Ahh, The Sweet Smell of Failure

By Martha O’Regan

No, that isn’t a misprint. Don’t you just love failure? I mean, what greater feedback for what not to do next time could you ask for? And to think, we, unknowingly at the time, created each one of them all by ourselves for our personal growth and evolution — how cool is that? The older we get, the more obvious it becomes how we have created a lot of experiences to teach us what we don’t want so we can know what we do want all in an effort to find the necessary balance to living a life of joy and abundance. This applies to relationships, health, careers, hobbies, homes, etc.

In our culture, people are measured by their successes by how hard they worked on a particular project or how long they stayed at the office to reach that important deadline or how much money they made with an invention or investment or what family they were born or married into.

What if we could personally measure ourselves on a daily basis by our “failures” — or as my family refers to them “ooops, human moments” — to allow more grace and ease in navigating our lives? Missing that important phone call while at your child’s ballgame might be considered a failure in the eyes of your boss, but a huge success in the eyes of your child.  Still, our tendency is to immediately go into the upset of the situation with, “Hh no, I’m going to get fired,” or “I am such a loser,” or other yucky thoughts that weigh us down.  Instead, trust that there is a reason why it happened and stay confident that there is a solution in there somewhere and keep moving forward.

Many moons ago, I assisted in the development and operation of an exclusive island resort in the Florida Keys that was only accessible by boat.  Water and power were delivered from the mainland via three and a half miles of power poles where PVC pipe was run along the very shallow flats below. As manager, my job was to make sure all services stayed up and running for the hotel and restaurant. Our unique variables resulted in constant crisis management that would often send me right over the edge and straight to the owner with all of the “problems.” Every single time he would calmly say, “Martha, there are no problems, only opportunities for solutions,” to which I always wished I could reach across and choke him. But, I didn’t and to this day that statement is ingrained in me and now my children (sometimes with rolled eyes and grunts).

When you really consider it, all failure or crisis is a success in that it teaches you how not to do it next time. And, through a series of flops, you then gain a full recipe for future success or fulfillment, which is the subject of many self-help books out there. True, there are some experiences that we wished had never happened, that are difficult to see the lesson in the moment, but we tuck them away in the “ouch, that hurt” file, lick our wounds and move on. Months, years or decades later when faced again with a similar situation, we are able to access those archived files and maybe discover a solution with surprised ease or a foundation of courage that we didn’t even know we had.

So, if you are one of those who still drag around all those “learning experiences” like a heavy suitcase, take a moment to put the bag down, open it up, and lighten the load by seeing the gift that each of those human moments has brought you or taught you.  Since it is all energy, send it all back out to the cosmos, trusting the lessons will be there whenever you need them, then move forward with great gratitude. And, don’t forget the suitcase, now there is room for your success journey!

Live Well … Have Fun!

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