Redefining Failure

It’s about time.

Like a car, with a dying engine, sputtering. Stopping and starting. And stopping again. Before finally, coming to a complete stop. The life had been completely sucked out of me. No matter what I did, it always fell short.

I had spent the past 3 years of my life working on making LiFE come alive. But somehow, it still wasn’t good enough.

I had created a haven — LiFE was a 2-storey boutique yoga studio and café overlooking greenery with art-splashed walls, music, signature flows and a superfood bar.

Called a home by many, it was definitely a happy place. I had poured my heart and soul in creating the concept, for the space and products to be all things life-giving and affirming.

Tirelessly, I worked at putting up the systems that would support this — from back-end operations and leading teams which consisted of management, teachers and staff.

From the outside, it looked like it was teeming with life. We were working on launching original classes and a new superfood bar for the mind, body and soul. The community was building and the excitement was mounting.

But it was all about to come tumbling down.

LiFE was a space. An actual physical space built for people to heal, shed old layers and essentially become happier, shinier versions of themselves.

In the midst of it all, I had completely forgotten to hold space for myself. I brushed aside and pushed away all the other crucial pieces of my life, including family, friends and doing what I love.

I focused all my energy on one thing and one thing alone. That was to make sure this dream stays alive.

I wasn’t about to let it backfire. I had given my word. People had invested in me. Others were building careers with the company.

Everybody around me knew about this venture. How could I let it fail? My ego was completely stuck in the process.

You see, at the height of it all, I estranged myself from my family for about a year. I brazenly thought I could do it alone when I didn’t get the moral support I felt entitled to.

In hindsight, it was like trying to run a marathon with a missing leg.

I was so completely sucked dry that I couldn’t afford to face people, much less open myself up to teach in my own place.

I was carrying the whole business on my shoulders while missing my heart.

Frantically, I grasped at what I could. This neediness pushed others away. I was empty at my core and so I decided to fix myself from the outside-in.

I poured myself into fixing up the studio, placing in new art and music, adding products and devising new ways to communicate this.

When this didn’t work, I sought the help of industry experts, spending loads of resources and digging myself into a deeper hole.

When not in alignment with self, everything else follows suit.

What’s on the outside is just a reflection, after all.

I had stuck a band-aid over the pain and hoped it would go away. Only, the world I was in would not let me forget.

I distinctly remember the day when it all came crashing down.

We were preparing to launch. For a few months now, we had been working underground in order to communicate the new classes and concepts through quite a unique approach.

We had a big campaign ready. Videos, articles, graphics and a whole bunch of things lined up, just waiting to be published.

Media and PR outlets were on standby in order to get the launch out far and wide. Even the place looked brand new. The excitement from within was palpable.

Then I saw the numbers.

And for the very first time in years, I felt something break inside me.

The façade I had been keeping up for so long came crashing down.

I believed I was in control, defiantly meeting any setback head on.

I forgot to listen. I forgot to flow.

The next few weeks were a blur.

Somehow, it felt like we got caught in crosshairs.

We were shutting down but were still getting featured in the news. New students were rolling in. New classes were being tested. New furniture being delivered.

That it was confusing time would be putting it mildly.

I ran. Well, maybe not physically at first but I mentally checked out.

Closing the business was far more excruciating than any of the stress I had encountered in the past.

I looked on as refunds were given out with money we did not earn, only to find all the theft that had been happening from within.

I sat there as I tried to get the teachers and staff together, only to encounter the wrenching heartbreak that only betrayal from those you trust can bring.

I watched as everyone fell away. Those I had devoted my time, energy and love to. Those I had seen the potential in when I did not see it in myself. Those who, I thought were my friends.

When everything comes crashing down, you realize that the ground is there when you hit it.

I didn’t realize that ground means family. Also, friends, who are family.

It’s those that are there when you hit rock bottom that truly matter.

And it’s on these foundations that you build on again.

It’s on this love that you build on again.

There’s something about having your heart cracked open that just leaves you completely… real.

Real and open. Broken open.

When you’re open, life begins to flow through you.

There’s a deep stigma that comes with failing. It’s something that’s not usually talked about — like some form of disgrace, to be kept hidden in the cupboard. Only to see the light of day when told from the vantage point of success.

I always thought that I needed to wait until I had something to show for before writing again, before communicating again. Who wants to hear about all the messy, nasty stuff that goes on behind-the-scenes?

I see that this is what makes the journey. This is what gives it depth. And, this is what makes it real.

It’s about time we start redefining failure. It’s about time we get comfortable with not knowing, with the unknown.

It means that we’re sitting at the edge of our comfort zone.

It’s been half a year and I’m still closing this form of the business. I did mean it when I said that it’s not the end.

It’s time for transformation.

I had an inkling back then on what the next chapter would be.

It had to do with that — an alchemy of sorts.

Transformation. Life itself.