In 2015, I was let go from my job.
I’ll never forget the shock I felt in that initial moment, but also the sense of pure relief when I realized I never had to go back to that job ever again. Maybe this was just the push I needed to take my photography business full-time?
I was also in the midst of finishing grad school and decided to double up on accelerated 8-week courses. Even without a day job, my brain still spins thinking about how insane of a decision that was.
So, on top of writing two research papers per week, eight different discussion boards, dozens of chapters to read, let alone the daily eating and sleeping habits, I was working on growing my first business. (Not to mention trying to process the affects of suddenly being let go. Oh the negative mindset spirals that came with that!)
I stayed focused. I tried some new marketing. Mostly, I kept my head down and stayed busy. While I ended up graduating with a 4.0, I also ended up trading in my time to go back to another corporate job.
I felt like a failure. After all, it was my goal to be able to do what I loved full-time. And I couldn’t do it.
A lot happened those next three years. But through it all, that goal was still there. It wasn’t just something I wanted to do — it was this deep-rooted feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me that I had to do it.
I decided it was time. On November 5, 2018, I gave one-months notice to leave my job and pursue my businesses full-time.
Now, I would be completely lying if I told you that this fear of failing (again) didn’t sneak its way into my mind and haunt the shit out me. Oh no, it was fully there and popped up every single time something didn’t go quite as planned. Sometimes, it just stopped by to say hello and tried to throw my mindset a curve-ball.
“You know you could fail… just like last time.”
Sometimes, I swear, it sat on my shoulder, just like a cartoon. On one side, the light-side telling me to go after my dreams. On the other, the dark-side, reminding me that I couldn’t make it happen last time, so what’s different this time?
Seriously haunting my every thought.
I don’t really know. (Stay with me, here’s what I mean.)
In those three years, I continued to learn business strategies and tools to grow my business. I focused on my self-development to become more like, well, me. I found more people in my life to lean on as I grew. I continued to improve my business year after year.
I don’t know what will happen, but that’s the risk I’m willing to take. For over four years, it has been my goal to do what I love full-time and leave my corporate day job. Even after difficulties, failures, uncertainties, highs and lows, it’s still there.
I know how I’d like success to look. More importantly, I understand how I need to show up every day to keep moving forward on this journey. But, I don’t really know what will happen or why it’s any different than last time.
The point is, even if you feel like you’ve failed, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again, and again and again.
Even when you don’t believe yourself, write down what you want to believe. Keep your practices in place. Stay grateful and positive. Don’t allow yourself to spiral down the hole of comparison or throw a pity party. Identify your fears and doubts and move straight through them.
No matter how hard you work, the results may never turn out exactly as you thought. Also, remember that you are never going to be exactly where you want to be. There will always be new goals, new things you want to try and bigger dreams. Once you’ve achieved a goal, you’re already working toward the next goal. Instead, learn how to enjoy the ride. Take little moments to celebrate. Acknowledge the little wins. And enjoy! If you hate the process, how will you ever be happy with the achievement?
Even when things don’t turn out the way you planned — you get let go, your car doesn’t start, you get a bad review, or your kitchen sink overflows — it is just another part of your story. One day, you will be sharing it as part of your journey that eventually led to great success. Failures are only temporary feelings.
Every time you are afraid of failure, I want you to remember this. Have you failed once already? Good. You have successfully learned one way not to do it next time. And if you don’t try again, think about the people who it will affect:
If there’s something inside you telling you to go after the goal, do it!
Even if fear is sitting on your shoulder, whispering in your ear…