DO NOT Let Failure Affect Your Self Worth
“Success is failure turned inside out.”
I honestly wish I knew who wrote this so I could thank him for giving me a guide to what success looks like. I was a freshman in high school when I read this quote and it stayed with me, not only stayed with me … but it changed my life. It was so clear, things can really be that simple!
Whoever wrote this must have known about a young girl who wanted to be successful but had no idea what success looked like. She thought her life was full of failures but in reality, the failures were really successes. It’s like holding a t-shirt in your hand and you’re about to put it on but than you realize it’s inside out. What do you do? Well, you fix it and you put your shirt on the correct way. Then you go about your business, never giving it a single thought.
My friend, it is that simple. All you must do is take the failures and turn them into successes. Why is it so hard for you to turn your failures into success? Because you’ve tied your self worth to both the success and the failure.
Here’s the problem. As humans, we give everything way more meaning than it should carry. For example, let’s say your marriage failed and you started blaming yourself. You ask: How come I did not see this or that? Shouldn’t I have known better? All the signs were there, so how could I have missed it? I’m such an idiot … and on and on … the madness goes. Pretty soon, you begin to feel badly about yourself. You start calling yourself dumb, idiot, loser, etc. You begin to think about all the people you let down and what they must think of you. Sound familiar?
What if you didn’t give it any meaning at all? What if a failed relationship was just a failed relationship? What if a bankruptcy was just a bankruptcy? What if losing your job was simply that. What if none of it had any deeper meaning at all?
Here’s what you should do to keep the failures in your life from affecting your self worth. First, you must stop taking everything personally. This was huge for me. When I stopped taking everything personally, and looking at them as “things that happen in a broader context” I could look at things more objectively. The failures aren’t personal. It’s all part of this thing call “life”. Everyone who takes on this human incarnation is going to have a certain level of failure as well as success.
The second thing to do is to look at the failure objectively. It has no meaning except for the meaning you give it. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with T. Harv. Ecker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. One of the things T. Harv. Ecker taught me was that nothing had any significant meaning at all. He constantly reminded me of this simple fact. It’s the same thing with failure and success. They have absolutely no meaning at all besides the meaning we give to them.
For a lot of people, having success means they’ve made something of themselves. they’ve proven to aunt so and so or their father that “I’m not a loser.” Here’s what I’ve learned. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, not even yourself. Just accept that your successes and failures are impersonal.
I meet millennials who seem to define themselves by their career. What they do for a living has become such a priority, they don’t even realize how closely they’ve attached their self worth to it. Today, the pressure to get married has been replaced with the pressure to become successful in your career as quickly as possible. Sure, it’s a good thing to be successful in your career, but you are not your career. There’s more to you than the initials behind your name or the title of your job. When you are at the bottom of the totem pole at work, you can’t translate that as to where you stand in life. This is where you are today. That’s not where you will be five years or ten years from now, so why does it matter so much?
Here’s a different take on it. You may lose your job, all your money, and all your earthly possessions, but you can never lose the ability within you that got you those things in the first place. And if you can remember that, then you can turn every failure into success. When I left Florida, I left with my Honda Civic, my clothes in the trunk, and a few toiletry items, and that’s all I had. My tribe was very upset because they felt like I had thrown away everything I had worked so hard to achieve. What they didn’t realize was that my ability to get those things was still within me.
I don’t know how I knew this but I knew that I could own another home. I knew that I could recreate an even better life than the life I’d had in Florida, and I did. I want you to awaken to the possibility that you can create better. You can always have better than you had before. The ability to get a great paying job is inside of you. The ability to start a new business after you’ve lost a business that you’ve worked hard at is all inside of you.
Last year I had the opportunity to interview Angela Martindale. She transforms lives from ordinary to extraordinary. She’s a highly sought-after nutritionist, and fitness coach to Hollywood moguls and models. She’s the creator of Chi Yoga Flow. The one thing that stuck with me during our interview is the fact that she lost everything after her divorce. Angela moved in with her parents with only a backpack crammed with a few personal items. This is after she had built a thriving business. But what she still possessed was the ability to create the results she had created before! Although her ex took her earthly possessions, he couldn’t take her ability to rebuild both her life and her business. Angela anchored herself down and rebuilt not just her life, but also her business, and today she is happier than ever. In the process, her work has truly transformed my life and the lives of many other women.
If you want to turn your failures into successes all you have to do is detach your self worth from both the failures and the successes. You’ve heard of child actors or other performers who committed suicide or became drug addicts and alcoholics because their career started to slide. This happens because their self worth was attached to their job. When your self worth is not attached to your job, your career, or your bank account, you are free to turn your failures into successes. The next time you find yourself down, just remember Angela’s story and remember what my mentor, T. Harv. Ecker said: “Nothing has meaning except the meaning you give it.” Stop giving your successes and failures meaning, just live your life. Enjoy the successes when they happen and when you fall down, just get back up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game.