Resilience in the face of failure is easier said than done. Let’s get that on the table right away. It matters that we understand that facing setback isn’t as easy as a lot of gurus would have you believe. With age, it also get’s harder. We’ve been worn down. The energy and psychological strength is taxed.
Following the blog, you’ve probably read about how I am in infertility treatment to have a child, starting at the age of 40. I’m one year in, and there is still no baby. I’ve suffered a miscarriage from a blighted ovum, a chemical pregnancy and a miss doing IUI. My first IVF treatment was this spring, and it netted two eggs, both with multiple abnormalities. The common denominator is me, as I am using donor sperm, and I’ve had to change that donor three times already (yes, that is a common thing in this kind of treatment because of the limits on family, which are a good thing). I’m real concerned my eggs are no good. I cry over this. I know I am not alone. That doesn’t help me resolve my issue.
Being open about the situation helps me a great deal. You might think it a source for greater pain. To this very moment, I still believe it helps. In only one aspect is it questioned: younger women offering their eggs. Do not get me wrong. These are people I consider good acquaintances, if not friends. I respect them. They are well meaning. Despite meaning well, their words remind me that all those years ago when I was listening to a ticking clock, I was right to be panicked, because my time WAS running out. They remind me of my age, and the dwindling hope of having biological offspring.
If a miscarriage and infertility weren’t enough, this late spring, my publisher closed it’s doors. I mostly faced the ordeal with a bright aspect. I came from independent publishing just a few years ago. Unlike many in my cohort, I am prepared to take on the challenge of doing this alone. Regardless, the stress rose. After a tough month, my books are all back out. I’ve gained a publicist, and I’ve retained my designer and regained my old editor. That is a huge win.
The time I spent with my publisher was well spent, even though I didn’t make any money on the sales of my books (recouping all my costs from self-publishing prior to signing and then the marketing). I consider that fair because what I learned was a crash course in marketing, which will run you thousands of dollars at any college, and years of your time. I still have a great deal to learn, but I am headed in a great direction. If I could have them back, intact and solvent, you bet I would, because I think it was a great plan that just needed more time and better investment.
The loss of my publisher did not help my stress considering the loss of my pregnancy. Those who have been through IVF or any kind of pregnancy are probably right to cite that stress is a killer, and I need to let that shit go. But, how? How do you just let go of things like this?
For one, these are both things that are out of my control. I believe that I will be just fine on the publishing front, despite the work of getting back up and running, as well as the up front cost for my team. That team is necessary, so I can’t just drop them or consolidate. The IVF is also expensive. So I am also freaking out about where it’s all coming from. Add in that my car started needing maintenance starting fall of last year, and I am getting a new one to avoid worse hits to the wallet, that adds a car payment to my responsibilities and higher insurance rates for a while. Sigh.
I could cave to depression. Yet. Again. These things are beyond my control. I have to deal with it as best as I can. Reacting to it in a negative manner (stressing out) is not going to help. It doesn’t make money appear. Instead, that stress can make you sick, and that can make more money disappear. Do I have to mention the ill affects on my IVF?
A leadership conference I recently had the benefit of taught about resilience. The main thing that came up was understanding that every project, every endeavor, will have obstacles. Of those obstacles, things that you can mark as failures (such as getting turned down by agents and publishers, your publisher closing, losing part of your team, miscarriage or abnormal embryos) should be expected. Certainly be thankful if one of your goals just falls in your lap, because that is a gift on which you can both rest and build. Easily attained goals may also crumble at a later time (such as getting picked up by a great publisher, and thinking you finally are set in that department). Even if the outcome doesn’t look like what you thought it should be, it was still a success that helped you rest and plan from. And that needs to be remembered. Each success, no matter how long or short lived, leaves clues to how to move onto the next success.
Do you have a plan? Are you willing to adapt your plan to meet the necessary changes obstacles are telling you you need? In life, the only constant is change. You might love your plan and think it’s brilliant, but recognizing where and when changes are necessary, is more brilliant. Great leaders are adaptable and resilient. Resilience relies on adaptability.
My other rules for resilience are the same for my rules as a leader. Think about it. You are the leader of your life. Here are the rules:
Integrity will help you to make good decisions for yourself, instead of falling into situations that could be dangerous. Empathy and compassion for yourself will insure you take care of yourself, such as taking the time to reduce stress and rest from the fight. Commitment will insure you get to the goal. It keeps you focused.
Principles of success are founded on courage, tenacity and reflection. You can surely see how these are mirrored in my rules of leadership.
Above all, consider the source when getting advice along your path. Not everyone in your life has your best interest in mind, no matter who they are. If the advice doesn’t line up with your values, then the advice is no good. What does it mean to compromise your values: does the advice threaten your position, status or office?
Resilience will be found in these rules, as well as the commitment to take any failure and analyze it, tweak your plan and then try again.
Don’t be afraid to own your failure. Failure is a teacher not a weakness. You don’t have to win to achieve your goal.
I hope this has been of help to you and that you’ll go forward with plan that you can apply to making you and your plans more resilient.