On the 5th of March 2015, I launched my collaborative book project to the world. I had curated a project that brought together 26 other incredible people from across 5 continents and we were all speaking about one thing: How we had each failed or had failings that got in the way of us being the best versions of ourselves.
It’s funny that whenever I spoke about creating a book that not only looks at failure but holds it up as being pivotal to success, I got very puzzled expressions and worried filled questions. All echoing the sentiments of why not focus on something successful or have you considered writing on how to be better, blah! Blah!
So let me get into the ‘why’ behind this book. I had been thinking about how we seem to be living in a time of instant success, instant fame, youtube famers and reality TV stars’ 24/7 revealing of their perfect lives, thanks to all forms of social media. I felt that this case of instantness is creating a notion that failure is something to be ashamed of and hide. If you had less than ‘post worthy’ success the first time you attempted anything, you failed and sucked at life. To me, it seemed like the world we live in today would have us believe that failure is the antithesis to success. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Our failure – no matter where it is in our lives – is the precursor to success. It says to the world we, you, me are trying! We are getting into the mix of things and coming up dirty and yet we are still ready to jump back in and try again.
Ok, that is enough of my soapbox moment. I came up with this book idea holding two intentions in place. One – to shine the light on the fact that failure happens not just to a select few. No, it’s not just you. And, two – to show that failure leads to amazing discoveries that have the possibility to change our lives and the lives of others. I thought about people we call great and high achievers, people who we hold in high esteem of having achieved great things. The one thing they all had in common regardless of who they are, their field of expertise or gender, race or age. They all belong to an exclusive club of spectacular failures. They have all failed not once or twice and yet they got up and created immense success in their fields and for some in new fields, I am talking about Edison, Einstein, Jordan, Jobs, Winfrey, Vera Wang and Gates. The book was to be a testimony to how the art of failing forward was coded into our DNA hence the cover of the book, showing that we naturally learn through the process of failure and recovery and while we were kids these attempts were celebrated and championed. I’ve never heard anyone saying to a child learning to walk. “ Hmm… you have tripped over your toes five times already, so I don’t think this walking lark is for you!”
No, the child is heralded as a champion for each step he or she takes, especially when they stumble and crash land on their tiny piney. So this was the raison d’etre for the book. This is my why behind bringing 26 other people across five continents to share their stories in a book entitled Born for this! The journey to success in life, love and business. To understand that failure happens, that we will do things in life that may not get us the result we first thought but we do get an outcome. Secondly, failure is not the result but our reaction to it determines what we see…Oh… and this is the true essence of the book: Failure only happens when we quit!
Have I mastered the art of failing forward and landing on my feet? No, and I don’t think it is a case of mastery, more of a life long relationship of learning and growing and learning how to see the situation for what it is truly away from the ego’s whispering and comparison sickness. And truth be told , I did not feel very successful after launching the book, after the hive of cross continently activities. What most people did not know is that I was in tears as the day drew to a close. I was not celebrating that the high ranking the book had received in two separate categories on Amazon but I was mourning the fact that the book had not become a bestseller. By not reaching the bestseller mark, I had let myself as well as my co-authors down. I felt ashamed and embarrassed as well as the ‘not-good-enough’ feelings that were the essence of one of my chapters. I was plagued with all of these feelings and sensations again. I forgot the two basic recipes for beating back the failure feelings. Not comparing my unique offerings to the world with that of someone else. Comparison disease is what stops us in our tracks and robs us of seeing the value of what we have done and who we are. I forgot to see the bigger picture that the book being published was a testament to the completion of the idea. The vision was now real, and I forgot to celebrate the many positives because I was focused on the wrong thing. So, if you want to discover stories about how people fail forward and the lessons they learned to change their lives and the lessons I am still using today take a look at www.bornforthisjourney.com
I love it! I think your book is very much needed. So often we get discouraged by failures and setbacks. We think somehow successful people were meant to be successful. But your book makes it all real, that we are not alone. All we have to do is be persistent and keep the desire on fire! Mediocrity be gone!! Dreams come hither! 🙂 Great article!