It’s almost bed time on this rainy Thursday night in LA and I’ve done absolutely NOTHING today. Ok maybe I did a few little things but compared to how I normally roll, it’s been a day of relative stillness and inactivity.
“Why?”, you ask.
Well, I didn’t choose this, it chose me. I’ve been under the weather for a couple of days and today is the day I chose to surrender. I fought at first and tried to keep on moving but that wasn’t really working for me. Deep down, I know that when the body is ailing in some way, it’s a symptom of a deeper cause and I decided to give it a listen and take the opportunity to heal all the way through.
In my case, I would attribute this most recent “sickness” to some deep soul diving that I’ve been doing over the past few weeks, shedding some way old beliefs and patterns that I won’t be needing anymore on my path to rockin’ life out all the way and livin’ the dream fully. Yup, it’s about that time.
I’ve come face to face with some sneaky and tricky inner demons and there’s one little nasty one that I want to shine a spotlight on because I know it’s one that plagues many of us.
Yes, that dreaded F-word that we fear so greatly and that most of us spend our entire lives doing anything and everything we can possibly muster to avoid.
Yes, I admit it. One of my greatest fears is the fear of being a failure. And it permeates my entire life.
In friendships and socially, it shows up as the fear of not belonging. In relationships, it’s the fear of rejection. Creatively, it’s the fear of not having the goods, the juice, the inspiration. In my career, it’s the fear of never amounting to anything, the fear of being a flop, and of my work being mediocre. Financially, it manifests as the fear of poverty. Even my fear of illness and death is a fear of failure as it relates to my health.
It all comes back to fear of failure.
A little over a week ago, I got present to just how cancerous that fear has been in my consciousness and in my life. I was having a heart to heart with my homeboy and business wizard, Rahul Bhambani, sharing how spiritually lethargic I’ve been feeling around my work of late. He helped me to zero in on the root of the challenge with a question that nearly brought me to tears. He told me to ask for something I really wanted. I didn’t quite see the connection but I indulged him. As I thought about it, I immediately heard the answer (to share the stage with one of my heroes) and as soon as I spoke it out loud, I heard a voice in my head say: ”Nope. You’re not ready for that. You don’t get to have that yet. You still have more to do…”
There it was and it was unmistakable. That was the voice that has been tormenting me for a long time, pushing me with harsh criticism and self-reproach. Always urging me to be better, to try harder and to do more, not from a place of inspiration but from a place of fearing failure. I realized that it was the same voice that has been the major driving force and energetic undertone of everything I do… and it’s been completely exhausting.
I even wrote a blog a while back called “Failure = Fuel”, which had some good nuggets in it but when I think about it now, I see that the same fear was creeping in the back door trying to keep me moving away from something painful rather than towards something positive.
Thankfully, I had that breakthrough right in time for an amazing music conference called Sunset Sessions that I was slated to attend and showcase at this past weekend in San Diego. I showed up feeling lighter and stronger. As is often the case in the wake of deep inner work, I was blessed with a magical experience full of synchronicities and stars aligning.
There I was, mid-weekend and right on cue, I heard:
“Failure is fantastic”.
Spoken from the mouth of OWN and Harpo Studios President, Erik Logan, my new soul brother and one of the keynote speakers at the event, straight to my heart. Just in case I forgot what lesson I was integrating, the reminder was undeniable and right on time. I didn’t even fully realize how relevant it was to me in that moment but several days later, those words are still ringing true as I sit here, after a day of just being and not doing.
You see, for me, to do nothing in the way that I have today represents the realization of my greatest fear. To do nothing and stay where I am represents failure manifested. So instead of running AWAY from it. I’ve chosen instead to lean into it and embrace it by looking at it more closely and imagining what it would be like if all my fears of failure came true.
What if I never wrote another song? What if I never made another penny? What if I never met “the one” and spent the rest of my life alone? What if couldn’t muster up the will or courage to DO anything more? What if I was done? What if I died today and this was it???
That’s the darkness I’ve been avoiding and that has been fueling me and causing me to burn out for a long time.
To my surprise, going into that darkness and feeling all of the fear fully has caused it to crumble and in its wake, I’ve experienced a massive shift. Once again, I feel more spacious. I feel lighter and stronger. And in that space, new inspiration is flowing in these words unfolding on the page.
Yes, I had to die to the fear of never writing another blog too. Even with my TDL submission deadline lurking
And so today, I did nothing and I learned the true meaning of a very valuable lesson.
I learned that there’s more energy, strength and lightness on the other side of whatever we’re afraid of. As we lean into it, sit with it, be still in it and move through it, we can see the truth to which it was pointing us in the first place.
In my case, I got to remember that we are so much greater than what we do on this earth. Who we really are and our way of being in the world is what matters most. I also learned that when we’re clear on that, there really is no such thing as failure.
It’s all play and the thing we call “failure” need not be feared.
From that perspective, failure IS fantastic. It’s just feedback, one more way to refine our focus, to let go of what isn’t working and choose something else that serves us more instead.
In my case, it was the fear of failure that wasn’t working and once I took a closer look, once I accepted the gift of what it was there to show me, I got to the fantastic.
Failure is fantastic.
Give it a try
Published by The Daily Love (March 2nd, 2014)