I believe to my core that you can fail your way to an inspired life.
I believe this because it’s my story.
Maybe it’s best if we start with an UNinspired life.
This was me for a lot of my life.
It’s existing, but not really living.
It’s going through the motions.
It’s living a passionless existence.
A complete lack of enthusiasm in your day to day.
It’s taking the path of least resistance when you know you have more to offer.
We’ve all been there.
I used to drink too much.
I might still drink too much.
Admitting that you drink too much is this scary thing because there is such a stigma to the word “alcoholic.”
I wish there wasn’t.
Maybe then it would be easier for people to get help without worrying about what people think.
Drinking 10 plus drinks on a night out used to be pretty commonplace for me in college and my early to mid-20’s.
Now having a few beers a couple days per week will leave me with cobwebs in the AM.
I try to stick to that as a max.
I don’t always succeed.
Nearly every bad situation I have been in my life has been because of drinking.
Many stories that I’ve never told anyone.
Many stories I’ve stored so deep in the annals of my mind never to be found again.
In my early 20’s, I would have extended blackout periods.
As the night of drinking was coming to an end, I would “come to” in unrecognizable places being completely lost.
At 22, I lived in a bedroom the size of a closet in the East Village in New York City.
After an evening of drinking with coworkers, I “came to” in a big, grassy field at 6:30am.
I had my wallet, but not my phone.
I knew one thing, this was definitely not New York City.
I finally see a cab, but not the traditional yellow NYC cabs.
This one was white with green writing on it.
I run after it and catch it at a stop light.
What? No. No. No. No.
I went to an ATM and pulled out $80 for that cab back to Manhattan.
Equivalent to ¼ of my bank account at the time.
I didn’t carry cash, didn’t have a metrocard and didn’t have any credit card transactions showing that I took a cab or train to NJ.
I still don’t know how or why I ended up there. And no, nothing was beaten, sore or bruised physically.
Just empty space.
And this is just one story of many.
The sad part is that I used to think these stories were funny.
Great stories to tell hanging out with my friends.
They are sad.
And really scary.
And it sucks to share them now.
But, it’s like Eminem battles Papa Doc at the end of 8 Mile.
Let’s get all of the embarrassing and shameful things on the table now, so you can’t say I’m not real later.
And being real matters.
Laying my flaws out on the table isn’t easy, but it is liberating.
Showing others that it’s okay to be a little messed up.
That it’s okay to share real life and not just the highlight reel.
I’ve put my life at risk many, many times.
Many situations that could have ended my life.
Waking up in NJ was one of them.
Many times alcohol was not involved in these potentially fatal moments.
I was a front-seat passenger in a car that hit a tree head on going 50 mph without airbags.
After impact, I knew I had gone blind.
Lost my eyesight.
My absolute worst fear come true.
My eyes were wide open, but everything was black sitting in the mangled early 90’s SUV.
I even told the first responders that I had gone blind.
Sheer panic swept over me.
It happened to be a bad concussion.
Light and vision slowly started to return when I found myself in the back of an ambulance.
I had a clean break of my left wrist which I used to brace for impact.
A year later, I flipped my Chevy Cavalier on I-20 East.
I was heading home to Atlanta from Birmingham after my freshman year of college at Samford University.
The car hydroplaned and drifted into a siderail, flipped upside down and slid into the side cabin of an 18-wheeler.
I crawled out of that unrecognizable car completely unscathed.
I should be dead.
I have taken my life for granted.
Way more than any person should.
For a long time, I glanced over these incidents as bad luck.
Just being young and stupid.
That was always the excuse.
Bury it deep in my mind, never think about it again and just move on.
Whether you believe in a higher power or not, I’m still on this planet for a reason.
And it’s not to take my life for granted.
It’s not to drift through life uninspired.
To do work that doesn’t truly matter to me.
To make more and more money just to buy things I don’t actually like or need.
Just so I can impress people I don’t really care for.
It’s to help those that have had the struggles I have faced.
The struggle to believe in myself.
The struggle to love myself.
The struggle to stop being so hard on myself.
The struggle to be open and vulnerable about my hardships.
The struggle to break the chains from the status quo.
From this conventional, cookie-cutter existence that we are force fed since childhood.
It’s to help people, regardless of their track record, live a more inspired life.
My track record was terrible.
It doesn’t matter.
I didn’t quit.
It’s to help people have a life that you can look back on, in your final days, with a smile.
Not with a feeling of regret.
Of wishing you had just gone for it.
Of looking back and seeing how silly it was for you to be so scared of giving that dream a go.
The worst case scenario may seem terrifying now.
The true worst case scenario is sitting on your deathbed in regret.
Be able to look back knowing that you pursued your greatest life.
It’s the reason that I have made a shift from what I would consider a self-serving advertising business to helping others that have endured this uninspired existence for long enough.
And I’ll be honest.
Not everyday is super inspiring right now.
And it’s not supposed to be.
It’s supposed to be hard and I have to learn to enjoy the process.
*My Recurring Growth Cycle — Going From Failing to Inspiring*
My journey has led me through a constant cycle of failing my way to living this inspired existence.
Each cycle begins with this process of truly DECIDING.
The dissatisfaction in your current circumstance prompts a line in the sand moment propelling you to change.
I hit this point when I decided to leave my 9 to 5.
I hit this point when I decided to leave my advertising company.
Each time, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do.
And it didn’t really matter.
And it doesn’t matter for you either.
You won’t ever have the perfect roadmap before you DECIDE.
From deciding to make a change, you have to start CREATING.
This stage is all about when I actually start building my new future.
It’s when I realize that there is no “perfect business,” and start experimenting before getting really dialed in and focused.
I’m in this stage now.
I’ve picked the project of Fail On.
It’s not a business yet and that’s okay.
I’m experimenting in finding my voice.
I run a podcast that is built out for the rest of the year.
I’m working on building systems to automate everything other than the actual recording.
I am experimenting and rediscovering the joy I have for writing.
Technically and structurally, I have no idea what I’m doing.
And “real writers” would attest to that, I’m sure.
But, I’m enjoying it.
And others are enjoying it.
Not everyday is going to be rainbows and butterflies.
As mentioned, my belief is that “you can fail your way to an inspired life.”
For most of this journey, I reside in the “fail your way” part of that statement.
It’s not all failure though.
You are going to create, make mistakes and learn from them.
You will have wins too.
When you start creating and start making focused mistakes you have hit the FAIL stage of your journey.
You will go back and forth between CREATE and FAIL.
You get constant feedback and learn what is working and what is not.
It’s going to be hard.
You will want to quit.
You won’t though because you have already DECIDED that there’s no other option.
You can only forge ahead.
The key to breaking out of the FAIL stage of the cycle, for me, has been something I call Focused Failure.
I am perfectly content with failing in one direction.
It means I have absolute focus on one objective.
Failing gets really difficult, and often insurmountable, when I am failing in more than one area.
We often don’t even realize how scattered we are.
My true breakthroughs in life have occurred after exercising this concept of Focused Failure.
As you are iterating between CREATE and FAIL, you next hit the BELIEVE stage of the journey.
No one ever achieved anything on their own.
[Insert here all networking quotes]
“Your network is your net worth.”
“You are the average of the five people closest to you…”
And so on.
There’s a reason you know all these sayings.
Your network matters.
Who you spend the most time with matters.
Finding people who have already achieved what you want to achieve matters.
When things get tough, and they always get tough, you need a support system and community to lift you up.
The MastermindTalks community is doing that for me right now on this new journey.
I get more comments and messages from MMT friends than I do from my “personal life.”
Once you get through this gauntlet and out on the other side, you reach INSPIRE.
At INSPIRE, you leave a legacy.
You pay it forward.
You have an obligation to help others at this stage, in my opinion.
And although INSPIRE is the last stage of the cycle, you are an inspiration throughout the journey.
A journey most people never go on.
But you are a DECIDER.
And most people never DECIDE.