Just recently I was sharing some good news with a friend of mine. I was excited to tell her about a project I was working on and how life-changing it would be for me.
As I gave her more details on the project, I noticed her smiling and asked her what was up. She admitted that she has always admired and respected my drive. She said from the time she’s known me, I have always been busy doing something or trying to improve myself. I have to admit, that felt really good to hear. But, when she said it seemed like I never failed, I couldn’t stop laughing. In fact, I’m still laughing.
I wondered if other people thought the same thing – that I had it all together and never had any losses. Her comment sparked a conversation and I’m happy to share what I said to her with all of you.
When you see my success, you see what I want you to see. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my failures. It’s just that I don’t harp on them because they don’t define me.
I’ve been very fortunate to have a great life and career. In fact, I think I have one of the most diverse careers in this country. Sure, my life is good now. But, it hasn’t always been flawless or without failure.
I’ve Lost A Lot
I’ve been fired. I’ve been evicted from my apartment. I’ve had my car repossessed. I lost my health insurance and a month later was told I needed surgery like yesterday. I’ve lost money, I’ve had things stolen from me. I was on the brink of a divorce, my brother was murdered, I had a strained relationship with my father.
I’ve been depressed and at times, entertained thoughts of suicide. I’ve been rejected many times. The first screenplay I wrote was rejected. I recently wrote a play and it wasn’t picked up. I’ve been nominated for tons of awards and lost. In the words of one of my favourite reggae artists, Buju Banton, I could go on and on, the full has never been told.
I wasn’t always a woman of faith. God and I weren’t as tight as we are now. So, I can tell you that I never understood why those things were happening to me. In the natural, those were major losses. But, God allowed those losses to happen so that I can experience and appreciate the wins. He knows why He allows things to happen. Looking back now, I see it, too.
Being fired pushed me into entrepreneurship (something I’d wanted for years). Being evicted forced me to build my townhome with my own funds. Having my car repossessed forced me to save towards future vehicles, thus eliminating the bank altogether. Losing my health insurance (which was tied to one of my jobs), made me get insurance on my own. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of people in my life. Being close to divorce forced my husband and I take greater stock of the things that matter and repair our relationship. My brother’s murder brought my family closer than we’ve ever been and love made me give my father another chance to make amends.
I no longer allow myself to go to dark spaces. I surround myself with positivity and light and people who make me happy.
It’s All Part Of The Process
Professionally, I realise that rejection is part of the process to greatness (Madonna, U2, JK Rowling and even Beyonce were all rejected). Look who and where they are today. I’m in great company and I know that God has so much more just waiting for me.
I’m happy to tell all of you these things because things are never as they seem. Life is filled with highs and lows. You can’t appreciate the highs if you haven’t been low.
We have to stop looking at failure as anything more than a learning opportunity. At least, if you’re smart you’ll learn from the losses.
So, when you see me on TV, in the newspaper or being profiled in some magazine, don’t think that’s a woman who always has it together. No. What you’re seeing is a woman who works damned hard to get what she wants and refuses to let a couple of losses define her.