What do these things have in common?
The client distraught at the collapse of her marriage after finding her husband of 4 years had been cheating for 3, sure she would be a single mother forever and ever, and her life was over. O.V.E.R. A short time later serendipitously meeting an old school friend, getting together, he as an eager co-parent, and happier than ever before. “It was all worth it to be as happy as I am now, I’d never have found out how great things could be if I hadn’t gone through that”.
The client who was sure that the eleventy-billionth restructure at the corporate she had devoted the last 12 year of her working life to would end in redundancy. Which it did. Handily just before Christmas. “The market is so tight I’ll never find anything, and Big Restructure Corp is all I know…this is a DISASTER”. She is already happy as a clam in a new role, in a medium sized company with a whole different perspective on people management and culture – she is relaxed, sleeping well, and loving her work in a way she had forgotten she ever could. “Best thing everrrrrrr!” she laughs.
The old family friend who got royally blindsided by his business partner embezzling the company funds behind his back. A young family of 4 to support he never saw it coming. Total financial destruction. Overnight. “I had no choice I just had to go and do this job that I honestly thought was beneath me. I would never have done that work before”. It turned out that the owners loved what he did so much they offered to fund a whole new business partnership that he ended up selling down the line for millions.
I could list dozens of these, and let’s be honest – you can too. A slew of personal anecdotes exists of someone “failing” cataclysmically, only to later snatch a much more prized victory from the jaws of defeat. What they “failed at” and left behind then becoming something they wouldn’t even want for themselves anymore.
The lesson in these familiar tales is that we tend to take the score too way early. That if you are in the grip of what seems like an unmitigated failure right now, to see that perhaps…just perhaps…it’s a foundation leading you to something way superior. You just can’t see it yet. Perhaps it’s not failure at all. Perhaps there was something you needed to learn there. Something you needed to let go of, in an albeit brutal fashion, to make way for something that will serve you better in the future.
Consider the possibility that failure is not failure at all. Maybe it’s just incomplete success in disguise. Doesn’t that feel better? Whether it’s in the career area, or the money area, or the relationship space, or owning your own home or the health and fitness place – whatever it may be for you – maybe you are not experiencing failure at all. You are just in the slightly messy transition phase of incomplete success. That’s all it is. Incomplete success.
So hold fast. Don’t call it too soon. You can’t hear singing. The fat lady hasn’t even started warming up yet.