This week I wrote about my feelings around selling the studio. Wrapped up tightly with all of those feelings is The F word. Failure, a deep feeling of failure. Writing about it and sharing it I've realized the word failure has become a really bad word in our society more tabu than another F word I know.
Talking about closing the studio with friends they are quick to tell me that I didn't fail. God forbid I failed at a really big thing I did. They are all quick to point out what I did build and what I learned in the processes. That is great I did build something and it's going to continue on for the time being, but I did also fail at what I set out to do. I know that friends don't want their friends to hurt and the words come from an abundance of good intentions. I should be clear here, I'm not saying I'm a failure, I'm saying I failed. There is a difference. The problem is that ignoring that a failure happened is the equivalent of giving all children a medal in sports. Lessons come from failure, from not getting it right, the first time or maybe even the 10th time. There is so much to learn in Failure.
I'm very uncomfortable not labeling things what they are.
And, normally I hate it when you read something that quotes the dictionary. I find it obnoxious, but it's necessary here so stay with me.
Webster's dictionary defines the word Fail or Failure as the following
-A lack of success
-A falling short
-To be deficient in
-To leave undone.
My intention when I opened Greensboro Downtown Yoga was to create a Vinyasa studio that taught the type of sweaty fun vinyasa flow yoga that I learned how to teach at the Asheville Yoga Center. I wanted to create a studio that I wanted to take yoga from and I wanted to build a business that would make enough money where I could quit my full time corporate job support myself only teaching yoga, leading workshops and retreats. I did not accomplish this goal. I did build a yoga studio, but it seemed that the majority of folks coming to the studio in the long term didn't want the type of yoga studio that I had set out to create, they wanted something different so it didn't become the kick butt sweaty vinyasa studio I had imagined and dreamed of which is fine, but that was the first failure of the studio. The second is that I wasn't able to build it into what I had hoped financially speaking. I failed in both of my main goals, they meet the Webster's definition of failure, lack of success, to disappoint, to leave undone. Failure in my opinion is a great, wonderful, important thing. We need to allow ourselves to try and not hit the mark because it means we tried. I believe that by calling it what it is we grow and can fully embrace the lesson.
My boyfriend says that the only time one fails is if you don't give something your all. I know where he is coming from with that statement, but for me it misses the lesson that failure has to give us. Yes I learned from the endeavor of opening a business, built community, created a welcoming space for folks to feel good about being in their bodies. I'd like to think I'm a good yoga teacher and through my classes I helped people feel more in touch with themselves. But, I did still fail in the goals I set out to achieve. There will be many time when we fail to achieve what we set out to do even after giving it our all and I think the lesson is in naming it what it actually is.
Knowing that I failed this time is part of what will drive me to try again, and strive to get it right the next time. The next goal might not be the same provided what I learned this time and I think I've learned I don't necessarily want to open and run a yoga studio, but I do want to try again in business. I do want to try to create a thriving business that will still incorporate some yoga, workshops, retreats and coaching. This failure will drive me to try again. You know what they say, "if at first you don't succeed". Right? I'll try again, and again, and again until I find the combination that get's it right. And I'll keep using and embracing the F word.
When do you use the F word? When was the last time you felt like you experienced failure? Did it motive you to try again? I'd love to know please share in the comment section below.