Posts Tagged ‘Failure’

By N. B. Cardoso

Have you ever been here? Have you ever felt like the whole world is falling into pieces, and life is crumbling right underneath your feet?

greatchangespreceededbychaosI believe we all have been here, regardless of our age or life experiences, we all have, one way or another, felt that we just lost control, and all was falling apart.  

It could be just because we fail that test, or because of a relationship that has ended, or because we lost that job which we thought it was the foundation of any future life, other times because we lost someone we loved…there are so many different reasons why we feel this way in live.

Except for, I believe, loosing someone we loved, even tough in this life, we live, we love, we die, it is, nevertheless, always something hard and painful to go through. Loosing someone who have made an impression in our hearts is something we will probably live with the rest of our lives. I personally believe in keeping the good memories, the laughter, the lessons, going through the grieving process and moving forward with a little place of our heart now connected to someone who is no longer here.

For all the other loses however, is just a matter of time and self-love. I know it is hard to believe when we are going through but most of the events we will forget over time, some we will remember in the future,  depending on the person it will be either magnified or minimized by  the lenses of time but, no matter what it will mostly be part of a conversation in the future such as: “remember when I failed that test and thought my world was over? Remember I dated that person and was lost when we broke up? Remember that job I thought it was my whole future?”

Over time we come to understand that not everything that did not work as we want does necessarily means the world is ending.

As humans, watching life from a two-dimensional position, we miss a huge part of the big picture, generating this so frightening feeling that loosing what it is at hand means loosing everything.

How may people have we heard who have lost this or that just to find out that without this or that, they actually got an opportunity to scrutinize new ideas, new possibilities, new outcomes they would not do before, for lack f time or even lack of understanding. How many times have we heard of people who lost A or B to have learned not just where they wanted to be or go, but also where what they do not want to be or go?

Knowing where you don’t want to be or go is also a huge discovery, by eliminating those you create more space for what you want to be or go.

Never forget that life is much more than what we can possibly see with our two eyes from the static place where we stand. There are canyons, valleys and peaks we can even imagine. The ripple effects caused by our little or big choices and decisions moves the wheel of the Universe in ways we can ever fathom.

Keeping an open mind, open to honest, constructive and direct self critique, taking responsibility for our own actions and choices, and learning combined with a positive view, doing what we must do to move forward, with the knowledge that this was just a pebble, an obstacle meant to be overcome, is a necessary step to bring us to a point we can actually create and allow life to unfold itself in front of us.

The job lost, might be just an opportunity the Universe needed to move us to consider a better position in life, with more joy, to be closer to people we care for, to make more money, to learn new lessons, to help others while helping ourselves, to catapult us to an even better place in the future, which the Universe, in its wisdom knew if we were left to our own devices we would never take the step.

Maybe because that job we originally lost was too comfortable, not perfect, not giving us joy, but comfortable, reliable, secure, providing us with the basics we needed to live an average life.

What if we allow life to be more than just average, more than just good enough? We tend to become too comfortable very fast! Sometimes with very little when compared to the big scheme of things. If our immediate needs are fulfilled, we tend to stop looking or thriving for better opportunities, not just to grow, but to really do something we really love, day in and day out.

We get ‘stuck’ in a relationship not because we are loved and respected, not because there are true laughter and joy, but because it means we have someone to share the expenses with, someone to talk once in a  while, someone to make us company in social events, someone who allow us to change our status in social media, because we are not alone anymore…who, in their right mind, want to be alone? Society has taught us that being lonely means being a looser, means that we are not loved, that we are not good enough…

I guess not many of us out there have the courage but also enjoys their solitude and understands that loneliness and solitude are two completely different words with absolutely different meanings. Being alone to enjoy solitude and work on self-growth is never a sign of weakness but a strength.

Because most of us, hate disappointing others and we are complete suckers for pleasing others, longing to fit with the masses and be accepted by it, we tend to settle for what is, in our limited vision, better than nothing, not realizing that when we settle for fear of moving forward we actually choose to get less out of life.

Granted we must recognize when we have a good thing going and, not just be grateful for, but enjoy, be joyful and happy when we find the ideal job, partner, home, car, etc. My friends are mostly my angels and my teachers, one of these friends, Pam has taught me that is not always about the next new thing, not always about the next step of the journey, but also being able to recognize when we have achieved our peak, when we have that good life, to live it, to celebrate it.

Sometimes we get too entangled on the dreams we have dreamt, that if things don’t come as we dreamt we disregard it, not realizing that our dreams are usually made out of our surroundings observations. Tv, romances, ideas transferred by our parents (good husband, responsible, good provider, etc) but, have you ever really stopped to find out what are the things that you really ache for. Not others opinions of what is good for you because, let’s be honest, no one really knows what is the best for you but yourself. They might have an inkling, a clue, but in reality, they don’t truly know what your soul’s desire is, what your purpose is. Most of the time WE don’t even know it.

We tend to focus on appearance of success, and very little on the feelings of success. A beautiful house on the outside is never a guarantee of a happy family on the inside. A handsome tall man or a gorgeous and sexy woman is not a guaranteed recipe for a happy relationship. A rich man or woman does not mean a truly rich life. A successful professional does not an assurance of a successful relationship. A thin and well-shaped man or woman does not assure a healthy relationship. You get the idea right?

Artists give as much emphasis to the blank on the canvas as they do to the colors. The space is a limit, it allows the painter to show its art limiting its borders, the blank is the space to reflect. Once you learn to see losses as the blank space in the canvas you realize it is just as bad as we allow it to be, it just put us as down as we allow it to. What are the opportunities hidden with it? What are the lessons we can use to do something different and improve the next time? What chances do we have to grow with this loss?

I have learned lately that when love is no longer being served, as Nina Simone says, it is time to leave the table. I wake up in the morning and even before opening my eyes I dread to get it of bed because ‘I have to go back there’ or to pretend to be asleep when my partner comes to bed, it is a clear sign something is wrong. Is not only about others giving me love, respect, consideration but about me, giving it all to myself as well. Granted before living a job I want to make sure I have something else lined up, but something a leap of faith is in order too.

‘Personal Experience: I have worked in banking for many years. For many of those years I loved it! I was energized to wake up every morning and go to work, to help clients, to train tellers and new colleagues, to make sure all was working as it should, that rules and regulations were followed,  to assist clients and colleagues to achieve their financial and professional dreams, to learn all that I could in order to improve myself and, consequently, become even more prepared to assist the bank’s clients… MY clients.

Over time however, after a number of acquisitions by bigger corporations, we became this huge American bank, after the original mess of changing names, policies, procedures and services, I came to realize that I was no longer a name, I was now just a number,  a number generator, not a service provider… and that was the beginning of the end, but I had two kids, a mortgage, bills, the job was reliable, secure, offered good benefits, it paid the bills, took care of the mortgage. I didn’t have a life of luxury but was able to live a modest and pretty good life for a single mother of two. I longed to be more, to feel appreciated, to be useful to others, to sell things that were useful to MY CLIENTS, not what the bank deemed good for them, I longed to help my colleagues and clients to plan, to work together and assist them to reach their dreams, to have trusted advise to give to clients, to laugh with them when they did achieve their financial dreams. This is, after all, who I am, what I want to do.

The realization that I had become a tool to the bank to achieve their numbers, their profits, was a devastating blow, but I had obligations, children to clothe and feed and for year on end I just tolerate it. I rarely showed but I was miserable doing what I was doing even though I had loved it dearly in the past. Well, in November of 2005 came and I finally woke up: I was burned…I used to lay in bed every morning dreading to go get it of bed and go to work…I became frustrated, not just with work, but with my kids, with my house, with my colleagues…

I resented everything and everyone who, in my narrow perspective, held me to a  job I no longer loved, and no longer loved me. I just plain hated it…I had lost the passion for it. That November, after a day in the hospital with an awful Anxiety attack which masked a heart attack I finally made the decision which, in time, cost me everything I had worked so hard to get. I quit banking and became a Realtor. That was 2006, the beginning of the real estate market decline, which lasted for the next 6 years, New England was heavily hit, specially the South Shore of MA and Rhode Island, my market.

I didn’t make much money. Heck, truth be told, I didn’t make any money, I sold my house and got a little condo which, over time, I lost to foreclosure. I had to file for bankruptcy in 2010 and many times had to ask my landlord to give me a month or two to catch up with my rental (grateful to this day for my landlords which over the years became good friends). Lucky me, my kids where out of the house by then and did not have to witness when their mom hit the bottom hard nor all the painful experiences she went through the next couple of years.

There were months when a friend, who was on the same hardship I was as a Realtor, would share her 100 bucks with me so we both could have gas to run after business, some other times, we would go to another friend’s brother house to get some veggies and eggs from his mini farm so we would have something to eat , or do a pot luck so each one of us could bring one dish and have a decent meal, but no matter how bad finances were, I loved helping others, looking at houses, feeling that my clients did appreciate my experience, which grew a lot dealing with foreclosures and short sales.

Granted in the beginning it felt like this job did not love me too much, but nevertheless I was, and still am, absolutely in love with it. I am able to help so many people and now, 10 years down the road and over 150 homes sold, I still feel the same  love as I did in my first day. I love what I do, every day I get more excited with the possibilities of doing what I love, helping others to achieve their American dream and, after pounding the pavement, loosing everything I am finally where I wanted to be, and truth be told, me and my old friends still get some good laugh about the ‘bad old days’, and how creative we were and how e survived.

believeinyourselfI have taken that leap of faith before, nevertheless the cold in my stomach and the screaming and overwhelming feeling that I should just stay still and not breathe was overwhelming. If I didn’t I would never have found out what else was there for me, I would still be tied up to a job I didn’t love. I know it is just business, but you must love what you do, and as crazy as it sounds, it must love you back, which means the job must provide you with the feelings you are looking for. In my case to feel helpful to others, to be appreciated, to be someone, not a number, to be able to communicate, to negotiate for my clients, to get them the best deals I possibly can in that specific moment in the market, to be remembered…with time I achieved the other things that are valuable to me: peace, balance, comfort, a relaxed life, able to honor my bills at the end of the month. No, it is not always flowers but the good is amazingly stronger than the bad. 

Granted this is not an option to many, some need more security than others and for me security was never something I could count on it, so loosing everything was not the first time around but, combined with many other personal loses on that period it was for sure, the worst I have ever experienced and. Off course I truly wish it was the last time. I wish I have learned enough lessons to get me some free passes in the future and can now make a stable life doing the things I love and love me back, but I know life is life and challenges are on the menu and even tough I could live the rest of my life without I am not afraid of them either. So, life and I are in good terms now. It embraces me and I embrace it. 

To this day there is one thing I miss from my banking decades: The steady paycheck either I worked, or it was a weekend or a holiday. Would I change the uncertainty of my Realtor life, my working weekends and holidays, the 10-12 hour days to go back to t? No, I would never. 

Loosing that job have cost me a lot, my house, my credit, health insurance, my retirement account and savings were gone, even my pride was tested when I had to borough $40.00 to have gas in my car, many sleepless nights worried, many tears of fear of maybe not having where to live but, along the way there were so many miracles that I could write a book only to relate those same miracles for those who believes in miracles and, like me, you would be amazingly surprised with the way the Universe works in ways we have never imagined.’

Now back to you, think about how you want to feel. Do you want to feel loved, accepted, happy, joyful, peaceful, relaxed, comfortable being yourself, respected, admired for your accomplishments, appreciated, have laughter in your life, give and receive kindness, be helpful, add value to your and other people’s life, feel like an asset, feel valuable, be able to truly communicate with the people around you? How is that you want to feel when you have your perfect job or your perfect partner? Now, take some time, listen to your soul, learn to enjoy a little time of solitude, write your wants down, visualize how you look happy, filled with joy, figure what is most important to you. What are the feelings rather than things, that will truly make you happy?  

Happiness is a feeling, not possessions, nor places you can go to, it starts as an inside achievement and, with time reflects to the outside, not the other way around. Sure big and beautiful houses, fancy brand name cars, possessions, your team championship…all of these can make you happy for a day, a month, and even for some years, until the next big thing comes along. The neighbors built a bigger house or remodel the old home, a colleague gets a better car, your team lose the next season. What are the feeling you want to feel when all those things are not enough or not a possibility? 

I have learned that when you learn to be happy with who you are, with where you stand, these other things become what they rally are: just things. They might still be there, they might make some days, weeks, months, years better than others, but true happiness does not depend on them existing.

Remember, life, for most of us, is a series of small steps, not a long jump. To reach the summit of the mountain we have to go one step at a time, and each experience is a stepping stone to guide us to the top. Always keep the final goal vision in your mind, but do not stop enjoying each step or even the pebbles in your shoes, for they may make you stop, sit down and take your shoes off, maybe feel the earth underneath your feet and raise your eyes and breath in the scenery from different levels along the way. Sure the view is astonishing from the top, but each little road off the beaten path offers exquisite views, experiences, feelings, perspectives that are different in each step of the journey.

falling into placeGive yourself a chance to stop once in a while and catch a breath, move your head up from your two feet, get used to the new altitude, let your body and soul absorb the new levels of oxygen so you don’t get dizzy and, at the same time, allow it to make you stronger and in a better form for the next step.

Learn to see each loss in life as an opportunity to grow and become aware of something new. Learn that the loosing  can actually mean gaining. When we finally see the big picture from above let it, instead making you bitter, let it make you wiser. Instead of making you fearful, let it make you fearless of the brighter future ahead. Instead of making you hold on to the little things, let it teach you to let it go and hold on to your true dreams.

If we could only see the big picture, the view from up there, we would see that the life we thought was falling apart was, in reality, just falling into place.


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