Everyone wants to be a success.
We talk about it, pray for it and wait for that day when we finally “achieve success” in different areas. Relationships, academics, career, finances, marriage, fitness goals, health goals and other things.
You have these goals and strong desires that push you from the moment you get up until your head hits the pillow at night and there’s nothing wrong with desiring success. But as you push for it in different areas of your life, failure will be inevitable. Today we ask the question, what do you do with failure?
Average people hate failure.
To them, it speaks of the end of a thing.
To an average person, failure shouts their weakness and inability to reach success louder than anything else.
But achievers love this sauce!
Today we will talk about how you can set yourself up to use failure to your advantage so that you actually thrive when it shows up!
I’ll start by sharing two of my most recent goofs.
My Black Girl Hair FAIL.
So! I have been on a natural hair journey for just over one year (yes I’m a wee baby at this thing) and have learned a lot in my journey so far. A few other -more seasoned – naturalistas have complimented me on the miles and bounds I have made in getting my hair to a healthy state and beginning to see some length on it as well. Guureat!
In my process of continual learning, I recently stumbled on a video that highlighted doing a green tea rinse in order to help my hair stop shedding as much during my wash and detangle process.
(Some of you are thinking – what the heck is all this technical talk). But hey, I don’t judge your blogs/conversations about beards, purses or nails so welcome to a tiny piece of my world. :)
Back to the story. I watch this video. She shows the results of the rinse on her hair. She has way less shed hair after the tea rinse.
So I decide to do a tea rinse for myself.
(I can’t be faulted for being slow to take action)
Now to be fair to Youtube Tutorial lady, I didn’t use the actual tea bags she had told us to use.
Instead, I ran to my kitchen full of excitement at finding the cure for my excessive shedding. Once there, I saw that I only had one last bag of Javita Green Tea (which is a powdered form of green tea). And not to be held back by such a simple inconvenience, I proceeded to make my tea rinse.
It’s All In The Details
Keep in mind, she had said that when we used the green tea bags, we were only to let it sit in the hot water for 5 minutes, then take it out so that the water isn’t full of caffeine.
Which (in retrospect) means that when I used the powder, I had unleashed the full weight of caffeine that my little tea pouch could carry in that steaming cup of water.
In the moment, all this was far from my mind.
After all, I’ve never put caffeine in my hair before and didn’t think of it’s effects. I can see you already smiling and shaking your head like “how can Toyin do something this silly?!” Loll Easy, read on!
And So It Began
Because I was just coming out of 3 months on the road, this week was time I had set aside to give my hair some much, much needed TLC. I took 2 full days to prep my hair for this explosion of moisture, health and refreshment.
I was excited!
I had done the pre-poo treatment with one of my very best deep conditioners. “Pre-poo??” That simply means I put a lot of moisture in it the day before “wash day”.
Specifically, I left it in my hair all through the day and night allowing my hair to soak in as much moisture as possible. Here’s a quick video I did while it was in.
Then came a full detangle, gently teasing the strands apart from each other which took me over 2 hours (Yes. My hair is that thick and it had been that long).
At this point, I could feel the soft moisturized texture restored into my hair and was smiling contentedly as I finished detangling and preparing for the wash.
The Conditioner Recovery
Wash time came and after shampooing my hair in sections, I applied the green tea rinse. I immediately noticed how dry and brittle my hair felt coming out of such a moisturized state. But I figured she had given us a warning not to leave it in too long because caffeine does dry out our hair so this was probably just that.
I applied ample conditioner but didn’t feel a difference. I then put in a ton of deep conditioner and let it sit again for a few hours as my deep conditioner usually does magic in bringing moisture to my hair.
After this, I detangled and washed out the deep conditioner, then I put in some oil to seal in the moisture.
Afterward it was time to style my hair so I applied some leave in conditioner –how many times have I said conditioner? That’s how dry my hair was y’all lol– and I put it in it’s style to set.
Why It Mattered.
Keep in mind, during this time, I received an invitation to sing at an event that featured the highest king in Nigeria’s Yorubaland (the Ooni of Ile-Ife, his Queen and four other kings from Osun State) the coming Sunday morning. Y’all I mean this literally.
So what did I do?
I knew I had a good thing cooking, so I simply kept that style setting in my hair right up until Saturday night and just spritzed some extra water, leave in conditioner and a light layer of fat oils on it to preserve all that moisture I had packed in.
Sunday morning came and I was looking forward to finally having a look at the style that I had invested about 2 days of work into.
(Guys, I promise you I don’t usually spend this much time on my hair every week).
I took out the hairstyle and as soon as the first strand was undone, I knew something wasn’t right.
The leave-in conditioner had dried into white flakes concentrated in the front part of my hair (of course). Eventually, I took out the whole thing and my heart sunk. It was U-G-L-Y. This isn’t self-hatred y’all it looked horrible. Lol
I showed the style to my sister and husband who tried to think of positive ways I could move my hair around to accommodate its current “condition”.
Eventually we had to admit that none of us could come up with anything that would look less like a mop of hard crustiness on my head.
I had to think fast because I needed to get to the event by a specific time so I eventually decided to call it a FAIL and wash it out – asap.
So I did.
I rinsed out my hair with pure, clean, zero scent, good feelin’ water.
Stuck 2 hairpins on each side of my head.
Used a towel to dry it out a bit and ran out of the house with my hair still dripping slightly in the back.
By the time I arrived, I was calm, cool, collected and resolved to figure out what went so horribly wrong with my hair (which I now have).
Here was my Sunday morning final look –
(Click on the photo to see a short video I did at the event)
My last minute save aside,
I can honestly say that was the worst hairstyle attempt EVER. Worse than the styles I attempted during my transition season from permed to natural hair.
As if this failure wasn’t enough, that same week, on the Friday, I had another huge fail on the new eating pattern myself and my hubster had begun.
Don’t worry this one is a lot less technical and much shorter!
Failure Numero Deux – My Ketogenic Zucchini Bread Baking Experience
(See what I did there, english, spanish and french?) If I’m welcoming you into the deep crevices of my mind, you’re getting all of me :)
So as some of you know, myself and my hubby have joined the ketogenic lifestyle bandwagon. Yes it’s a bandwagon. *shrug*
While on the road touring, we had both gained a total of 20 pounds because of our limited food options on the road. Previously we had been talking about changing our eating habits drastically in order to live healthier lives (huge shout out to Beni Johnson of Bethel Church, Redding) who wrote Healthy and Free: A Journey to Wellness for Your Body, Soul, and Spirit.
That book helped me finally understand not just the importance of prioritizing my health, but the practical hoooow of doing it.
Anyway, as we had just come off of the road, we felt this was the time to make our big health change. We decided on the ketogenic eating lifestyle as simply as we could’ve picked the paleo, clean eating, vegetarian or something else. Maybe not so much vegetarian… lol
Now, these new eating habits had been going pretty well for us.
I had learned many new recipes that tasted great and it was (and is) actually helping us come back to a healthy weight and FEEL for our age and height.
But that fateful Friday, we had a huge spoonful of Failure.
I had intended to bake a zucchini bread for myself and the sir, because we missed having bread and found that this was low carb enough for our diet.
I followed the recipe perfectly (I think).
We were both so excited about this bread that we had coffee and tea for breakfast and saved our tummies for what was baking in the oven.
When I brought it out, it was the picture of perfection. Just between golden and chocolate brown, soft to the poke, smelled amazing.
We couldn’t wait to dig in.
I cut pretty sizable portions for each of us and my husband was the first to take a bite. It was a big one. As soon as he closed his mouth, he started choking and coughing the bread back out.
I was like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” He said “It’s SALTY!”
I immediately grabbed my piece, took a big chunk into my mouth and the salt content bulldozed my taste buds with it’s harsh unforgiving presence. The salt was not a figment of his imagination.
Turns out, it wasn’t zucchini bread… it was salt bread.
Guys, this bread tasted so bad that I had planned on showing you the “perfect looking” bread itself and took a photo of it with my hubby’s phone. But my boo saw the photo on his phone and not knowing what I intended to do with it, deleted it.
When I asked him about the photo (because I am now writing the blog), he mentioned that he had deleted it long ago because he didn’t want to be reminded of the day he put a bar of salt into his mouth.
And imagine, that was only two days before the hair fail occurred.
Needless to say, the next week I had much time to laugh about and reflect on these two major fails in areas that I cared about.
Mind you, these examples are a lot easier to deal with than some other failures I’ve had. Like almost completely failing my 2nd year in University ( I failed more courses that year than ever before in my life). Or handling the failure of business ideas that felt like they had been a waste of time, money and much, much hard work.
“The increase of suicides, alcoholics, and even some forms of nervous breakdowns is evidence that many people are training for success when they should be training for failure.
Failure is far more common than success; poverty is more prevalent than wealth; and disappointment more normal than arrival.”
We have encountered a lot of failures in our journey but we are so full of joy where we are now, not because we have avoided making more mistakes but because we have learned how to laugh at and learn from them!In life, the question is not if you will have problems but how you are going to deal with them. John MaxwellClick To Tweet
“In life, the question is not if you will have problems but how you are going to deal with your problems… You have the potential to overcome all of life’s problems, mistakes, and random misfortunes. All you have to do is change how you think about failure.”
And as I processed these failures, I decided to share with you my method for dealing with the many failures I and you will encounter in life.
How can YOU handle failure in a way that helps you overcome it.
ONE: Take Responsibility
Ladies and Gentlemen, when you make a mistake and it leads to failure, YOU made the mistake. Own it. I put the full strength of green tea caffeine in my own head and it wasn’t Youtube’s fault or the lady who did the tutorial video. It was all my own.
As much as I want to believe that I followed the keto recipe perfectly, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have posted a recipe for salt-bread online and have it go anywhere at all. So I have to admit that in my (usual) way of adapting recipes to what I think will fit myself and the hubster, I ended up adding way too much salt than was needed. Either that or Maranatha -my one year old daughter- did it! (I kid)
- Your investment bombed so you blame your investment company… but you hired them!
- Adam blamed Eve for the bite he took from the apple.
- You left the stove on too long and the meal got burned. So you blame your husband for not helping you around the house, which made you multitask and forget the chicken in the pot.
- You slip on some fallen leaves on the sidewalk, and instead of acknowledging your own clumsiness, you begin a tirade about how people need to sweep the leaves off the ground before they become a hazard to the general public.
- Blaming your super hard, inflexible, Dracula teacher for bombing a course (that others passed).
Ridiculous? Yes. But we do it everyday. These people probably have some responsibility in the matter, but my friend, let’s admit the part that is all your own.
So today, choose to own your mistakes.
Put your name on them so that you can ensure not to repeat them again. If you are not willing to highlight exactly what you did that caused that failure, you are sure to repeat it again.
Just admit it y’all, you make mistakes and it’s okay.
In fact, sometimes, it’s really funny.
TWO: Learn from Your Mistakes
This. Is. HUUUUGE. I accredit this habit of mine to my dad because of his consistent questions asking us to learn from every. single. experience we had growing up.
Every year, when we would go on summer vacations, my father would have myself and all 4 of my sisters write essays (pages long y’all) about what we saw or experienced, how much fun we had, what we learned and what we want to do differently next time.
Because we knew we would have to write an essay about this Disney trip, or airplane flight to Lagos from Warri, I began to see learning points in every experience of life.
This is greatly helped me to not be hindered by the mistakes I make.
I have accepted that mistakes help me to learn what NOT to do.Mistakes help you to learn what NOT to do.Click To Tweet
When you can pinpoint your mistake, you are much less likely to repeat it.
When you can apologize for a mistake you’ve made that affects other people that you care about, your relationships flourish!
When you can change your habits because you see the fruit of certain decisions you’ve made, you become a better, stronger, more productive and much happier woman/man.
I challenge you not only to accept the mistakes you make but take the time to think about how you can avoid making the same ones again!
Repeating The Same Mistakes
This doesn’t mean you’ll never make any mistakes, or that you’ll never repeat a mistake.
Sometimes mistakes are undercover transformers. They show up in situation A and just when you learn what not to do there, the same mistake morphs and presents itself in a different situation.
So no, you won’t be the perfect “ever growing” non-mistake-repeating person, but your repitition will be very reduced!
THREE: Accept Failure as a Part of Your Path to Success
Thomas Edison said:
“Failure is really a matter of conceit.
People don’t work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine they’ll succeed without ever making an effort.
Most people believe that they’ll wake up someday and find themselves rich.
Actually, they’ve got it half right, because eventually they do wake up.”
They eventually find out that because they were hiding from failure, they were hiding from their own success as well.
Click on that link to see a blog where I feature 5 different people who have achieved major success with what many would consider failures, obstacles and life’s disappointments throughout their paths.
I’ll say it differently.If you want to succeed, get comfortable with failure.Click To Tweet
It doesn’t mean that you camp out in it and accept failure as your portion for life. It simply means that when it comes knocking, you laugh and celebrate it. Because you have learned one more thing not to do and you are that much closer to getting where you want to go!
Also making mistakes and failing means that you’re MOVING!
You’re moving friend! While others are talking, complaining and sitting back on their behinds watching life happen to them, you are taking life in your hands and making something of it. Celebrate THAT. And don’t stop doing it!
FOUR: Keep A Positive Attitude
You are not a failure!
I’ll say this again for some of you who really need to understand and accept this.
You just aren’t. God didn’t create you that way and you only fail at life when you accept and believe that silly but deadly lie.
The fact that you have failed at that course 3 times doesn’t make you stupid. It doesn’t even mean “that course was never meant for you”. You just may not yet had found the right teacher or simply need to read the material one more time.
Also some of the failures or obstacles you experience will be out of your control. You still can rise above these. It’s a matter of perspective.
Let’s be real, failure can be emotionally heavy.
That’s honest and it’s okay to process the gravity of what just went down, but don’t stop there.
If you choose to give in to the fear of failing the next time, it will lead to paralysis, self-pity, excuses, hopelessness and purposelessness. Once failure or the fear of it can get you stuck in one area of your life, it will try to spread to almost every area of your life.
So choose joy! Choose laughter. Choose hope!
Remember that the failure is not the end of your life. You have much more living to do and the story only ends there if you allow it to.
You WILL come out on the other side. You can succeed. And in order to succeed you need to…
FIVE: Take Risks!
SIX: Understand when something isn’t working and accept it.
Letting go when you have invested much into anything can be devastatingly hard. Especially if it is a relationship (pre-marriage), business venture, career choice etc.
A Business Client’s Dilemma
I remember having to point out to a business coaching client of mine that her original business was simply not working.
She had invested years and tons of money into it and it had not responded kindly to her. At the same time, she had started a different business on the side which was thriving. But because she had poured so much into her first business idea, she kept her focus on making that one work.
She ignored the business that was simply falling into place for her, bringing her clients, and a purpose-filled income.
Even though she had fresh ideas and zeal for the new business, it was always an afterthought to her first idea. It was as though she had an obligation to the first business to stick it out “until death do them part”.
After I mentioned this to her, she finally trusted her instincts. She let go of her fears, released her first business (for now) and focused in on the business that was working and she hasn’t looked back since.
She’s been booking more clients, enjoying her time in it and doing just what she wants to do with her time.Letting go when you have invested much into anything can be hard. But if it isn't working, you will be better for it!Click To Tweet
It sounds easy and clear cut but sometimes it’s really hard to see when you’re in the middle of it yourself.
Letting Go Ourselves
I remember when we decided to close down our own window washing business.
It was not making enough to sustain our family, was taking a lot of time from the other businesses we were running and our lives in general and just wasn’t as fruitful as we thought it would be.
It was so painful for me to get rid of the expensive equipment we had purchased. Throw out the thousands of flyers we had made. The t-shirts we had printed and worn for just one season. Most of all to say no to the happy customers that had contacted us to come again the next year.
I can’t tell you guys how long it took us to close the contact phone line (the final step) because I kept telling my hubby, “but, we can make it work! How can we turn away clients that are actually calling us?!” Lol
He kept reminding me that yes the business had a bit of success financially. And we were able to hire a few students (a dream of ours) but the earnings weren’t where we needed them to be for the effort it required.
And the style of business didn’t give us the freedom we needed for some major family decisions we had made.
It’s sometimes easier to see when things are just not working for others and ignore where they aren’t working for ourselves.
But this is the work you need to do.
Today, sit down and take an inventory of your life. There are some things that you simply need to persevere in. But sometimes, perseverance, looks like scrapping that paper and starting again with a blank sheet knowing that that will bring you closer to your goal.
Alright y’all I’m about to feed you some Thomas Edison quotes, back to back. Love me, hate me, they were way too good for me to choose just one.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Mm.
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” MM.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.”
The man who tried to create the lightbulb and failed 10,000 times. But got it right on his 10,001 attempt and absolutely changed the world when he did.
My hair did eventually recover from the dryness of the caffeine. -See proof from just one week after ;)
And I’m happy to say it DID reduce the shedding to like 10% of what it was before- CRAZY RIGHT! Lol
I have never again tried the zucchini bread. Mostly because my husband can’t bring himself to try tasting it again…. yet. I don’t blame him but one day soon, I’ll wear him down.
Let’s Talk – leave a comment in the facebook thread below!
How have you previously felt about the failures in your life?
What good can you see has come out of them? What lessons have you learned?
What are some of the ideas, businesses, relationships that you need to acknowledge aren’t working and “call it a day” on?
Share with the family what recent failures you have encountered and the perspective you are using in order to overcome them!