Photography by Tanya Nager
I had a dream, and I decided to go after it. I did my research, got clear inside, and on New Year’s morning a couple of years ago I started working. This wasn’t some weeklong resolution that would putter out and die—it was a lifelong goal, and I was motivated to see it through to completion. I’d been preparing for this moment for years—studying, honing the proper skills, and creating the financial stability to make it a reality.
Leading up to my fateful launch, I prepared by taking the advice of several of my self-help heroes. I knew what my “bliss” was and was ready to “follow it” as Joseph Campbell advised. I created my own “purple cow” as Seth Godin smartly suggested. Taking the advice of my long-time guru Louise Hay, I cleared emotional blocks and limiting beliefs. I organized my office and created project lists with help from the “getting things done” guy David Allen… The list went on. I stopped reading the books and started applying them. And it worked, sort of…
I finished the project in a year’s time, after devoting a minimum of six hours per week (sometimes many more than that) until it was complete. I felt proud of the well-honed and stylized book proposal I’d created. I landed one of the best agents in the business and things seemed as if they were working out. Everyone I showed it to thought it was like nothing they’d seen before, and we all thought it was going to make a big splash.
It did. It garnered a ton of interest when my agent went out with it, but a week went by and then a month. Then two… There didn’t seem to be any serious offers. My “out-of-the-box” idea seemed to be a bit too “out-of-the-box.” Wait a minute—did they just call my cow too purple?
I was devastated. How could this have happened? I followed all of the “rules,” did everything “right.” I visualized, prayed, lit candles and sent all of the “good energy” I could muster out into the universe. Not only that, but I worked my butt off. I spent hours in a chair, hundreds of dollars and countless moments of my life on this project. What’s up, The Secret? Got to say, it feels like you left me hanging…
After moping around for two weeks I had an “aha moment” as Oprah likes to call them. I realized that my biggest fear had happened: I was a big fat failure! You know what? Failure wasn’t all that bad. My life continued on, friends stayed friends, work stayed steady. Failure wasn’t even close to the awfulness I’d expected. In fact, I felt surprisingly better than I ever had. I faced failure straight on, and it held no power over me anymore.
I’ve never felt lighter or more creative than I do now. I am continuing to move forward with my dream, and I’ve started two new projects. I feel like it’s just a matter of time until one of them ignites, and I know I have nothing to lose if they don’t. After all, the worst thing that can happen is that I experience failure again, which I’ve learned is nothing compared to the regret of being too afraid to try.
That’s why my new motto is, “Fail fast!” If something doesn’t work, I try to get it out of the way as quickly as possible so I can try something else. Something along the way is bound succeed. It’s simply a matter of odds, practice, and not letting a little thing like “failure” stand in the way.
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