Michael in Growth 10 minutes

Failure the Catalyst

“We don’t take credit cards, only cash.”

It was November 2009, and I was locked into “Project: Have a Third Child”. Part of the deal I made with my wife is that we could offset some of the hardships of having another child by doing some things for ourselves. This translated partly into changing our half bath into a full bath and completely redoing the furniture and decorating of our master bedroom.

As with most home projects, reality quickly surpassed our budget. That was OK. I was going to use my credit card. Nevermind that I promised myself I would never use it in this manner…this totally frivolous remodeling project was an emergency! I would pay it off, I promised. I just needed to get through this.

My plumber dug a hole in our foundation, extended the toilet drain to what would be the shower, and charged me a hefty sum to do it.

And he only took cash.

As did the tile guys and the painter. Crap.

The inevitable occurred. I overdrafted our checking account and our finances went into a tailspin that took us a few weeks to get out of.

My wife and I awoke to how totally out of control and useless our current financial system had been. Some major changes were on the horizon. But these changes had a beginning in failure. At the time failure seems so terrible, so awful, that nothing good can come out of it. But in reality failure is often a catalyst for change.

When you fail by it is the catalyst for
losing your job putting yourself on the right path to meet your goals, with the options wide open
a marital separation or affair finding or abandoning your true commitment to that person, which means there will no longer be a lukewarm relationship
a project failure at work understanding what will not work, so you can pursue what will work either for you or your organization
gaining weight reanalyzing your relationship with food and an active lifestyle and making changes

Failure feels terrible at the moment, but it really is a wonderful blessing because it is the only catalyst I know of for real success. I haven’t yet been able to believe this enough to make failure suck any less, but it sure is nice to know while I’m going through it.