okay, my turn…

failure is always an option - linocutboy

when it comes to my own thinking on success, i fall somewhere between lori’s “i’ve always thought of myself as a success” and megan’s “how am i successful right now?”

i’ve got lots of confidence – can you tell? – and a propensity for living in the moment. in fact, failure often feels like success to me. case in point, the only reason i’m doing this job is because of abject failure.

my failures:

  • i failed to attend graduate school, despite a full ride to a fantastic school, because i was scared and didn’t know what i would do with an m.a. in religion.
  • then i failed to find a job that wasn’t in retail.
  • then i failed to get the promotion that i was trained & designated for – although, that might have had something to do with me being 9 months pregnant at the interview.

but even before that final failure came to pass, i was calculating ways to work from home, to land a non-profit job, to earn money from writing. and when that phone call came that i was denied the promotion, as quickly as my heart sank, i was right back to scheming and dreaming.

see, i almost never let even the possibility of failure get me down. there’s always something else.

linocutboy - successful artist print

out of that failure, i created this life for myself. a life where i get to spend the days with my daughter and the nights typing away at the keyboard. a life that allows me to explore my true passions: writing, beautiful things, advocacy. a life that allows me to succeed at my own pace: fast and faster.

but truly, the best part of my job is that my success is your success. i see my ultimate mission – my ultimate success – as promoting your work and expanding this movement towards indie {mindful} thinking & buying. that mission pretty much encompasses everything i’ve ever been good at. and i’m so thankful that you’ve helped me succeed thus far.

so – what “failures” in your life have lead ultimately to success?

{prints by linocutboy via etsy}

14 thoughts on “okay, my turn…

  1. Thank you Tara for a wonderful week of inspirational stories. I so related to your guest stories and especially your own. I’m having great fun following your adventure this year and continue to look forward to ‘what’s next’!

  2. This post couldn’t have come at a better time in my life! I struggle every day with knowing where to start, justifying my zero-as-of-yet income, balancing my home-work life and feeling like I’m not wasting my (pretty amazing) art school education.

    The failures I feel have led me to this point:

    ยท Leaving a well-paying, crappy job to finish my art degree only to hate every job I had after graduation. (And leaving every job, too.) This was partly because I worked for people who 1. didn’t understand what I did and I felt under appreciated, 2. I worked for small businesses that had zero room for long-term growth and 3. I felt like I had sold out, never creating anything that I felt truly proud of.

    So I quit. Perfectionists have a hard time learning to be quitters. And I was a quitter. And it was sort of miserable in the beginning, but I was infinitely more miserable taking a paycheck doing what I didn’t want to be doing, in an atmosphere where I felt invisible. With the support of my amazing (Graphic Designer) husband, I bit the bullet and am venturing out on my own as a designer and creator of the handmade and supplier of ecologically-responsible goods. Even though I’m in the early, completely stressful beginning stages of business ownership (and marriage), where a 15-hour day for nothing is becoming the norm, I’m happy knowing that the hard work I put in now is work I believe in and reflects my own philosophies.

    Right now, I’m OK with the idea that failure is an option and it’s really going to be OK either way. Failure has forced me to think out of the box and reinvent my future…and if I fail at that? Then I keep trying. Everything worth having is worth trying for!

  3. Thanks Tara for such a great series of personal stories about success. I am guilty of dismissing success and focusing on my failures, feeling broken rather than strong. I know my failures have made me who I am – definitely humbler, more independent, open to new opportunities, and more focused on my real priorities. Having lost my full-time job last year, I know this is a rare opportunity for me to stretch myself and try to make a living in a more unconventional way. My fears still rise up and declare it all a failure, but I control what I do every day, every fascinating, expanding, stimulating day.

  4. Wow, great post! Reinventing yourself is your revival mode. I’ve been there too. I find if I don’t adapt to change, I will die quickly (fail), and in the face of my competitors who I sometimes measure myself against. Very inspiring, and I thank you for the honesty.

  5. I really needed this today! My failure to find a job NOT in retail led me to start my own jewelry design business so I could work from home & be a full time mom. Whenever I start to think FAILURE & that my business isn’t where I think it should be I start looking for a new job…I fail to find one every time because I am right where God wants me to be, even if it scary & uncomfortable at times! Thank you for sharing Tara, I needed that reminder today!

  6. Love this post. I think my biggest ‘failure’ to some is that I have always followed my heart, and in that, I’ve taken the lesser travelled roads that most certainly didn’t lead to ‘success’ (i.e. money, fame, ‘American Dream’). My husband and I have consistently chosen a life in ministry, serving others as much as we can. As a family we make God-centered choices instead of the popular ones. We don’t measure up to a lot of what friends and family think we should be doing, but there is so much love and SUCCESS by our own standards that that rarely gets us down. We are living the dream, as defined by us! Thanks for your honesty!

  7. tremendous angle and perspective!! i feel like the mini-failures i had in trying to meet all 4 of my basic business needs simultaneously were always a great source of propulsion to go in new directions…doing things i never would’ve considered out of the clear blue.

  8. You are such an inspiration Tara. Right now I’m feeling very discouraged with my business, or lack there of. I know I need to keep going and focus on what I need to do to get me the success I want. Thank you!

  9. Rose Hughes, my creative mentor, suggested your blog. I really liked the first thing I read about success and failure. I can remember sitting outside the Huntington Library a lifetime ago, with my student reader’s pass and feeling panic that I didn’t belong there and wasn’t worthy. It took me an hour to get up the courage to enter and begin reading the ancient books. Initial failure – final success.

  10. Thanks Tara! People thought I was a failure when I left my curator job in a big city to come home to an uncertain future and switch careers. The good news is that I am happier than I ever was in that life I thought I was meant to live.

    PS I have an MA in Women’s Studies. Now, what do you do with that degree!?! lol

  11. i wish i could say that i’m a success, but i’m still in the process of building my business — doing something that is similar to what you’re doing, which is working for yourself and helping others. i agree with “your success is my success” which is what i am doing with my virtual business support business. My site is at my name http://www.susancabezas.com if you’re curious. I also am working on my creative side with suelegance which is definitely fun too, but running 2 blogs can be pretty difficult. but i am hoping to make it work and hoping one day i can say that i’m truly successful!

  12. So much of my life has been this way.

    Years back I failed to complete my professional dance training in NYC due to an injury and went on to create a career as a professional artist & calligrapher.

    When my regular practice of going out salsa dancing failed due to another injury, I spent a year dancing in the air at a circus school!

    When my passion for growing my wedding art & design business bigger failed, I created an online business, a blog, an online course & community to help artists and creatives bust the starving artist mindset and truly thrive, and got back to making art just for me!

    Everything leads to something, and sometimes the worst stuff leads to the most wonderful stuff. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *