A (Partial) List of My Recent Failures

If you're failing, that means you're doing things right.

Posted Oct 12, 2018

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I feel like sometimes people think my days of failure are behind me — of course I can sit on my high horse and talk about how all of you should negotiate and ask for more and step up and do the work because I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore. (Or maybe that’s me just making things up in my head? See, I do it too!)

But anyway. I wanted to send this to you today so that I could tell you that I fail, too. Multiple times a day, in fact. But the reason that I DO continue to grow in my career constantly and make money and actually have the life I want is precisely because I don’t dwell on those failures or setbacks and keep moving on regardless.

I believe that success isn’t about never failing again. Success simply means that your hits are greater (in size or number) than your misses. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have misses though.

Here are some of mine from the last year (and well, yesterday):

* My first novel hasn’t sold. Yet. You know, the one that took seven years to write. (Still, I’m wrapping up the second one.)

* Last year, I broke my business. Because of things that were going on in my personal life, my self-worth was completely shattered, and I seem to have expressed it by massively dropping my rates in every area and letting people walk all over me. (I picked myself up, asked myself what I wanted my business to look like, hired mentors and coaches, and fixed it.)

* Nerves, massive nerves, before this week’s live coaching call in The Finishers to the point that I almost canceled it at the last minute. Who am I to sit here handing out advice? Why are these people trusting me with their careers anyway? Who do I think I am? What if they all figure out that I’m a fraud and leave in mass protest? (I didn’t cancel because I’ve learned to recognize sabotaging behaviors and no longer give in to them. The call was one of the best we’ve had so far with over a dozen people showing up live to chat!)

* Seven days in a row that I didn’t exercise last month because “I don’t feel like it.” (I scheduled my next session the moment I realized this and then showed up regardless of the resistance.)

* My editor and agent have told me that this novel that I’m currently writing is so of its time, so of the moment, and that they can’t wait to get their hands on it. So, of course, I spend a lot of time NOT WRITING IT. (Again, I recognized this behavior for the sabotage it was, fixed a daily writing time and just got on with it.)

* Stayed up until 3 in the morning even though I was exhausted at 11 pm. Why? Oh well, you see, I was binge watching interviews with successful writers on YouTube so that I could be inspired to work on my own novel. Which, of course, I couldn’t the next day because I was so tired. (I now have a scheduled bedtime and I force myself to get into bed, even if that means I lie there for two hours listening to an audiobook.)

I could go on and on. Here’s why none of the above “failures” bother me and more importantly, why they no longer have the power to hold me back:

1. I don’t dwell on my setbacks. (Unless I’m writing a post about them, of course.) 

2. I move past the setbacks quickly, by which I mean I take positive action to distance myself away from the cause of the setback.

3. The moment I recognize a sabotaging behavior or pattern, I fix it immediately.

4. I take the long-term view. A setback becomes a failure when you stop trying. I never stop trying.

Bottom line: I have setbacks all the time. I would argue that I have more failures than most people because I push myself outside of my comfort zone pretty much every day. But I don’t allow my failures to become full-blown crises and I don’t allow them to define me.

And that’s what adds up in the end.

Want to see a query letter that sold to the New York Times? You can download that (and 20 more) by clicking here. Or perhaps you’re looking to learn the secrets of a six-figure freelancing income? I asked successful freelancers what they’re doing right and they told me. You can read that report here.

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