I’ve failed again in 2013. It was a doozey too. Even though I hadn’t used credit cards in five years I still had old credit card debt that needed to be paid. Instead of focusing on paying them off I focused on increasing my income and took two financial risks the last few years to increase it. They didn’t seem risky at the time however the result was both incidents cost me money instead of making me money.
The first one was a publishing contract for one of my songs. Two men I respected from church approached me to pitch a couple of my songs to major country artists in Nashville. One of the guys was in publishing twenty years ago and wanted to get back into the game. It was a bit flattering. The five page contract they handed me didn’t seem right, however. I decided to get some legal advice.
With the advice of one of the top music business attorneys in Nashville I decided to walk away from the contract that so many new songwriters sign in haste. I had peace with that decision however I also had some attorney fees. (My attorney was very generous with me and she gives that profession top credibility in my book. I cannot speak highly enough of her).
Later I decided to take a position as an Resident Assistant in a half way house. It paid $400 per month, a room to sleep and free utilities, including internet. I could still work my cleaning business as well. This would be a $1,000 per month increase for me and allow me to pay off all debt and save some serious money. But that was not to be.
Though I enjoyed being around the guys in the house that were turning their lives around, I didn’t get along well with the lady that hired me. She seemed to be very controlling and wanted me to be the same. My attitude is basically if you want to go back to your old ways, go ahead. Until you are convinced the old way doesn’t work you will not change. So get as drunk and high as you need to and when you’re tired of being in the gutter and really want to change, then myself and others can offer some assistance.
The lady that hired me was more hands on. For example, she insisted the guys discuss their feelings with her. I believe feelings can be just as screwed up as behavior; you act your way into good feelings, so feelings don’t really matter. Between this and some other matters we clashed.
I quit and moved back to my own apartment in ten weeks. Unfortunately I had given away most of my possessions since my room at the half way house was furnished. I had no bed, furniture, etc. Just clothes and books. I didn’t have any money saved since I was there such a short period of time.
In 2013 I was sued by one of my old credit cards. I was served papers by the court. I called them and they wouldn’t settle. Once they won, and they were going to win(and did), they would be able to seize my bank accounts and I wouldn’t be able to cash any of my checks for my business. The best option I had was to file bankruptcy and I did.
Have you ever gotten discouraged after a few setbacks? Not one set back, not two or three but several. It seems like everything you do fails so you wonder if you should even try in the first place. That’s where I have been recently. Every time I build a sand castle someone knocks it down.
If you have had this thinking or experience, did it get you down? It did for me. I wondered, “Why bother?”. After feeling this way for several months the only answer that seems to work is that [Tweet “it is better to hope, try and fail than to not hope at all”] Hoping and dreaming is fun! Failing sucks but having no hope is worse than the temporary pain of failure.
Lessons From Failure
1.) With failure you can examine it, learn from it and hone your intuition. You can do that with success too! But with doing nothing you cannot. The only feedback you get is a dull sense of apathy and depression. By doing and hoping for nothing I was just doing time waiting for the end. Finally, I got tired of doing that.
2.) Setting goals and not making them is part of optimism. You must continue to be optimistic, even if you have to force yourself.
3.) Budhism teaches that we are never satisfied not matter what or how much we get. This is also talked about in positive psychology, that we always want more. If you can accept this and make goals anyway you will move forward. The cumulative result of setting goals and striving for them, whether you make them or not, will change your life!
[Tweet “The cumulative result of setting goals and striving for them, whether you make them or not, will change your life!”]
4.) Dan Miller says success is a journey so once you start the journey you are successful. It comes down to having the optimism to dream and try. If, and when, you fail, you try again anyway because it is better than not trying at all. Apathy is a form of hell. Optimism is a choice.
[Tweet “Optimism is a choice”]
5.) Keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind. I took the Financial Peace course offered by Dave Ramsey to learn how to set up and use a personal budget. I never want to go through that experience again!
6.) Know your limitations, what to say ‘no’ to. I want to help people but at my core I knew I was taking the RA job for the money. I’ve never made a good decision when it was based on money. I should have said no.
7.) Make sure the people offering you an opportunity are experts in the field you are exploring together. One of the publishing guys had experience in that field 20 years ago, you know, before mp3’s, Garth Brooks and the Ipod. He WAS an expert at one time but not now. Technology and change made him obsolete for the current market.
Ask, “What did they do last year in this field?”, and, “What is their current market experience in that field?”.
What have you learned from your failures?