Image from Flickr Creative Commons *Deb Nystrom
If there is a person that tells you they don’t have any failures, I will show you a liar or someone that does absolutely nothing with their life. Anyone that gets anything done in their life will, have failures. If you are really taking on your life, you will have some massive failures. But, it is important to remember, the only real fail is failing to learn from your failures.
I am lucky, I will get down on myself about my failures for about a week, then not even think about them again. It is good to analyze them, but not let your failures control you or how you feel about yourself
So, I had to review through my planner and journal to see what I failed at and see where I had some of my best learning lessons for 2014. In the next few days there will be some articles about 2014 successes, and how to make 2015 your best year yet, as for now, we will focus on failures….
Here they are:
1. Choosing Business/Fundraising Partners
-Early in the year I began to plan a fundraiser to hike across Spain and raise money to complete a home for slave children in Ghana. We were then going to travel to Ghana to build the home. I had a handful of people that wanted to be a part of that project, and dozens of people that helped me fundraise when it was all said and done. There was one person whom I decided to work with on this project, who joined up with us in January of last year. This person came in making massive claims about how much money she was going to raise, how many people she was going to recruit, how she was going to throw fundraiser parties and her hot air went on and on, we will call her Kim. I worked with her for 3 months. During this time I had found a charity to work with, made contact with the founder of the charity, met the founder and established a relationship with her. I also arranged bi-weekly conference calls, (because Kim suggested it). During this time I had many conversations with Kim, many times she would just rant on about her marital and life problems. Being the nice guy that I am, I just let her rant, and tried to console her as much as possible. Finally nearing the start of the project Kim went MIA. I texted her, IM’ed her and tried to contact her multiple times. She ignored all of my attempts to communicate. About 2 weeks before the start of the project, Kim, who said she was going to raise $50,000 sent me a text saying she decided not to work with us. I replied “I am sorry to hear that, can we speak on the phone and discuss why?” She never answered back, and still hasn’t made contact with me since then.
This was a blow to me, because I also had communicated to the founder of the non-profit that we had this woman and her friends whom claimed they could raise $50,000. It was humiliating, when Kim went MIA after I had vouched for her to the founder of the non-profit. While I know I can never control someone else’s behavior, I can be accountable for bringing Kim into my life and this project. I misjudged her character and it was a lesson on my part. Actually, I bought her BS! See, I had known this woman for a few years and actually caught her forging a document that would have cost my friend about $3,500. I called Kim out on it, and she told me to not question her integrity. I lost most of the respect I had for her, but last year met her once again and she was excited out of her mind about what I was doing with my life, The One Effect and my projects. I told myself, everyone deserves a second chance, and it was a bad call on my part.
I do believe there is a grand plan to this all, and I was shown her true colors for a reason. Lesson learned on my part. The first time someone does you wrong, it is their fault. The second time someone does you wrong, it is your fault. Don’t let there be a third time.
2. Creating an additional $500/ month online
I set this goal because I thought I needed the money and I wasn’t clear on how I wanted to make the money. I just assumed that more money was the thing to do and an automatic goal to set. What I realized is that, more money isn’t always the goal, especially if the extra money robs you of wealth in other areas in your life.
It turned out, that I didn’t really need the money, and the easiest way I could have made the extra money wasn’t in alignment with my bigger goals. In the end, the effort wasn’t worth the payout.
3. Did not make it to Ghana
One of the main projects for The One Effect this year was to travel to Ghana to finish the construction of a home for slave children. We raised the money for this project and planned to travel there in this past Aug. To get a visa to travel to Ghana, you must apply within 3 months of your trip. If you are abroad, you have to mail your passport back to the US Embassy to get a visa. I did this. When my passport got mailed back to Spain, it was sent uncertified and got lost in the Spanish mail system. It came 2.5 weeks late and arrived when the Ghana trip was halfway over. I was mad for about 2 days, and realized some important lessons to apply to my life. 1. Having only one passport limited my freedom while being abroad. If you travel abroad much 2 passports should be a minimum whether of your own country or a 2nd passport from another country. 2. When you work really hard on something and it doesn’t turn out the way you planned, it is flat out happening for a grander purpose. I am sure if I made it the Ghana trip, the plane would have crashed, or I would have gotten kidnapped by terrorists, or I would have been riding on a bus and it would have drove off a cliff. This is the only logical explanation :):). The truth is, I still don’t know why it worked out the way that it did, but there was a group of people that had a life changing trip to Ghana, and some ex-slave children that are getting a home to live in and I am trusting that it all worked out perfectly!
4. Embezzlement from my Investment Banker
This year, I was informed that my investment account was being handled by a crook who stole millions from his clients. In April, I received an email saying that the man who founded my retirement accounts had been stealing millions from his clients for years. This affected over 5,000 clients in over a 15 year time period. The account was moved into receivership and could not be accessed. It still cannot be accessed and we don’t know when we will be able to move or reinvest the money that is left. This man, I had met, and in fact he was once my teacher. I was referred to this man and his company by good friends I trusted. I also referred some of my family to this man. He appeared to be a reputable man who belonged to a reputable church. Again, my confidence in character judgements were crushed.
Lesson learned….don’t let the actions of others hold you back. Even if they steal thousands of dollars from you and your family. You have to keep on, keepin’ on. This was also an important lesson on not letting external circumstances turn you into a victim. It would be so easy to claim that we were victimized by this man, that the world is becoming a worse place due to people like him, to complain to everyone about the evil actions that this man took against us, to let this get us down, and gripe to anyone that would listen. But, I refuse to do any of that. I believe that all things will come back to you in this life. I believe that the good that one does, or the bad that one does will come back onto that person in one way or another, and I choose to trust in that. I have better things to do with my life than to blame others for what is happening in the world. I have my own dreams to accomplish and if I am complaining about people that steal those dreams away from others, then I would be stealing away my own energy to create something good in this life.
Image from Flickr Creative Commons *BK
5. Missed the World Series with my Dad
Freedom is one of my most important values. For years, I unconsciously eliminated anything that took away my freedom. This is why I began to work online and living in multiple places abroad. When I realized I couldn’t go to Ghana, I realized my freedom was limited due to passport and visa issues. I also began to work to change this process. As I was working to change this, my freedom was limited again for a few months by having to stay in Europe. When my favorite baseball team went to the World Series and my father landed tickets, I couldn’t go without risking one dream for another. It was a hard blow for me, because I have committed my life to living the life of my dreams and helping others do the same. I then had to tell one of the most important people in my life that I couldn’t be there to realize a dream of his own. This really hurt me. Especially, since it had been 29 years since our team had made it to the World Series and might be another 29 years before it happens again. This was another eye opener about how much freedom I actually had, and where I needed to create more.
6. Many, many, many daily, weekly and monthly goals.
There are dozens and dozens of daily, weekly and monthly goals that I completely flopped on. From missing many workouts, fudging on health plans, balking when I saw a pretty girl I wanted to ask out, sleeping in instead of getting up, skipping working on The One Effect to do whatever, spending money instead of saving it…..and the list goes on and on. For the day or the week that I would fail on these goals, I would beat myself up (as we all do) but always reminded myself that tomorrow was a new day and everything can always start over fresh with a new day. Sometimes, I would not do anything I planned on for a day, I would always remember to go through my gratitude list at night before bed. Many of us beat ourselves up even though we have hundreds of things to be thankful for. There are people all over the world that have everything they need for a completely happy and fulfilling life, but will consistently beat themselves up because their day, week, month, year did not go perfectly as planned. Remember to keep gratitude in your life and practice it often. Gratitude is where is all begins for a better way to live.
There were tons of other failures and I honestly hope there will be many more to come in 2015. Failure always means there is progress. John F. Kennedy said, “Those that never dare to fail greatly, will never succeed greatly.”
Your failures are nothing but blessings in disguise.
Image from Flickr Creative Commons *Gareth Williams
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