How do you define failure? Does it stop you or does it motivate you?
Here is my personal story relating to failure….and I want to start at the very beginning
I was born in Montreal, CA in November of 1988. I was born into a strong and tight-knit Italian family – a family that loved each other, worked hard for their dreams, and ate pasta every Sunday.
My dad was a civil engineer who opened his own business as a construction manager building houses and commercial buildings all over Montreal. My mom was a mathematician who gave up her career to take care of us when we were born. Both my parents were the symbol of strength -both in family and in business.
It was from my dad that I learned about the idea of being an entrepreneur, and it was also through my dad I saw the ups and the downs of owning your own business.
When the times were good, they were great! But if business was slow, especially with the declining economy of 1996 in Montreal, our family felt the financial struggle.
Finally in 1997, my family and I packed up all our possessions and moved to Canton, MA where my dad proceeded to start his business all over again, and where my mom continued to take care of us.
I went to my first public school in the USA – and experienced my first feelings of failure.
I was mercilessly teased and bullied, especially during gym class by one girl who went through every opportunity to poke fun at me and have the entire class make fun of how slow I would run around the track.
I felt like a complete worthless piece of garbage. I felt I didn’t belong or deserve a friend. I felt such pangs of failure as a person that I would find myself hating my life and wishing I could move back to Canada.
But, something in me started to grow….
In those dark times, I began to look at my feelings of failure not as a sign of quitting, but as proof of my strong character.
Our school held a race for all the grade levels….and when it came turn for my grade level, I was at the race line, competing head-to-head against the school bully….
During the race, with my bully being yards ahead of me, I started to feel the fire in my heart..telling myself over and over again “I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.” between gasps of breath. Before I knew it, I passed the school bully and crossed the finish line, earning first place in my grade level.
I was gasping and ready to die after – but the feeling of absolute victory felt absolutely new and beautiful….because I knew I overcame my failure stigma.
It was then I began to see failure not as a sign of stopping what I am doing, but as an incentive to try harder – and see where I can go. Failing was my motivation and it felt like a drug.
Failure always has a funny way of motivating me…
In my adult life, I continued to stumble into failure every single day….ranging from my intellectual skills to my weight gain while working a desk job.
Maybe it was all the Disney movies I watched as a kid…maybe it was me being so familiar with failure –
…but somehow in my heart, I knew that failure was just the Universe telling me to try again.
It was then my rock bottom stirred up a fiery angry warrior who refused to stop.
I began to eat better. I started to exercise regularly. I even began coaching other women who hit their rock bottom to fully embrace their failure and keep going.
Together we saw our failures not as badges of shame, but rather medals of war. Scars of battle.
If failure is like a scar, baby I am covered in them – from head to toe….and it was in failing that I realized how strong I was to keep going.