GUEST POST: The only true failure is not being willing to fail
Just writing that word conjures up nasty sensations in my body.
I don’t even have to put it in context – failure at what? Well, actually my mind immediately knows where to go. Still, it only needs a moment to romp around my thoughts before my body begins to issue a cascade of awful reactions.
Disappointment begins to seep heavy through an aching chest. Shame dances melancholy across my face, long and heavy. Dread churns my stomach with nausea. Hopelessness just short circuits my entire cellular matrix, threatening to make me one lethargic, ice cream-processing, TV-watching burlap sack of couch potato defeat.
All this from just the thought of failure!
What a crock of perceptual BS!
I’m in major transition, professionally and personally, which basically means I’m experiencing major transition in every direction I look, inside and out.
For 5 years, I’ve put my hopes, dreams, my insight, passion and intense focus, into artistic projects that held tremendous promise to inspire and support millions of people across the globe in awakening to their own divine brilliance, and eventually, to reap great financial rewards.
After 5 years, whatever the reasons, my artists are barely known outside their enraptured fan base, despite performing on national TV and touring all over North America. Sure, we’ve inspired countless people around the globe with brilliant, conscious mainstream music, but judging by album sales, concert attendance, and youtube views, I can measure that group of inspired fans in the tens of thousands at most, certainly nowhere near the millions I hoped for. And I’ve made very little money with these projects; less than $40,000 total for 5 years work!!
Every external measure I thought would signal success has not come to pass. In fact, these artists have even given up (at least for now) creating the art I was so sure would ignite a worldwide sensation. Time’s up. Game over. We all lose.
By our culture’s common thinking, I’ve failed. I didn’t accomplish what I set out to.
It’s easy (and sooo tempting) to make disempowering stories about who I think I am as a result: unworthy, stupid, unattractive, incompetent, incapable, useless … unlovable. I could flog myself mercilessly or bathe in self-loathing, or perhaps I could just run back to mommy and let her bake me chocolate chip cookies while I work to stitch the bloody wounds oozing shredded remnants of my self-identity. Don’t think I haven’t seriously considered that; my mom makes amazing chocolate chip cookies.
Yes, these thoughts – and worse – have passed furious across the vast sky of my mind’s imagination, some like a Cat 5 hurricane.
But I know better.
During a conversation with insightful songwriter Ash Ruiz about a friend’s struggling music career, Ash said “the point of life is not to succeed in our careers or find our soul mate or do great things and inspire millions … no, the point is simply for us to wake up.”
Shortly afterwards, my brilliant “QUEST” Coach, Catherina, said “the only true failure is not being willing to fail.”
The external objectives I envisioned when beginning my work have not come to be.
But if the big game is really about waking up – and according to my artists, most ancient wisdom teachers and Oprah Winfrey, it IS about waking up to the truth of who we are: inspired, beautiful, remarkably delicious and already-whole children of the Universe – then as I look closer I begin to notice something else.
As I contemplate these 5 years which seem to culminate in failure, I start to see the outlines of a man open from the start – even if haunted by the thought of it – to potentially someday meet that failure.
Then I see a man who enthusiastically brought a group of talented musicians and their inspiring, transformational musical brilliance on a broad sweep across North America, deeply touching the lives of countless people. Perhaps we didn’t meet millions, but as in the story of the boy on the beach throwing stranded, dying starfish back into the ocean, one by one, I know that touching even one person makes a big difference. Because inside, I already know that life is so inter-connected that touching even one person ultimately means touching all of existence.
As Rumi said, we are so connected that the word “connected” doesn’t even make sense.
Now, from here, I can finally see the man whose open-heart, in the midst of no obvious measure of worldly success, deeply touched all of existence.
That’s right. Rather than simply seeing someone who failed to obtain externally measurable goals, I now see the bad-ass wild success of a human being who repeatedly said yes with an open, enthusiastic heart.
Sure, I can learn from failing to accomplish my goals. No doubt there’s lots of nutritional juice there, but I no longer need to connect such worldly “failure” to my value as a human being.
In fact, measured by how calmly I have learned to breathe during difficult times; by how I increasingly trust in Life to show the way; by my courage to live with complete, enduring uncertainty to follow my white rabbit dream; by my willingness to laugh at my own insane thoughts … measured in these ways, I’m successful beyond … well … beyond any measure.
Fascinating. It seems I just turned failure on its head and watched an absolute wealth of success tumble from its pockets.
Can you bring the light of awareness to your most recent failure and discover where you succeeded beyond measure?
Conscious Stardust. Former US Air Force Captain. Previously well-paid worldwide PR/Media Spokesperson for multi-million dollar human-energy science company. One-time Oprah Show Guest. Long-time swiss-army-knife manager for conscious-pop band HERE II HERE. Currently Leadership Council Member with Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment (GATEcommunity.org) and manager for emerging solo artist Ash Ruiz who’s music is here to remind the world of its own magnificence.
My life unfolds daily in the context of dancing with Magic!