Famous Failures Can Inspire You to Keep Going After Your Dream

ribbonswirlHave you ever failed at something and for a moment felt devastated?

If so, you’re in good company. History is loaded with examples of successful people who encountered many failed attempts before they discovered success in their fields.

The difference between momentary failure and your eventual success is trying again, and with passion. Perfection, however, is not your goal. Giving your best, making the world a better place and experiencing fulfillment is.

The problem with what the world calls “failure” is that it’s an opinion of someone who can’t see your full value, your inner beauty, and your limitless potential. Even well-meaning folks, like our parents, can diminish our efforts with their damaging evaluations.

Enjoy the following video about famous failures and let it be a reminder to keep going after your dream.

Sometimes You Have to Drop Out to Drop In

Whenever we have a series of overcast and rainy days, it’s easy for me to succumb to the gloom and start to feel down. I began to feel sorry for myself this morning when I assessed that I’m not where I want to be on my life journey in a number of ways.

Yes, I’ve enjoyed many wonderful life experiences and reached many of my life goals. As a matter of fact, I now focus my work on helping others create happiness in their lives. And yet, because I’m human, I get sometimes get seduced into looking at the glass as half empty sometimes instead of half full.

When I get into such a funk, I don’t like it at first. Sometimes it hurts a lot. But then I realize that it is a blessing. It keeps me humble and it gives me a project from which I know I’ll eventually emerge as a stronger person and a better coach and writer. Not only that, my seeking for solutions causes me to test the many techniques I know are available. That way when I share ideas with you, they come from a real place, not a theory.

One thing that I do when I get into these moods is search for motivation and words of encouragement. This morning I was drawn to visit one of my favorite websites, TED, Technology Education and Design and there listened to Steve Jobs when he delivered the commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. I’ve heard it before, but evidently needed to hear it again.

The point that resonated with me was the idea that sometimes you have to drop out in order to drop into what you are called to do. I think about that in my life when I think of endeavors I abandoned because I no longer had passion for them. There are other times when a project appeared to be a failure, but later I saw that it freed me up to something even greater. He urges us to trust the process and the path we are on when we follow our passion.

I invite you to listen to Steve share three poignant stories from his life. Draw from his stories the lesson that will make a difference in your life.

Celebrate Color Your Life Happy Day on August 9th

momMany of us begin the year making resolutions, but within a few weeks our promises to ourselves have been forgotten.

A Wall Street Journal article shared plans some people made to help them stick to their resolutions. Some kept their goals small and achievable. Others asked friends to help them stay on track by holding them accountable. Others found success when they changed their environment to support their new behavior.

Here we are at the start of the second half of the year. How did you do with your resolutions this year?

Regardless of how you fared in this annual practice, here’s an opportunity to start anew.

On August 9th join me in celebrating the first “Color Your Life Happy Day”, a day to participate in something you enjoy, some activity that will make you happy and others too. Then make a decision to make it a habit to continue finding joy, pleasure, a way to help others for the rest of the year.

Happiness is not a destination, but the things we do along the way as we live our lives. At the end of their lives, many wish they had slowed down, worked less and spent more time enjoying family, friends and fun activities. Don’t let this be you. Regrets are a waste. Do the things that bring you joy and happiness everyday.

This special celebration was inspired by the memory of my mother, Mildred S. Morris, who would have turned 100 years old on August 9, 2010 (she passed at age 92 in 2002.) She spent her life making people happy with her music. She played piano and organ from childhood through her mid 80’s for many churches, organizations and events. Everyone who ever heard her play was touched by her lively and fervent style.

I invite you to join me in celebrating Color Your Life Happy Day on August 9th. Then between August 10th-15th send me a photo or video of how you celebrated to my email at flora@florabrown.com

You may choose to enjoy a simple pleasure such as taking time off to read a neglected book. You may join the courageous who use this day to get control of the clutter that has been making them very unhappy.

I’m thinking of creating a new vegetable garden or maybe I’ll do some long-neglected scrapbooking.

So get busy thinking of how you will celebrate “Color Your Life Happy Day.” Then on August 9th take a picture showing how you celebrated. Email it to me at flora@florabrown.com with your name, activity, and city/state/country. I will post all entries on my blog and Facebook.

I’m looking forward to the wonderful array of celebrations.

Practical Happiness Tip: Take One Small Step

Rome2007Whenever you think of making a change in your life, the biggest obstacle is trying to make it in one leap.

Although it’s said that we should think with the end in mind, thinking of it as one step will block your progress and threaten your happiness. You are much more likely to succeed and feel gratified if you can think of one small step, one tiny move that will start your journey. Then take it.

That one small successful step boosts your self-esteem and gives you confidence to take the next one.

On his blog, Work Happy Now, Karl Staib talks about this in his article Loving What You Do is An Ongoing Process when he suggests letting go of a fixed perspective and asking yourself how you can improve by 1%.

Setting out to improve your job, your relationships or your life by just 1% at a time is so much easier to visualize and easy to do. Instead of making you fearful it is encouraging and in line with the way change occurs anyway.

If you’ve ever watched a plant, a child or a project grow, you know that the day-to-day changes are so tiny that they are imperceptible. And yet, you know that little by little they are progressing toward full growth.

Every idea, plan, dream has a first small step. Even if your goal is big one, it still has a small first step. Learn to respect that small step and congratulate yourself for taking it.

What is your big plan, dream, goal?

Whether your goal is getting a job, starting your own business, attracting a life partner, writing a book, traveling or some other wonderful thing, the progress toward it is the same. One small step.

The small step may be just gathering information, completing a phone call or application, talking to someone who is doing what you want to do or making an outline.

The ancient proverb “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” has survived for centuries not because is colorful, but because it is an encouraging reminder of the slow and steady progress it takes to accomplish meaningful and impressive work. (As a matter of fact, when I visited Rome, it was still undergoing construction.)

What one small step can you take toward your change, goal, plan today?

Five Ways to Increase Your Happiness and Success

adaToday I received an newsletter from Doug Stevenson of Story Theater International Inc. in which he spells out lessons he learned as an actor that helped him succeed in business. As I was absorbing his key points, it occurred to me that his lessons could apply to life happiness as well.

Based on some of the points shared by Doug I created this list of five ways to increase your life happiness and success.

1. Go after what you want often

Actors who want to work must audition frequently. They actively look for roles and try out countless times facing rejection before landing roles.

Likewise, you have you must try out many ways to reach your goals. If returning to school is your goal, for example, you must get up the courage to seek the right school, apply and once accepted, begin taking classes that offer challenges and much work over perhaps a number of years.

If you tell me that you want to own a restaurant one day, I expect to see you devoting a lot of your time to working in a restaurant, taking classes in culinary skills, restaurant management and networking with other restaurant owners.

If one path to your goal is blocked or inaccessible, continually look for other avenues to your success.

2. Avoid sabotaging your own success.

One of my friends is very skilled at playing the piano and wants to one day play with a band. But she keeps thinking of reasons a career in music might not work out for her. Her fears lead to lack of confidence which leads to hesitance to go after gigs that could move her toward her goal.

Her negative self-talk builds up to a crescendo that sabotages her own success before anyone else gets the chance.

Doug tells in his newsletter about a time when he thought he was wrong for a role. He had to psych himself up for the audition and trust his agent. As it turns out, the director was casting against type. So Doug was right, he wasn’t the type for the role, but he was wrong in assuming that they were looking for the typical.

As you keep exploring your options you will eventually move closer to your success. Are you talking yourself out of going for your goals? Are you rejecting yourself before anyone else has the chance?

3. Respect your role

In every cast, group, family and company there will be many roles. Each role is vital to making the whole work.

When I was writing my book, Color Your Life Happy, I would sometimes to begin to feel intimidated when I looked at all the books on happiness filling the shelves at the bookstore.

“What could my book possibly add to the field?” I lamented to my coach.

He would then remind me that no matter how many books are on the market, no one could tell my message but me. And, somewhere in the world someone was waiting to hear what I had to say about creating happiness, abundance and inner joy. Thus, there even though there are thousands of books, my book had its role and its place.

Regardless of your position in a company you play an important role. Every part in the support system helps to hold up the whole structure.

Recognize that your role, small or big, contributes to the success of the whole. Then give your all to that role. Even if you are in a job that you consider a steppingstone to your dream job, do your best work with enthusiasm and integrity. You are building the foundation for your success.

4. Build your relationships with others in the drama called Your Life.

Be careful not to view the people you pass on your path to success as collateral damage. Build relationships with the coworkers and others you meet. Some will be in your life for a short time, never to be seen again.

Others will become colleagues, partners or leads in other projects and endeavors.

You won’t necessarily be drawn into close friendships with everyone you meet, but be kind and cooperate when working together.

5. Show up for the performance.

Woody Allen said “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Show up in your life by actively going after your goals, attending events that interest you and getting engaged with activities that inspire and encourage you.

If you have an idea, try it out. If it fails or doesn’t work out, try something else.

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. He was fired from his first two jobs for being non-productive. As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.

When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Think of the sun as the spotlights on your stage of life awaiting your arrival each morning. You can’t be sure how you will be received by the world, but you can ensure your own happiness and success by showing up and giving your best performance.