Epic Fail

A couples weeks ago, I posted a short little video called I Am. (You can watch it here if you haven't seen it:  https://www.facebook.com/rachelhigginsonauthor/videos/1029539730497571/ )

It was a collage of all these different things that I am.. Like a mother and a wife and a sister. And a writer, a speaker, a blogger.

And that I'm always late.

Let's just acknowledge that one.

The video also had a clip of me saying that I am a failure.

It went on to say that I am a success as well.

But the failure part really captured people's attention. I had a flood of messages/comments from concerned readers encouraging me away from this idea of "failure." They gave me virtual hugs and promised that I wasn't a failure. They reminded me of all the things I've accomplished and how far I've come.

I felt so loved. And more than that it reconfirmed my opinion that I have the best readers in the entire world.


My readers are phenomenal, loving, sweet people that are always there to lift me up and make me feel like a rock star.

I don't take that for granted. I can't. It means too much to me.

(Especially when I'm late so often and you still wait for my books!)

But the outpouring of support got me to thinking about the source. This idea of failure. And how quickly people were to jump in and reassure me that I wasn't a failure.

Like failure is a bad thing.

Like admitting failure is embarrassing or less than.

I can admit that sometimes it is. Honestly, it sucks to fail. There is nothing quite like the way the heart wrenches with disappointment and skin flushes red with humiliation. Failure has a way of snaking around our insides and attaching itself to our self worth, squeezing us until we feel like there's nothing left.

It's one of the hardest things we have to face.

And one of the most debilitating.

Failure can cripple dreams and stunt growth. It ruins self confidence and taints our opinions of ourselves.

Or it can.

It certainly doesn't have to. After all, we get to be in control. We get to decide our feelings and thoughts and perception of ourselves and of this world.

We don't have to let failure define us. We don't have to let it dictate our emotions or direct our futures.

Instead of letting failure feel like failure... we could let it be motivation.

And experience.

And wisdom.

Growth. Maturity. Drive.

Part of the journey.


I am absolutely blessed that people can look at me now and believe I am not a failure, but a success. That is such a huge moment in my life. One I have been working toward for a very long time.

But there is no way I would be where I am today without the culmination of an incredible amount of failures along the way.

And I mean that.

In fact, I'm to the point in my life where if I do something right first, if I don't fail and learn from countless mistakes, then I feel disappointed.

I worry about what I haven't learned and what I'm missing and if I'll be able to figure it out next time because I truly didn't understand the process and got lucky.

Failure is part of my overarching process. It's the tool I use to stay on track and push me forward with drive, purpose and destination.

To be honest, when I started writing ten years ago, I thought I had failed at life in general. I found myself pregnant, grieving the recent death of my father and fired from an internship that was supposed to launch my career (Because I was pregnant).

I had nothing left. All of my dreams were killed before I could really even try for them.

So I thought why not see if I could write a book. I couldn't do anything else. I was stuck in that place that tasted and felt and looked a whole lot like failure. I didn't plan on anything coming from writing other than a break from the depressing thoughts of what my life should be like. But I needed therapy. Badly. And writing had always been that for me.

What's funny to me, is that writing is now so deeply buried in my bones it's part of how I define myself. What I perceived as failure before was really the stepping stones to a bigger destiny.

In losing myself so completely... I found myself.

And the person I found, I liked a whole lot better than the one I left behind.

Then again when I tried to get traditionally published for four years and instead got nothing but hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities for rejection, that also felt like failure. Rejection and failure go hand in hand and with every form letter rejecting my work, I felt the sting of failure that much more acutely.

I could have given up.

Honestly, there were many times when I wanted to give up.

But because of that experience and the failure I couldn't escape, I  found self-publishing. Which in turn shaped my life and made a career out of this thing I loved so much. It changed everything for me.

And when I couldn't get people to buy my book, I put it for free- again, stamping my decision with a giant FAILURE over the top. I had dedicated years to this book(Reckless Magic). I had poured my heart and soul and dreams into this book and now I was going to give it away for free as if my hard work meant nothing.

Except it wasn't failure. It wasn't anything like that. Instead of finding the rock bottom of every career goal I had ever had, it opened doors for people to find my book and discover my story and get to know me.

It tore the lid off of everything I thought publishing was and completely reshaped my definition of what it meant to be a success.

Of what it meant to succeed.

Through that failure I reached levels and goals I never thought I could get to.

Failure is a tricky little thing. Everyone defines it differently according to our personal standards. Some of us have harsher standards than others, but all of us let it whisper lies and manipulate us into thinking we're less than. That we can't measure up. That we haven't got what it takes.

When in truth, failure is really the catalyst to bigger things. We find our most honest self in the midst of our mistakes. Our goals and dreams and integrity are hammered out in the fires of failure as we see the truth in who we are and what we really want out of life.

Failure isn't a death sentence.

Failure is a tool we can use to reach our next achievement.

When I say that I'm a failure, I say it with pride. Because it means I tried. I tried hard. I showed up for life and gave it everything I have.

And yeah, sometimes it's hard to think of it like that. No matter how many times I fail it still hurts like hell.. But just because something hurts, doesn't mean it's not good for you.

Failure is as much success as it is the opposite. As long as you don't give up. As long as you let it be a tool and not a definition. As long as you demand thick skin and soul resilience. Because you are stronger than failure.

You are stronger than failing.

You are strong enough to make failure what it's meant to be- the beginning of success.

So wear it with pride and say it confidently, I am a failure.

And I am also a success.


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