A client of ours is facing failure of his business. On one hand he knows he manifested this because he’s wanted to do something different for a while now. And yet, he painfully feels the years of blood, sweat, tears, fears and money devoted to the business. He laments that he is moving on from a position of personal failure not success.

During the drive home from our conversation I thought about some of the major failures in my life. Many of these failures, which I carried like the burden of eternity for years, actually led to wonderful successes.

Over 30 years ago, losing a business I developed from ground up and a marriage to someone I still loved upended my life, self-worth, and mental stability. A few years later, however, a company who saw great value in what I had accomplished and learned from that experience hired me.

This executive position in beautiful San Diego provided me immeasurable experience working with a very talented, committed team. It was exhilarating working with people who were world-class in their individual positions. I learned a lot just by observing how creative, brilliant people built a very successful business.

Failure to Success

Then, at 49, I got fired for the first time in my working life. After a couple of weeks bemoaning the unfairness of it all, I began to see and understand what I wanted to create. I designed a business that used all my gifts and experience to help other business leaders succeed and flourish. Twenty-two years later, I continue to do the work I was designed to do. Every past error in judgment, every lesson I learned the hard way has helped other entrepreneurs learn and grow.

Failure to Success
In the meantime, I failed in yet another marriage. Fortunately, I knew immediately where the problem was—the common denominator in all my failed relationships was ME. After a lifetime of avoiding anything spiritual or any activity that had me looking within for answers, I began a years-long commitment to spiritual growth, personal development and self-understanding. I read many self-help books, attended innumerable workshops, worked with therapists and life coaches, and immersed myself in spiritual training. I didn’t know it at the time but I was creating a better version of myself—one that ultimately attracted a love and marriage to Cathy and a partnership in Clarity where my business experience, my personal work continue to thrive and contribute.

So, the quote that is attributed to everyone from Mandela to Denis Wheatley—“there are no mistakes or failures, only lessons”—is true. Life really is a journey of learning.

What failures in your life have led to your success?

Failing and Learning,