There is one guarantee in life. And that's failure. Success isn't even guaranteed. But failure is. No matter who you are, what you've done, how smart or talented you are, what family you come out of, how much money you have...no matter what....you will fail.
But it's not the failure that is important. It's whether or not you get back up. When you fall, do you rise up again? Or do you quit? What is your response to failure? What is your response to a door being slammed in your face? Or to the phone call that says, no we haven't chosen you....or to the email that says, sorry-not this time-we are going with someone else. Or to a weekend of unhealthy food choices and way to much wine--how do you respond on Monday? Or when you've been eating healthy, not going off plan, exercising everyday and the scale STILL isn't moving down. Do you throw in the towel?
You cannot achieve greatness without experiencing failure first. And probably often. No great achiever or millionaire or inventor or CEO or President or pro athlete ever got to the top of their career without failing along the way. I once heard the best-selling author John Maxwell say, "Failure isn't the opposite of success it's the process of success." You can't have success without failure.
For a long time I tried to hide my failures from others. I only wanted people to see my accomplishments and the successes I've had. Now I'm realizing that the failures I've experienced along the way, along with those same successes, make what I've accomplished even more amazing. Many of the people in the circle around me see that I run several successful businesses, have a healthy body, am in a happy marriage, and have two awesome teenagers and am enjoying life. What they don't see is that 10 years ago, I didn't have my own place to live, I was working second shift in a call center trying to make ends meet, I was settling for a bad relationship because it was helping to provide my food, shelter, and clothes, most of my circle of friends and family had stepped away from me (due to my bad decisions), I felt hopeless and ruined and saw no way out of the mess I was in.
When I look back, I hardly recognize that person. And I ask myself, how did I climb out of that hole and get to where I am right now? Well, first off, I gotta give most of the credit to a God Who never gave up on me. I felt His favor EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. I knew He was watching over me and He was constantly opening doors for me and paving a path for me to get out of that mess.
But I also took FULL responsibility for the mistakes that I had made that spiraled me into that dark and lonely place. I intentionally chose to blame no one, but to instead claim responsibility. Could I have been hateful towards those who had cast me out, judged me, and enjoyed gossiping about me? Sure. It would have been easy. I also could have lied or hid the truth and been in denial about my role in the mistakes and damage I created. But I didn't. I ain't braggin'....but I took the hard road. Not because I'm some amazing Christian or person but because at the time, I honestly thought it was the only road I could take.
And I forgave. I gradually forgave myself (and that has taken nearly a decade to do) and I forgave those around me who had hurt me or left me. The people I thought were my friends that were no where to be found during that time.....I forgave. I didn't hold any bitterness or anger towards them. I think forgiveness was a huge part of my ability to get through those failures, and achieve what I have. Harboring unforgiveness is like having your soul rot within you. It brings no pain to the ones you are choosing not to forgive, but instead all of the damage is inflicted on yourself. It causes you to become resentful, bitter, and eventually full of hate. There are studies that show that these types of feelings can actually affect you physically--creating potential sickness, disease, or the decline of your health. To forgive is to heal. Easier said than done sometimes, I realize. But it's possible. In my situation it was easy because it only took me reminding myself of ALL that God had forgiven me for. How could I then not forgive others?
So in conclusion, if you desire growth and greatness....well then pull up your boot straps and get ready. Because you are going to encounter failure along the way. That failure does not have to stop you or define you. Your response to that failure is EVERYTHING. Your actions need to be intentional or else you will succumb to defeat and discouragement. Don't quit. Don't throw in the towel. Find the fighter within you and get back in it and determine that nothing will stop you. A client of mine sent me this beautiful quote today and I will end this post with it......
"Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you." -L.R. Knost
Speaking of failure....check out my new podcast! Haha! It's called Beautifully Restored and it's a podcast all about using your setbacks and failures for success. This podcast is a perfect example of how failure is part of any ambitious endeavor. I have no doubt that I will both fail and have struggles as I seek to record new episodes each week and post them for the public ear to hear. But I'm determined that if this is something I'm supposed to do, I will keep going no matter what. So check it out! I have two episodes...the first is an introduction of what the podcast is, and the second is an interview with a good friend of Mike and I who has fought his way past lots of adversity and struggle to become who he is today. Here is the link to my podcast page and it has buttons that link to the podcast on each platform. Let me know what you think!