Not Really a Failure: when the world doesn’t live up to it’s part

Two women came to my workshop last month.

It was the first workshop of the year - Winning and Evolving in 2020. Approximately twenty women grabbed tickets for it. Yes, it was a free event. No, the women that came did not have tickets for it. But they were there to grow, to learn, to build community.

As a leadership and empowerment coach, these workshops allow me to provide individuals with the tools to become the leaders, the people that they desire to become, on their own.

In my mind, I heard “just cancel the event", “just tell the women to go home.” But something else insisted I do the whole workshop. This was my chance to show up even when no one else did. This was the time I was supposed to have with these two women, they were the ones that mattered, not my ego, not my expectations.

Two turned into one as the night crept on and I still continued.

Connecting with this one woman, engaging her, building and learning from her experience with my work. She reciprocated this sentiment - opening up, sharing, and at the end mentioning how good of a workshop it was. It was as if she wanted me to know that I did not fail.

I smiled at that, at this experience with her, almost three years after completely reshaping and reclaiming my life.

I left with this sense that this was supposed to happen. All the creators I read and listen to mentioned that losses were a part of the process. A loss meant that you were one step closer to success. That was worth celebrating.

So I did, in a way that was masking the sadness I was avoiding.

It wasn’t that I was sad that only two people showed up. It wasn’t the failure that the one woman tried to console me on even before it landed. I didn’t see this as a failure.

I was sad that there was still so much work to be done.

People tell me how much greatness they see in me, how wonderful the work that I am doing is. I hear it and more than anything I want to see that light shine. I want to see that light reflected in the impact that I am making. I want to see that light nurture others into their reclaiming. But I don’t, not in a workshop of two. So what is it, this greatness others see?

As I write this it sounds like I am listening to others, again. I used to listen to how I should be this or that - I followed that advice and ended up miserable. I decided to stop listening to others and discover things for myself, which landed me here.

I thought I was done adopting someone elses’ story for me but here, again, it sounds like I am listening to others, this time on a narrative of a greatness I want.

Maybe I have adopted their vision, mixing it with my desire to create spaces that feel like home, to help women discover themselves as I did, through sharing the gifts I have. If people see so much in me, and I have all of these gifts I put out for the world to consume, why still the losses?

Who am I supposed to believe I am when the world doesn’t live up to it’s expectations, but I do?

If I listen to myself, I’m supposed to believe in who I believe I am. When the world doesn’t affirm you, its not a sign that you are wrong about who you are, it means the world just hasn’t caught up to you yet. As disheartening as that might feel, with each loss you are closer. With each loss that you take time to grieve, you strengthen the root that tells you that you are meant to feel what you want to feel for the rest of your life. I am meant to feel this passion. I am meant to see this shine.

This is what I believe. This is what I practice. This is what I teach.

If I stop affirming myself, creating and sharing the gifts that are literally changing women’s lives and helping them reclaim their stories, then I not only fail at my vision, but I fail the many other women that I am meant to help nurture. We can recover from a loss, but failure is a death.

So here is me giving myself advice that maybe you need to hear too:

You have a gift, you have a desire to feel something deep inside of you, pursue that feeling. Create those spaces, things, connections that make you feel whole in the ways that you imagine. Live the way that you imagine and allow time to catch up to you, don’t slow down for it.

The pursuit is not easy, but you are not in this alone.