I’m a failure and I’ve never been more proud

Nearing winter in 2015, I sat amongst 20 some-odd beautiful yogis.

It was our final philosophy discussion in our teacher training program.

Alex, one of the training leaders, asked us to take five minutes and complete the following sentence:

“I am…”

Then we went around the room and shared our answers.

In this moment, I realized humans are so much more than the labels we put on ourselves.

Labels give us meaning, identity, and purpose. The words we call ourselves dictate the way we show up in the present moment. They also describe the way we view our past and look to the future.

Labels aren’t everything. They don’t even have to be anything if you don’t want them to.

Today, I declare myself a failure.

Yet I’ve never been more proud to call myself a failure.

I’ve screwed up so many times in my humble 26 years of living.

I’ve messed up relationships big time.

Once, I sent an email to a boss, a colleague and a friend telling them to “f*** off.”

I’ve shown up to situations with selfish intentions.

Once, I lied to someone just so she could promote me.

I’ve rejected people, places, and ideas in the blink of an eye.

Many times, this person was me. For being gay.

Today, I call myself a failure. Not out of pity.

I call myself a failure out of pride.

I’m failing right now. I might be writing and sharing something that’ll produce an abundance of guilt and shame in a few minutes.

I don’t care. I’ll keep failing in the future. That’s the only thing I can be assured of.

Wait… I thought Max was the guy who started a blog called “Your Success Launch?”

That’s right. He is.

In full transparency, it’s failed. That doesn’t mean I’m a failure. The blog failed in many ways, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure.

People tend to misuse the word failure. We tend to attach ourselves to the word “failure” when expectations don’t match reality.

I felt like a failure for being gay because my expectation was to be straight, therefore I was a failure.

In truth, I’m not the failure. The expectation I had to be straight was the fail.

There’s a difference between labeling yourself a failure versus the actual act that failed.

J.K Rowling… jobless and divorced within a few years of graduating college.

Steve Jobs… fired from the company he started.

Albert Einstein…. couldn’t speak fluently until the age of nine.

In truth, you and I aren’t failures. We are human beings learning and growing from our mistakes. Be proud to make hundreds, if not thousands of mistakes.

Don’t attach your identity to the failure. You are not the failure itself. The failure is separate from who you are.

Mistakes are only defined by one person.

That’s you.