There’s no better education than experience and real life. Once you realize this, you are unstoppable!
Make no mistake about it, my life is a mess. But in the end, I believe it’s going to be a good mess. Why do I say that?
I’ve failed in business, in relationships, in finances, in health, you name it. I’ve had setbacks in so many ways because of decisions I’ve made and have faced many consequences as a result.
If you follow any of my writings, you’ve heard some of my stories of coming down to my last dollar. Or, how losing my business made me feel less than a man, but none of those defines me. It’s what I took from all of my situations, learned how to keep going amidst the obstacles, and create the desired future I wanted that’s not in any way dictated by my past.
In the many years of failures and shortcomings, I’ve found eight things that men typically have to face when they have a setback, as well as how I’ve learned to counter them.
I’ve had to face each one of these and decide whether or not it was going to run my life at any given point in time. The moment I decided to own my choices is the moment I knew that my attitude. And to respond in a certain way is what Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor calls, “the last of human freedoms.”
1. Public Shame. No one wants to be seen as a failure, and it doesn’t help when there are mean spirits that want to evoke your humility putting your character to the test. Don’t fall into this trap. Everyone that pins you down has their unrevealed skeleton. See your setbacks as now preparing you for the next season of triumph.
2. Internal Guilt. When you go through these failures, you might start feeling or knowing that it’s your entire fault and when others chime in to affirm that, your guilt increases. Know that yes, you have to take ownership of your circumstance, but there is no fault, there is only an opportunity to make things better and keep progressing.
3. Depression. Failure can take you down the road of lost hope, especially if you’ve lost so much in your attempts to finally succeed. Use this opportunity to surround yourself with positive stuff, particularly people who can lift you up and encourage you to keep going.
4. Unhealthy Habits. When you’re in a dark hole, it’s easy to succumb to anything that’s comfortable and will give off the illusion of safety. Be intentional about increasing healthy habits, like exercise, which does nothing but help your success.
5. Suppression. This is probably the most painful thing of all for me, as it counters everything I stand for… Freedom. To lose my freedoms, to feel trapped is very debilitating, and failure can bring you to this state quickly. You have to know, that you are more than your situation.
6. Loss of Control. When things don’t turn out the way you expected, you feel like you have no power. Something is running your ship, or something else just beat you to the finish line. This is your opportunity to embrace your posture and look that failure in the eyes commanding your authority over the situation.
7. Regret. I live by the mantra of “no regrets”, and it helps me not fear my choices as I’m stepping forward with daily decisions. When you fail, it’s naturally easy to regret what you’ve done wrong. What we don’t realize is that your “wrong” is the “right” that gets you to where you are now and will be.
8. Complaining and Pointing. We all process things differently and in different orders, but this is a natural thing for people to fall into. However, I’ve found that the faster we can own our faults the faster we’ll get to the next solution.
Yes, these are tough, but the past is all valuable. Every failure and every success have trained you at the school of Hard-Knox. There’s no better education than experience and real life. Once you realize this, you are unstoppable! You’ll celebrate the success of other’s more readily and lift up those in their failed attempts.
You’ll never have anything to whine about, because you realize that you are the keeper of your response to every given situation, and because of that you can alter your outcomes in powerful ways!
My failed experiences have taught me much, and yours can teach you as well. Now, I invite you to take what you’ve learned as preparation and start creating the life that you were meant to live!
Photo: Flickr/ Arun Venkatesan