What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?
What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? Well, provided I wasn’t delusional, I’d play the lottery and win and then I’d have the money I needed to do what I wanted for the rest of my life.
Jana Stanfield’s song, “If I were brave,” poses the question, “What would I do if I knew that I could not fail?” (without the answer I’ve given). I’ve been singing that song to myself a lot lately as inspiration. I posted a meme on Instagram and on Facebook asking people what they would do.
What I realized today, though, is that the question is a fairy tale. It over-promises.
To get to success, you’re probably going to go through some failure. It’s just a part of life.
So, the real question is, what would you do if you knew that you could succeed?
When I left the US a year ago, I felt like an epic failure. I couldn’t do my job anymore, I couldn’t do my marriage anymore, and I had no idea what I was going to do with myself. I knew that I had a psychopath who wanted me dead and would probably try to make it happen again in about 14 years when he got out of prison. I knew that I wanted to go to Norway to figure things out. I figured that if I went to Norway and I had nothing to do other than yoga, climbing the mountains, basic self-care, and some social interaction, I could figure something out.
And I did figure something out. I wrote the first draft of my memoir, detailing what had happened in my life from the point of the attempted kidnapping to the point when the criminal trial was over.
But while that was a success – Yay! I wrote more than I’ve ever written in my life! I wrote a book, something I hadn’t even dared to tell people I was dreaming of doing! – it wasn’t a success that came with an income. Sigh. It didn’t come with an ability for me to live in Norway. And, so, with success, came failure.
To help you find your life’s purpose, Mark Manson asks “What’s your favorite flavor of shit sandwich and does it come with an olive?” You see, there is something sucky in everything we do, no matter what we do, no matter how successful we are, no matter how we define success. What are you willing to tolerate in order to live your best life? What are you willing to tolerate to even get a chance to live your best life?
Well, it turns out that I am willing to be an international homeless person … I mean international petsitter. On the one hand, it is the perfect job market for someone who looks like Mrs. Doubtfire. Plenty of people have fond memories of their grandmothers and want me to watch their pets as a result. On the other hand, you don’t get paid, it’s just volunteer, so I won’t be getting rich off of this. It also comes with its share of rejection and failure. I wanted to go to Sydney, Australia for Christmas to see friends and family, but none of my applications were getting any response there – it’s just too popular a destination and competition was fierce. So, instead, I’m spending Christmas on a Greek island, which, I have to say, doesn’t feel that much like failure after all.
So, my questions for you today are:
1. What would you do if you knew that you could succeed?
2. What are you willing to tolerate in order to live your best life?
You know my answers. I’d love to hear yours.
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Take good care.