I feel the need to stop here a moment and have a frank talk with all of you about failure. Why? Because I just suffered a pretty good sized disappointment. Short version: Last Friday, I found myself booted out a year-long Future Leaders training program with Pure Romance for failing to meet one of the requirements. I could offer up understandable explanations for my shortcoming, but in the end, none of them really matter. I missed the mark. It happens. It happens by oversight, by accident, out of negligence, confusion, unrealistic expectation, on and on. Failure is a part of life.
This isn’t the first time I’ve failed big time and honestly, it has been one of the least painful all things considered. Here are a couple of case studies:
The Candidacy Review – My first year of graduate school, I epically crashed and burned my first review for my degree. I went in totally confident, left totally confident and walked up to totally confident to the advisor who told me I hadn’t actually passed. I had done everything I thought I was supposed to do, but still failed. This was the day that I learned it is indeed possible to cry for 6 hours straight. I put myself to be that night at 8 because I couldn’t stand my own tears anymore.
The Gold Standard Program – Oh, Gold Standard, how you broke my tiny heart. I can’t even remember what year this was, but a few back, I was in a different Pure Romance training program. I did all the course work, read the book, showed up at a monthly classes for 6 months, met all the retail minimums and yet….I could not for the life of me recruit the final consultant I needed for my sponsoring requirement. I begged, I offered bribes, I did everything. I just couldn’t get that last person. So, all the rest of the work was for naught. I didn’t graduate. Tears this time lasted a mere two hours.
Needless to say, I know failure. I’m pretty darn good at it. This time around, I didn’t even cry. Not much anyway.
Learning from failure
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s the old line, right? Learn from your mistakes. Nothing risked. Nothing gained. Blah, blah, blah. Feeling better yet? Yeah, me neither.
Friday night after receiving the email about being dropped from the program, I sent my direct sales mentor April no less that 4 desperate texts & messages. ARE YOU HOME? ARE YOU AT A PARTY? x2 A 15 year veteran of direct sales, I knew that she knew this experience inside and out. She’s the one that told me the mythical story of the Diamond Mary Kay ring of Debt (which you should totally read about BTW). I imagine her sitting on a mountain sometimes wearing saffron robes and surrounded by Lemongrass spa foot baths parceling out her wisdom. She’s that good.
She finally got back to me the next morning with OH MY GOODNESS! ARE YOU OKAY?!
By this time, I had gotten a bit of perspective. Namely: I realized that
I wanted to be in and graduate from the program simply for the sake of being able to say that I had been in it.
Like my friend’s diamond ring, the thing itself wasn’t personally meaningful or useful to me.
The only SUCCESS that matters
Don’t get me wrong, rewards are great. Trips are great. Recognition for your achievements and training are great. Diamonds are definitely great (or so, DeBeers tells us). They’re not the things that ultimately matter though. I’ve said it before: only your own dream will do. All the diamonds and trips and titles in the world don’t mean a thing if you aren’t accomplishing your personal goals too.
What do you want to achieve personally? Is it paying off debt? Supporting your family? Bringing amazing products and education into people’s homes? Saving the world one bedroom at a time? Focus on those things.
I see now, looking at these carrots of company incentives that they’re very finite, very small pinpoint moments in time. You get them and in a blink, they’re over and gone or everyone has forgotten about them. The real goals you have – the one’s about changing your life and lives of people around you – they’re ongoing, lasting. You don’t really ever fail at those because they’re a process, a journey, a constant work in progress, and a way of life.
When you shoot for the goals that really matter, that make a difference, there is no failure. There’s only keep trying and as long as you are, you will always be a success.