“Life is not always about trying to fix something that’s broken. Sometimes, it’s about starting over and creating something better” – Unknown
Okay, so you blew it big time and you find yourself staring at the rest of your life like a deer in the headlights. You understand that quitting is not an option, but you’re unsure about what your next move should be. Or perhaps you have been stuck for a while already and you have been going through the motions. Those motions are now starting to feel like you’re on a treadmill, where you are experiencing the same emptiness, frustrations and grief, day in and day out. Quite frankly it’s finally getting old to you and you want a fresh start, but your confidence is shot and you actually find that you are second guessing yourself more frequently. Again, the dilemma is not your level of desire to start anew, but more importantly how to arrive at first base again after screwing up royally. This can be a pretty unsettling place to be, and if we’re not careful the comfort or ease of doing nothing will become a way of life and next thing you know, five to ten years will have passed you by.
I am definitely a man who is familiar with failure. From being a partner in a few businesses that didn’t work out, to being unsuccessfully married twice. There are a few other things that I could add to my list of failures, but I believe these two will suffice for the topic at hand. In each of these life altering events I suffered major setbacks, from my finances being hit hard to my normal positive outlook on life suddenly being transformed into experiencing daily bouts with depression. I also cannot fail to mention that my ego was badly bruised as well as my confidence for quite some time. So I lived in the shadows of these failures for a while, even though I knew better, defining myself by the outcomes and replaying what I could have done better and differently, all the while hampering with feelings of guilt because I not only let myself down, but many others as well. So to put it plainly, as one of my dear friends would say, ” I was a hot mess.” And unbeknownst to me, this season would not end quickly, and in some cases things would get much worse before they began to improve.
It is often said that time heals all wounds. Words cannot express how much I vehemently disagree with this statement. That’s like saying a boy becomes a man simply because he turns eighteen. If there was no learning, modeling or mentoring occurring at the same rate as his physical development, we will have a boy living in the frame of a man. How tragic and how common this is in today’s society.
So what is important during this season of what can be proclaimed as “darkness” is to rediscover yourself. Learn your propensities, weaknesses and the reasons you failed in the first place.
Acknowledge that you are the owner of your failure.
No one else can be blamed, even if you went into business with a poor business partner. That is still yours to own.
Take advantage of the dark period. This is a time for you to perfect your gift on a stage where no one is watching. If your issue is relational, get comfortable dating yourself before you get to know someone else prematurely. Learn who you are first. Learn why you fail in this area of your life and keep in mind that being without a life partner is not failure at all if you don’t mesh on the most important levels. Quit being so quick to take off your clothes and focus on removing layers of the heart and soul. Better results will come.
As I reflect on the many lessons I learned during this arduous journey of restoration, I realize failure itself can become a tool we can learn a tremendous amount from. The results of growth and doing the work will not manifest overnight and you must be willing to endure hardship, become humble and learn to listen, really listen. The words of wisdom will come from various places, like good friends and family, counselors, great books, and your faith, but you will not hear these words until you have come to a place of maturity, peace and resolve. What almost seems magical at times is when you can actually begin to give yourself good advice. Words that consider and discern the broad scope of a matter and execute a plan that is highly dependent on discipline, patience and the greater good, versus self-satisfaction, control or ignorance.
Metaphorically, I compare starting over to planting a new seed in the dirt. So what the last (seedling) idea, master plan or life long goal died prematurely. As long as you’re alive you have the right to hit the reset button, even if someone else hit it for you. Never stop believing in yourself.
Failure is never a stranger to successful people.
More than likely if you are not failing at something occasionally it probably means that you aren’t taking enough risk. That said, get out of your own way and dare to do something greater than you did last year, last week or even yesterday, even if you failed at it in the past. Today is a new day and nothing beats a failure like starting over.