Saturday, October 25, 2008

What if failure wasn't an option?

If you took failure completely out of the equation, how would your life be different? Would you go on a date; sky dive; try a new career; or maybe just go back to school? What would you do?

When we think of failure, we feel fear. Fear that the relationship might not work; fear that our parachute won't open; fear that we simply can't do that new career; or fear that we won't pass that college course.

The fear of the unknown is so powerful. It dictates every move we make. Our past experiences definitely play a part in our future choices. We're not born with fear, we learn it.

I stayed in a dysfunctional marriage for eleven years for numerous reasons. The initial reason was because divorce wasn't something anyone else had ever done in the history of my family! I'd be the first. I wondered how my family would feel, if they'd condemn me, if I'd be shunned. Then came the children. If I left my ex could I make it alone raising two little ones. I hadn't worked in several years and I knew I couldn't go back to my old career, so how was I going to support us? Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and we're forced to jump in, feet first, and battle that fear head on. That day for me was May 4th, 1994. That's the day I had decided that my children and I didn't deserve the life we had, regardless of the fear. Staying was much worse than leaving. So we left and never looked back.

It took me a long time to realize that I hadn't failed in my marriage, it just had a different outcome than what I had expected on the day that I said "I do".

I had gone from doing accounting prior to having the children, to working for a mortgage company when we went out on our own. I worked long hours, and my kids had to be in day care (something that I absolutely hated). So I decided to get my license in Mortgage Brokering. I took the course, passed the test with the State's highest score for that day of testing, and proudly received my license. I worked several more years with a mortgage company gaining all the knowledge I needed to start my own business. Finally, I had done it. I could work from home earning a full time income, and parent my children full time as well. I had it all. At least I had it all until about two years ago when the bottom fell out of the mortgage industry.

At first I thought I had failed in this industry, then I realized I hadn't failed at all. I simply accomplished all that I was supposed to during the fourteen years that I helped people achieve their dreams.

I'm now being thrust into a whole new life. I don't know what I'm going to do, or how my kids and I will even make it, but I have the faith that we can achieve whatever it is that we set our minds to.

The question that I now have for myself is: Why do I have to wait until I'm forced to make a change? Why can't I simply choose to not fear the unknown?

I guess you can only really fail if you choose not to try something. When you don't try, you can't succeed. But, when you do try you have to realize that although the outcome may be different than you originally expected, you've not failed at whatever it was. It ends up exactly the way it was supposed to end.

I'm probably not going to change any time soon, but I'm sure as heck going to try to! I'm tired living my life afraid of the "what ifs", because that's not really living! Though I've had a few relationships that haven't worked out as I had hoped in the past (haven't we all? LOL), that doesn't mean that the next won't be my forever. I've had a few careers that have died, but the next one, it may just end up being my dream job! The future is coming, why not face it without fear?

This blog segway's (sp?) nicely into Jim's question: "Why do I blog"? I blog to work out my problems; I blog to share my inner most feelings; and I blog so that future generations will know not only know my shell, but they'll know my heart. Why do I respond to blogs? Well, because I have an opinion, an opinion that matters - right, wrong or indifferent.

Failure really is not option as long as you try something new, and believe in yourself!


Tommy said...

Very well said. We must risk the unknown and not fear failure. I like your thought that failure is not necessarily a failure but is most likely things happening as they are supposed to happen. We don't have to like it but we must accept it.

Angie ^i^ said...

Tommy, I really don't think you can fail so long as you've tried your best! =)

Country Comes To Town said...

Angie that is a terrific post and I think you are well on your way to success! I know that the real estate market has thrown you for a loop down in Florida but I really admire your determination and drive to look up and say I will overcome these obstacles. I once bought a cassette tape series by Dale Carneige called "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living." It's an amazing book but even better audio series. If you'll send me your address, I'll send you a copy. It made a difference in my life and I never worry about things like I did before hearing the series. Worrying only makes the problem worse!

Sue said...

Thanks for sharing this, Angie. I believe it was Winston Churchill who said "Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts".

I can identify with so much of what you've said here. My timeline and circumstances are different, but the major points are the same: A failed marriage which I ended, fears of upsetting my family and of course the children, first a flourishing career and now one that's in the tank. I identify with everything you said from the feelings of failure to the eventual realization that you really haven't failed after all. I can't say it any better than you did - you took the words right out of my mouth.

I too am very uncertain about my future, but have learned to go from being an uber-planner to pretty much living day to day and doing the best I can a day at a time. You say you have faith that you and kids can do what you set your mind to - and you will - by breaking the changes down into baby steps. Have a plan, but don't obsess on it and stress about where you'll be 5 or 10 years down the road. Life guarantees you nothing (as you will know) so it makes no sense to worry too terribly much.

Why can't you simply choose not to fear the unknown? Because you're human, dear. Everyone fears the unknown and it's doubly intimidating when you're facing it without a partner. I'm scared, too, but what the hell. We're not going to die or starve and the kids will still love us. Things will work out for you in their own unique way, just as they have to this point in your life.

Angie ^i^ said...

Jim ~ My Grandpa used to say that the things we worry most about never happen, so why worry? I've worked hard to improve me over the past year. I had slipped into being a person who was foreign to me and only I could pull myself back out again (I think you probably know what I am referring to). I would really appreciate hearing that audio series! I'm all for learning something that will make yet another positive difference in my life!

Angie ^i^ said...

Sue, I think someone needs to start writing her own blogs! *smile*

Our lives are hard right now, there's no doubt about it! We can only hope and pray that tomorrow will be brighter!! Thank you for sharing that your life very much mirrors my own. I, like you, love hearing what has molded my friends into the individuals I'm getting to know.

I wish I didn't fear the unknown! Human or not, I'm trying to hard to stop most negativity!

If we look outside and see sunshine, even on a rainy day, we're ahead of the crowd!!

OweMe1Cannoli said...

Angie, you don't strike me as someone who is afraid of very many things. But as you said in another post, I don't know you very well. I do however, believe that people who share as freely as you have, probably have a good degree of self-assurance. What Jim said about worry worsening a situation is so very true. It robs your system of energy you could have used to help solve the original problem. You probably already know that.

Word Verification: "dravain"
Usage: "Since taxes have become so high, all our money seems to be going down dravain!"

Angie ^i^ said...

Solie, you're right, I don't have a lot of fears, but there are a few that hold me back. I recently shared my biggest fear with your wife in a private message. She can share it with you if she'd like. It's so hard to take that leap of faith into an unknown abyss, ya know?

For the most part, I'm not ashamed of the things that I say, or that I do. The way I see it is, we all have a story to tell. Though mine may not mirror yours to the point where mine could sometimes even seem unbelievable, it's still my story.. and you have yours. I'm personally glad we're not all clones of one another, it keeps life interesting. Does my sharing mean that I'm self-assured? Oh I don't know, I just know it's something that I choose to do without fear of negative recourse.

In reference to worry, my Mom asked me recently how I'm able to cope with all that's going on without becoming a total basket case. I told her is my being upset all the time is not productive. Sure, there are moments of weakness when I break, and I allow myself to have them! But then I MAKE myself bounce right back into reality so that I can fight the issues at hand.

There are many times that I have my game face on, yet I'm broken inside. I guess that's all part of being human.

Regarding your word usage: If you're tired of so much of your money going down the drain, vote Obama! You'll get a tax break!! =)

Jinxie said...

Angie, As you know our lives mirror each other's. I feel your pain that you had to work and your children in daycare. I know your struggles now and I pray for relief for you.

I learned a long time ago in a college class F isn't for failure, its for Feedback. Just think of all those years of "feedback" that you have that will pull you through the rough times now.

Its hard not to fear! I do it from time to time. You have a lot of faith, rely on it Angie. It will see you through.

I started putting everything important in God's hands and praying about it, it frees your mind of the anxiety and fear. Keep clinging to your faith, friends and family, things will start looking up.

I love that you share your story with us, like you said we all have one. Keep blogging, it helps keep ya sane, well it does me that is. lol

Look at all those "f's"
Faith, Family, Friends, Feedback, free far out way fear.

Hugs and stuff to ya.

Wouldn't you know the word starts with an "f" -- Fasurat

Fasurat = fat as a rat.. I have no clue. lololol

Angie ^i^ said...

Martha ~ thanks as always for your words of encouragement! At first I wasn't sure where you were going to end up with all those "F" words, but you didn't stray which is wonderful!! *grin*

I'll take to heart your 5 F's and utilize them to help keep me on a positive path!!

LOL @ you getting an F word verification.

*hugs* and stuff right back at'cha!