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.
So, in light of sharing the secret to overcoming failure and reclaiming your power, I’ll establish a few of my credentials.
A lot of my family and friends don’t even know most of this…
- As a kid, I hated math (I still do). There’s something about it where my brain just completely shuts off. So, my well-intended parents got me 2 math tutors throughout middle and high school. There was always this intense focus on everything that needed improvement. If I had a kid today, I’d make sure they were proficient, but I wouldn’t stress over what they hated. I’d get them support and focus in on what they love. If I would have had 2 writing tutors, who knows where I’d be today? My schedule these days does not involve one quadratic equation or pre-calc of any kind. Why? because I f*cking hate math. I always have. In college, I majored in English to avoid having to take math. Bottom line: I either cheated my way through math classes or I had to figure out a way to supplement my failures through test re-takes that I’d be allowed to bring home and have my tutors unknowingly do for me. To this day, I don’t know how to manually divide. The subject matter of my college application essays all involved not letting math “define” me. It was such a joke. The math portion of my SAT score was so bad, I had to use my ACT results because I’m a good guesser. The ACT doesn’t penalize you for guessing.
- I don’t need to get into all of my relational failures. This blog is a product of all that.
- After graduating college a year and a quarter early, I wanted to get a head start and be the youngest person I knew with a master’s degree. I moved to Los Angeles to attend grad school at UCLA. I was done after 3 weeks. Unemployed and $82 in my checking account.
- I decided to get into the entertainment industry. I was convinced that once I was discovered and had “made it big,” it would make all the people who had underestimated me regret everything and beg for forgiveness.
- I tried to be an actress and failed miserably. Acting is all about listening. I was so concerned with how I looked, if I was saying the right lines and how I was coming across, I couldn’t even get into it. My looks were picked apart. The whole “auditioning/getting the part” thing was nothing more than me on a subconscious occupational hunt to replicate my personal life with men, friends, and to recreate a painful childhood dynamic in which I was never chosen nor enough. I needed to revisit the scene of the emotional crime through literal acting auditions. If I could conquer it, be chosen and get the part, it would invalidate the pain and insecurity that the f*cktards had caused. Validation seeking was at an all-time high.
- I never got one part and I never got picked up by one agent or manager. The guy who shot my headshots told me to get surgery for my small eyes and not to pursue acting anymore after 25.
- I got burnt out from auditioning. However, in my romantic relationsh*ts and friendsh*ts, I kept it going strong.
- I wrote and starred in 2 short films that went nowhere. They were denied by every festival (I charged a total of $1300 on my credit card for entry fees). I lied to family and friends and said that they got into a few.
- I raised a significant amount of money and wrote my first feature film. It was a romantic comedy. I was able to get a very successful and well known writer/producer to edit it for me. He said that he didn’t have the desire to read it past page 62. I think a part of him also enjoyed how unworthy I felt in his presence.
- We filmed 3/4 of the movie. A lot of things happened and it fell apart. It went nowhere. I had to delete all of my social media posts about this film, which was supposed to be my ticket to stardom. I was devastated. Family and friends who had the most allergic reaction to me actually writing a film and getting the money for it, were extremely “supportive” during my downfall. I lost everything – my emotional and physical health, money, relationships, my apartment and the part-time job I had as a hand model for jewelry.
- I wrote another screenplay and pitched 7 tv shows that were all centered around relationsh*ts and heartbreak. Nothing got picked up. They all sucked.
- Because I felt so powerless, I decided to start my own blog. I wanted my own little slice in the technological universe that I had complete control of. After one “outfit post,” I abandoned the project. I wanted to be as cool as all the fashion bloggers, but when it came to relationship advice and self help, I felt my reason for being.
- When I told anyone that I wanted to create a blog that was a west coast Carrie Bradshaw mixed with the fire that Zig Ziglar, Les Brown and Tony Robbins had ignited in me, people looked at me like I was crazy. They also thought the name Post Male Syndrome, was stupid. So, I sat for a few more months.
- I officially launched PMS. What did I have to lose? I was completely broke, in debt and Uber driving. My mother got diagnosed with cancer and her work did not deem her ill enough to work part time. I couldn’t help her and felt more powerless than ever. I mourned the death of the person she would never be again, every day, but I never gave up on this blog. I kept going because I had found my passion (28 months later, I’m now able to retire her).
- The first time I met Neil Strauss to work on a project regarding heartbreak and relationships, I had an anxiety attack and threw up in his bathroom after meeting his wife Ingrid. No one ever knew about the anxiety or the vomit. I had been Ingrid’s Uber driver 2 weeks prior. She was so kind and we got into the best conversation for over an hour driving to Malibu. I felt like such a failure and all around fake loser when I met them, trying to seem professional, put together and successful. My relationship with both Ingrid and Neil following that project was plagued with this underlying anxiety of being recognized and “found out.” I could never look Ingrid in the eye. It was hell.
As humans, if we feel severely powerless in one area of our lives, we’ll subconsciously over achieve, micro-manage and seek complete control over another. This is why some people HAVE TO have control over their diet, weight, exercise, the way they fold their towels, whatever it may be. I see this in entrepreneurship too because I used to embody it.
This is why getting intimidated by and allowing anyone to have power over you is so pointless. The fact that the other person has absolutely no problem with you feeling invalid due to their abuse of power, proves that they must feel so incredibly unhappy and powerless in a significant area of their life.
And a lot of the time, it’s not so obvious. It’s emotional powerlessness that’s hidden underneath superficial functionality. Don’t allow yourself to be anyone’s avenue of compensation.
Some people feel so powerless, the only way they get to feel a sense of authority, significance, accomplishment and value, is by being able to control your emotional weather.
So who really has the power here? The person who, at any time, knows she can walk away or the other person who is dependent on her emotional breakage/dependency on them for THEIR emotional survival?
Think about exactly how and at what moments in your life you feel powerless. Is it when you’re talking to certain people? Is it when you are in a specific environment or situation?
When you feel powerless, keep this in mind:
In life, you have to care… but not that much.
I always care to the point of cost. The second it starts costing me my health, sanity, happiness, spirit and soul, I fold.
And I don’t apologize nor feel bad for it. It’s called boundaries. It’s called staying on your white horse and speaking with your actions.
It’s how you build limitless power, self esteem and emotional backbone. Plain and simple.
I want to share with you the secret to overcoming failure and reclaiming your power, but before I do that, here are 4 sub-secrets that you need to know:
The Secret to Overcoming Failure & Reclaiming Your Power #1
Power is literally defined as “the ability to act.” Failure drains us of our ability to act because the pain, humiliation and suffering that comes with it, leaves us frozen in unmeltable ice. It puts a cap on what we believe we can overcome and achieve.
Failure is an experience; there’s no need to make it a definition. How you feel at this moment is not a result of what’s actually happening. It’s a result of how you’re interpreting it. And how you interpret it will always be based on pain that has shaped a belief system of who you are, what you’re worth and what you’re capable of.
That belief system started the moment conditions were put around love that should have been given to you unconditionally when you were a child. Avoidance will get you nowhere. Sometimes you have to feel every ounce of the pain that you’re feeling in order to remember what you deserve.
We neglect taking one hot minute to assess how we feel because we’re too wrapped up in what everyone around us is thinking.
The Secret to Overcoming Failure & Reclaiming Your Power #2
Two 4th of July’s ago, I was at a party that Neil Strauss, Ingrid and their adorable son, Tenn were at. After talking with Neil for a few minutes and getting tired of wondering if he could sense the unworthiness, anxiety and perspiration on my end, I ended up telling him how I met his wife.
I told him how broke I was and that I had been an Uber driver, not only to raise money for my business but to help my Mom and honestly… I was driving so I didn’t have to think. I needed to escape everything that at the time, I couldn’t emotionally handle. I told him how ashamed I had been every time I saw him and his wife. I told him about throwing up in his bathroom. Most importantly, I told him how my conversation with his wife, who didn’t have to be so kind, empathetic and genuinely interested in me, allowed me to make the decision that she would be my last Uber drive ever. And she was.
In that moment, for once I didn’t care what Neil thought. I just wanted to let him know how much of an impact his wife had on me and how lucky he is to have her as his best friend, his wife and the Mother of his son.
I saw an expression on his face that I wasn’t expecting. It looked almost like he was in awe. He immediately called Ingrid over and asked her if she recognized me. After I hinted at a conversation we had on that drive, she immediately smiled, shrieked and hugged me until I let go. You can garner people’s respect from accomplishments, yeah, but awe-struck appreciation, respect, gratitude and CONNECTION on an unfounded level will only come by way of doing the one thing that most can’t – being unafraid to own your story.
The secret to unlimited power is owning your narrative. Own your narrative completely. I always reference Eminem in his closing rap battle in 8 Mile, because he owned his narrative to such an extent, his opponent LITERALLY had nothing to say (watch here warning *contains the strongest language possible).
Owning your narrative allows you to realize that you’re emotionally immortal. And once you no longer have the fear of emotional death, you will become emotionally invincible. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever feel pain or get triggered. It just means that you won’t take up residence and an identity within your pain. You’ll no longer adopt your triggers as your truth.
People may not like you, but they will always respect that you owned your story. And without respect, wtf do you have? Nothing. The reason why Neil’s book is one of my favorite books of all time, is because of the extent to which he owns his Truth. This is why he’s so good at what he does. Today, I’m really happy to count Neil and Ingrid as friends. Friends who know about me and like me anyway.
The Secret to Overcoming Failure & Reclaiming Your Power #3
Think of your overall vision. True power is loving what you do and being able to provide value to the lives of others in a way that no one else on this planet can. A lot of my colleagues have told me that I give away too much for free here on the blog. They tell me how there are people charging thousands of dollars for the content of one of my posts. I personally don’t think I’ve even begun to give away what I have to give. I love writing these posts and getting to connect with you all. I love the fact that I have clients in 23 different contries. I love the fact that with every post I write, you all affirm that I was never alone in my thoughts, fears, insecurities and pain. I love that you love and support each other.
I’m also conscious of the fact that I’m running a business and have expenses, but I never take my focus off of my overall vision. Think of Google. Yes, Google has aspects that they charge for, but it’s mainly a FREE search engine with a current net worth of over $101.8 billion. The secret to success is never losing sight of the bigger picture by getting caught up in the minutia. Will I ever charge for my book, seminars, workshops, appearances, digital downloads, courses, etc.? Yes, of course I do and I will. However, I’ve taken the time to build such genuine trust and so much love with my audience, they know when the day comes where I charge for ANYthing, it’s going to be f*cking unbelievable. I’ve got my eye on a much bigger picture than nickel and diming the sh*t out of everything. I love what I do. All I want to do end suffering, heartbreak and destructive patterns that I know all too well, for as many people as I can.
I’m currently writing my book and the last thing I want is people writing reviews, saying that the book is just a bound version of my blog and not to waste your money. So, I’m taking a totally different approach with it. And the reinvention excites me. I love it. I’m not getting caught up in the little stuff because I’m too focused on the bigger picture.
The Secret to Overcoming Failure & Reclaiming Your Power #4
The little stuff will kill you. At any given time, I’ve got a lot of problems; things that aren’t going so great. There are always fires to put out and hundreds of emails, calls and texts to return. If I think about it, there are actually more fires in my life right now than there is rain. I don’t let it get to me though. I keep going. In fact, I’ve learned to enjoy it.
Because I no longer try to be a professional firefighter who can control, conquer and extinguish every little fire in my environment, I’m now able to enjoy the power that arises from knowing when to surrender to the fires. Like a racehorse, I’ve got blinders on. I’ve disabled my peripheral and stay in my own lane. Because of this, I have a very clear picture of my goals and overall vision. I don’t get jealous or compare myself to anyone anymore.
Most people (I used to be one of them), freak OUT over the little stuff. They have to put out every fire that I now let burn, before they can feel like the chance of rain is even a possibility. And because they avoid the bigger picture, fail to accept and can’t take chances, they end up inadvertently creating an everlasting drought – catastrophic failure that often leads to the deterioration of their health and wealth – both emotional and financial. We will ALL continue to fail, it’s just up to you how you want to interpret it. You can’t “respect” your failures to the point of allowing them to overpower, infiltrate and define who you are.
With all that being said, the secret to overcoming failure and having limitless power lies in not caring what anyone thinks. That’s the secret.
If you care at all about what people think, you become a self-imposed liability to your own destiny.
The level to which you care what other people think, will always be in direct proportion to the results that you claim to want and deserve.
I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. I don’t care what they think of my failures, successes or the way I live my life. That’s on me, not them. I care what I think. And at times, it can be really scary because it’s the most vulernarble place to be in. The opinions of others are no longer the mud that my emotional tires used to be stuck in.
The secret to limitless power lies in this kind of vulnerability.
And because I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m able to help and connect with people on a much deeper, more meaningful and effective level.
I’m no longer auditioning for anyone or anything. If I make a mistake, if I fail… I take responsibility and accountability. I don’t pitch a fit or give excuses anymore. And the freedom that has come with that (+ the quality of sleep), is priceless.
The secret: when you run out of f*ks to give about the one thing that will NEVER matter – the opinions of others – you can start EXECUTING and taking ACTION because you’re now in alignment with your truth, not their’s. And how is power defined again? Oh yeah, the ability to ACT.
And that my friends, is the secret that I’ve learned 🙂 Thank you all for being a part of this tribe. I’m in the process of putting together a huge (!!) fall giveaway as a thank you for your love and support.
BIG love to you. You got this.