Whether it was in my romantic relationships, friendships, school or business, I used to have a very interesting relationship with failure. I thought that because I had failed so many times and experienced the consequences, cost and horrible feelings associated with it, I was deserving of success. I figured that this was the secret; that my failures were just a form of “paying my dues.” The universe was merely priming me for proving everyone wrong in a massive way.
Success, happiness, confidence, wealth and power were always just around the corner.
And to me, it all made sense. I had gone through so much and collected so many failure tokens, a Purple Heart in the name of being powerful and achieving success was, to me, an assumption that was beyond reasonable at this point. The only thing that ever got me through it all was this belief that something massively better had to happen. Why? Because I had endured.
“Endurance” soon became a fancy term for falling victim to the horrible feelings associated with my relational, professional and scholastic failures.
Who doesn’t like hearing a story about the underdog winning, the ultimate victim turned victor, etc.?
The problem is, I think that today we’ve become addicted to sharing our failures as more of an emotional mastrabatory contrast to acquired successes, than as a tool to establish credentials on how to overcome it and reclaim power.
One of my favorite writers and innovators, James Altucher writes, “Lately, we’ve been living in the Golden Age of Failure Porn. Everyone wants to share their story. Everyone wants to ‘fail forward’.”
I don’t need to share my entire story to uncover the secret of overcoming failure and reclaiming power, but I will share some of my credentials.
Here’s the secret (that I’ve learned the hard way), about failure:
Failure of any kind is not a right of passage, a badge of honor, nor is it a precursor to success or anything good. It sucks. It’s the worst thing ever. It makes you feel sick, powerless, worthless, hopeless and suicidal – emotionally, spiritually and in some cases, physically. There’s nothing glamorous about it and it will never be a sign of anything better around the bend.
The Secret: Failure is not a “symptom” of success. It’s a failure. Period.
Failure and powerlessness go hand in hand. As the volume of my failures and suffering increased, the level of power I felt that I had, exponentially decreased.
Because of this, I dated powerful men and racked up celebrity friends in hope that I would be viewed as powerful by association. It never worked. I was only viewed at best, as a doormat; a people pleasing sheep in a game of follow the follower.
Today, I have a lot of celebrity clients and yes, I’m still attracted to powerful men and powerful people in general but there’s a difference…
I’m attracted to people who are available, vulnerable, honest, empathetic and unapologetic in their ambition. To me, that’s powerful. This has nothing to do with money in the bank, I could care less. Money comes and goes. I’m just no longer attracted to people who abuse their power – whether it be relationally, emotionally, financially, psychologically or in business.
I no longer abuse my innate power/instinct by allowing it to get suppressed by those who feel just as powerless. You will always attract what you exude.