We don’t often think of failure as beautiful. But if we look past our fears and insecurities and plug into who we really are, failure becomes a beautiful teacher who provides us with the opportunity to tap into the greatest parts of ourselves as we learn and grow.
Last month, I launched my very first online class. I knew what I would be offering and what I wanted those who participated to take away from the experience.
I had a plan for the launch and a sales page in place. I even managed to put together a bloopers reel! I was nervous and excited and learning a tremendous amount about how to launch a new product or service.
But as the start date for the class drew near, the excitement was replaced by fear.
Not a single person had signed up for my course.
But even more devastating than the act of failing was the fact that I felt like a failure.
I let my fears and insecurities define me and I started to doubt everything I know about myself and my business. I couldn’t even market my business well enough to fill a simple class! Who was I to help others with their marketing?
But failure is always a teacher.
Just as I was about to dive head first into my own personal pity party, a phone call from a friend interrupted my dysfunctional revelry. I sang my song of woe and then we got down to brass tacks. I made three critical decisions that day:
- I decided it was important for me to continue sending out my launch emails. I needed to finish the process; I needed to follow through on the plan.
- I decided that I was going to run the class regardless of whether anyone signed up. I would recruit a launch team to take the course in exchange for feedback, ideas and suggestions. This would allow me to improve the course and launch an even stronger version at a later date.
- I decided to keep going. I recommitted myself to my business and my marketing plan, to focusing on my clients, and to staying open to opportunities that would allow me to share my work with a larger audience.
Failure is always a teacher
Once I had made these decisions, I was able to look closer at what was working and what wasn’t working with the launch of my online class.
One thing was clear: I hadn’t been marketing consistently or for a long enough period of time to really build and connect with my audience. And, by launching the course publicly, I was failing to honor my own process.
I launched the course because I felt behind.
I kept seeing all of the classes and courses and workshops and programs being offered and felt like I wasn’t keeping up with the crowd.
I felt clumsy and slow. And I allowed my fears and insecurities to guide me instead of tapping into my inner wisdom and listening to what I know to be true.
What I know is that my process takes time. I like to revel in it so I can give the very best of myself.
I also know that I like to test my new products and services before offering them to the world. By skipping over that step, I failed to honor myself and my process. But I also failed to honor the people I am called to serve.
The truth is that the work I do is not about me. It isn’t about my fears or insecurities. It isn’t about whether I’m nimble and quick and brilliant and always coming up with something new and better and faster and stronger.
The work I do isn’t about me; it’s about being of service. And I lost sight of that in the rush to prove myself worthy.
And so, I took a step back and reconnected with my inner wisdom. I remembered what is at the very core of myself and my business and I plugged back in to my creativity and authenticity. Only then was I able to reach out for support and step back into service.
There is beauty in failing.
To fail requires that you try to do something new—something that you may or may not be able to do. To fail is to push yourself beyond what you know is possible and to experience something that is outside of your comfort zone. To fail is to grow, to experience and to live. To fail is beautiful.
When is the last time you failed to accomplish a goal you set for yourself? How did you handle it? What did you learn from that failure? I’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments