What do you do when failure is glaring you in the face? Perhaps it was a job interview that you were not chosen for, or a relationship that landed in disappointment? Perhaps you took a creative leap and didn’t have the outcome you expected. Have you ever wondered, Is there an art to failure?
It has literally been one year since our last blog post! Wow! 2018 was incredibly challenging and stretched our capacity. Shelter and Rain became an official non profit in 2017! That year was spent writing bylaws and beginning outreach. In 2018 we were gasping for air from the time and energy it took to officially launch Shelter and Rain. Personally we were also navigating the birth of our third child and two job losses. As 2018 was about to unfold my family approached us with the option of in home care for my aunt. This was a very challenging decision for us. We had only lived in Wichita for 18 months, were enjoying our rental home, and saw the connections deepening there. But as we sought some counsel and searched our own hearts, we knew we needed to essentially suck it up and do the hard stuff. It seemed ironic that we would move to beautiful California to regroup and continue to grow Shelter and Rain, but this is what God had in mind. Thanks to family as well as our incredible team in Wichita who continued to lead our programs there, this became possible. Now here we are, one year later, reflecting on what this last year brought as we look forward to what lies ahead.
During this time, I’ve been thinking a lot about the word, FAILURE.
Brené Brown did an interview on Creative Live and she said something that inspired me to think about failure in a new way.
“The only thing I know about being courageous with your life…
if you are brave enough, often enough, you are going to fall.”
To be honest, I didn’t see our move as a failure. The non profit was not failing but several components in our life felt like they were falling apart. Our valiant efforts had not turned out as we had imagined.
What do you do when you are faced with rejection, when you put yourself out there to launch something, when you think you have the next strategy, and it all feels like it fails?
Our perspective in the failures of life
will either spiral us down into defeat,
or propel us forward.
Here are some essential tools that allow us to embrace the art of failure.
Focus on the vision. What did you see when you first started? What prompted you to switch that job, to try something new? How can looking at the vision behind your actions give you hope for what lies ahead?
Pursue self-development. How can you develop greater skills through this? During the last several months of 2017, we were both home with 3 children 3 and under, the non-profit had just become official, and we would spend hours watching entrepreneurs share their experiences on Creative Live. We dove into leadership podcasts and cast more vision for who we wanted to become.
Embrace counsel. It is a very humbling thing to share with others about personal loss and failure. But it is powerful when someone knows and is standing with you through it. We confided in a close circle of friends and counselors during those months of decision. At the end we had to trust our gut.
Know you are not alone. It is incredible to know that most successful business owners have experienced setbacks, times when they nearly lost it all.
Do the hard stuff. You know we did the pros and cons list for each decision we felt was on the table. There were an equal amount on both sides. It is hard living in someone else’s space, having less hours to ourselves, getting interrupted sleep, being on call, navigating crisis and stress. It is uncomfortable. But sometimes we have to lose something in order to discover what is new. One of the things we did in making the decision to move was to look at the purpose of our family. We want to be a launch pad to release others into their destiny. The season we are in is allowing us to do this more fully. And right now, the loss we must face is not having a home of our own.
Notice your season. The winter is cold, bleak, and necessary. Nature depends on the cycles of the year to thrive. As hard as failure and difficult seasons are, they are often a pruning ground for greater things. We believe that God has great things for not only Shelter and Rain but for our family. Vision is birthed in the cycle of the seasons. Do you know what season you are in?
The art of failure is this - a refined vision. It does not mean that what we were doing was wrong in the first place. A setback is essentially a testing for what is in our heart when life gets hard. Will we quit? Will we let the blow keep us down? Or will we rise stronger than before? As I sit with survivors, take a walk on the beach with them, hear them share their stories, I am inspired by the incredible strength they carry to go on beyond insurmountable odds. We owe them our very best in the anti-trafficking movement. To see them rise is our greatest joy.
Failure also provides an opportunity to welcome others into your journey. In this season, Shelter and Rain has been invited to partner with a local organization whose mission is to open a residential home for survivors of human trafficking. Together our vision, passion, and mission is being refined. Together, we strengthen each other. Falling down is part of our process of growth. We would love to cheer you on in your process. Would you take a moment to comment below and let us know about some of the ways you have seen setbacks in your life open up new opportunities. We would love to cheer you on!
May we all embrace the art of failure as a true pathway to refined vision and greater success.