When you think of the good life, what does that mean to you? Failure is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. This is not a rhetorical question. Quite frankly it’s a question I continually pose to my family and a question I ask myself all the time. Why, because “the good life” means something different to everyone. When life gets out of alignment, I find it’s because I’ve allowed myself to be influenced by a false representation of the good life. So much of our focus is on the outcome, so when that’s all you see, the process gets lost. This makes things seem as if they’re easy, which in turn causes people to believe they can attain things easily. When in reality, this notion of ease sets people up for failure. Oddly enough failure is exactly what provides us with the know how to achieve things more easily, because it’s NEVER easy. Going back to this fallacious sense of ease, considering failure is a necessary evil. I like to bucket failure under these two categories, avoidable and unavoidable failure, let me explain. 9 times out of 10 you have to get it wrong to get it right. So self-awareness is critical.
My definitions are simple. Avoidable failure results from acting with a low level of self-awareness and unavoidable failure results from acting with a high level of self-awareness. The latter in my opinion results in growth and ultimately to higher levels of success.
Using myself as an example, let’s consider this blog. When I started, which is important because to start something is powerful. Along the way I’ve experienced some key failures, both avoidable and unavoidable. This is a blog post not a book, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ve listed a few to further explain my point.
I started an Etsy Shop 8 Vintage
I started expanding my content
I measured myself against the industry
I didn’t do enough research on my reader base
Starting with the avoidable failures, I’ll explain why I categorized them that way.
1) I became impatient with my progress. This caused me to start comparing myself to what the industry deemed successful at that point in time. Not taking to account my personal future as a brand. Understanding the process and believing in it. I failed to do that at times. This could’ve been avoided by being patient and seeing things through. I eventually realized that but not before I wasted a lot time.
2) If I’m honest, I didn’t take the time to really research my reader base. For a long time I just assumed the right people would find me. This was a huge failure on my part. Making myself visible where my site content would thrive takes effort. This could have been avoided if I worked as hard on visibility as I did on creating content. Both of these failures occurred because I was acting with low levels of self-awareness. I have no value add events/outcomes to justify the time I lost.
Moving on to unavoidable failures.
1) I partnered with another creator and launched 8 Vintage. This failure had a huge impact on where I am today. Although we ultimately closed the site and parted ways. I knew the next step for me was in small business. I was forward thinking in understanding that my blog could help propel my next step from an entrepreneurial perspective. Having a high level of self-awareness, this failure had immense value in regard to time spent.
2) Pursuing content outside of personal style presented failures and successes. Introducing new content helped me expand my voice and allowed me to feel comfortable talking about things outside of fashion. While I frequently rejigger content, I wasn’t consistent in giving that new content enough time to generate a new audience. I understand how to navigate through content production, and the level of consistency I can realistically maintain to operate at high levels in other areas of my life.
I give these examples because a lot of time people look at others and only see the outcome. So their first question is, how did you get there? In the words of Rih…work, work, work, work, work! Patience, self-awareness, and above everything aim to be successful at something you’re really passionate about. Know thy self.
Wearing a vintage fringe skirt, Zara cardigan and shoes, vintage box purse, and a rework belt by Shareen Vintage. Photography Ksenia.