity, out of the life we know we're meant to live. They literally make your heart sink as a cyclone of thoughts and feelings begin to whisk you away, pulling you further and further from the possibility of your dream.
I was holding on to whatever I could, working really really hard to keep it all together, telling myself, "It's all good. You got this," hearing my Master NLP Coach, Terry Hickey, off in the distance saying, "Failure is only feedback." I was searching and searching for that one saying, that one idea, that one voice that would wrap me up like a warm snuggly blanket and make it all OK. But nothing, absolutely nothing in that moment was capable of soothing my broken heart.
And as the tension grew, the gap between me and my dream widening, something in me stirred, refusing to give in - being swept away into the depths of despair was not a part of the grander plan.
I believe in this idea. I believe in the power of MORE. I can't stand to see another person hold themselves back from realizing their dream. And I believe in those who are striving for MORE in their lives, to make this world a better place. I’ve witnessed first hand how even the simple act of switching perspective from lack, less and limits to a focus on the desire for MORE can change someone, forever alter the course of their life, empower them to be, live, do and have all the MORE their heart, soul and spirit desires. Even if I wanted to, bowing in defeat was not an option.
So I decided if I was going to fail, I was going to fail FANTASTICALLY!
Something inside of me (probably the whisper of my soul) told me to feel into the failure. It sounds a little nutty to invite in the wrath and pain, but it's what I did. I let myself be broken hearted, experience the heartache, and feel the sadness. I was crushed, and truly allowing myself to feel it was unbelievably fantastic. I realized for the first time, pushing it aside, burying it, covering it up and trying to pretend or convince myself otherwise was actually going to pull me further away from realizing my own MORE.
And then without even thinking, I picked up the phone and did the most fantastically vulnerable thing I could do - I reached out for support. I texted, I called, I emailed, I messaged. I typed and spoke the actual words, "I failed". I shared my sadness. I asked for what I needed - a little love, a prayer, a shoulder, a laugh.
Eight months ago this would have never even crossed my mind - feeling and asking - "I'm a strong capable person, who needs that?" I do! I really need it. I think we all need it, no matter how successful, strong, capable we and everyone else thinks we are.
So what made me do it? How did the shift occur?
Well, I’m starting to realize I have become a true MoreSeeker. I have dedicated myself to growing into my potential, I’ve started to acquire the tools necessary to not only get the MORE I desire, but to actually attract MORE to me with my sense of being rather than pushing, striving and muscling to make things happen. I've let go of control, and opened up to the greater possibilities that lie beyond control. And I’ve dedicated myself to working those tools – the practices of feeling and asking for support being two of the keys to living a life of MORE.
We run. We hide. We shrink. We ignore failure. When in actuality it's the most fantastic and amazing thing that can ever happen to our dream. It's amazing what happens when you open up. It may sound crazy, but I literally felt like the Universe was rising up to meet me. Not only did the people I reached out to offer their love and support, I received several messages appreciating me for the work I’m doing and acknowledging me and the gifts I have to share, offering thanks for their new sense of empowerment and their shift to living a life of MORE.
Thanks to my family, friends, and amazing clients, the storm that felt like it was ripping through my body, mind and soul has started to subside. I can think more clearly, my passion and enthusiasm are beginning to shine again, all because I failed. All because I decided to fail fantastically.
That all happened on Monday, and today, by writing this, I’m honoring and celebrating the failure because it honestly has shifted me in a fantastic way - as a result I'm more determined and more dedicated than ever.
Below you’ll find the key things I learned as a result of choosing to fail fantastically. I hope you’ll tuck this away in your “failure” file so that when you get ready to take the leap, or when you’re falling and your parachute won't open, or when you've crashed and burned, maybe one of these will remind you that while the attempt may fail, you can turn it into something fantastic! The process totally sucks, you get to choose how it ultimately turns out, you get to choose to be strong, persistent, opportunistic. You get to choose MORE.
How to fail fantastically:
- Embrace the fact failing happens
- Have faith. Your faith is what will keep you from drowning or being swept away in the despair
- Seek support. A laugh and hug can calm the storm
- Recognize it. Notice it. Name it.
- Feel it, experience all of it – the sadness, the grief, the disappointment
- Rekindle your enthusiasm and passion, they will carry you forward
- Open up to the lesson. Eat your humble pie.
- Celebrate its fantastic-ness. MORE is there waiting for you when you land
- Don't give up. Jump back in, smarter and stronger than ever before
If you have a failure story or something to add to the list I’d love, love, love to learn more about what works for you, because what I know for sure is this is the first of many failures, of deeper lessons. Leave a comment below or hit me on Facebook or Twitter!
My new workshop “Grow A Pair…Of Wings! comes to Denver October 4! Learn MORE and see if we're coming to a city near you.