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Any successful person you meet will have a story of failure to tell you, and actually probably more than one. What separates the truly successful from those who skate by in life is not just what they learn from those failures well after they happen, but also how they handle those failures as they happen. These are delicate situations that can literally make or break a person’s life for a long time to come.
I’m about to tell you a story of how I faced a very difficult situation of failure which I could do very little about, and how I was able to turn that failure into an eventual long-term success.
Consider these scenarios and the similarities in them: You keep eating healthy food during the week but when the weekend comes, you diet mainly consists of junk food; You wake up early during the weekdays, but on weekends you tend to wake up late, thus losing your productivity; You have implemented a healthy habit of drinking water while you work, but you “forget” this habit when it’s the weekend.
If this is you, then welcome to the club! I have experienced these same things myself. In fact, I felt I wasn’t honest to myself. I was living with the productive and healthy habits only 80% at a time. I knew I had to change. Otherwise the remainder 20% of the time would ruin my good habits and the benefits I got from them.
As a recovering type A personality, I wish control worked. And it does, sometimes. But there’s always at least one area of life that cannot be tamed. You’re happily married but have health issues. Or you’re financially stable but struggling with fertility. You have fulfilling work but no life partner. Nothing ever goes our way entirely, and that can become a great doorway for transformation.
The heart of transformation involves facing change. Here, change makes us feel vulnerable because it means engaging new unknowns. We’ve been taught to rely on control to deal with uncertainty. The challenge is that control boxes us into viewing reality as good versus bad. So if a change arrives that fits into our perception about what life should look like, we’re happy. But what happens if a change arrives that doesn’t fit into our box? Either we can’t recognize it or we push it away (hello, denial). And what if life throws us a curveball? Then the box crumbles and we’re left feeling overwhelmed.
I’m not old by any means but one thing I have learned from my 31 years and 8 months in this world is that each of us is unique. There is not one single person out there that looks like me, thinks like me, has the same circumstances as me, or the same thought process as me. So it doesn’t really make much sense to follow the same life course as anyone else.
Much like there is no one size fits all approach to fitness and nutrition, there is no one size fits all approach to how you should live your life. This is the story of my journey to being who I always wanted to be. It includes why I quit my job, sold my car and gave away $45,000. I hope you enjoy.
I looked at my bank account online this morning and saw my balance is $-0.01. AAAAAAAACK!!! Intellectually, I know this is temporary. I know that it was caused by a “perfect storm” of bad timing revolving around deposits, withdrawals and a bank holiday. I know that more money is coming to me. But in this exact moment, I can’t help but feel panicked.
The trick I’ve learned, and the reason that I’m sharing this deeply personal, and potentially embarassing information with you, is that I need to make a distinction between “having no money” and “being worthless”.
Here’s the thing. The grass is always greener on the other side. It looks easier than your grass, it seems so much softer than your grass and if only you could have ‘that’ grass, how much nicer your life would be. You could probably come up with at least a dozen things that you would do with that grass. Then it happens. You finally have your chance to take ownership of that fantastically greener, softer version of your own grass and what do you know? You’re sitting on the couch in your pajamas watching the 5thepisode of that insatiable reality show that you have a love/hate relationship with.
It happened to me. I worked for 15 years in Corporate America before I had the opportunity to work from home. Like many people working in Corporate America, I’ve always thought that living the life of an entrepreneur would be a piece of cake compared to working for a billion dollar corporation where conformity was the norm and creative freedom was a hobby. In 2010, the opportunity of a lifetime unfolded right before my eyes and for the first time, I was given a chance to step over to the other side of the grass.