When Failure is Success


Costa Rica, 2007, www.carolineallen.com

A great many people I coach, myself included, have had to go backwards to go forwards in their careers as writers/artists. I find this true when it comes to many of the arts, failure in one way is the success one needs to become the artist they were always meant to be.

In my own life, I had a successful journalism career at newsrooms in Tokyo and London. I worked as a travel writer through Asia. I had status, excitement and cash. When the call came for me to give up my focus on the external world, to follow my own soul’s expression, it felt on the outside like a failure. I knew I needed to write fiction, write every day, and work at least at first in “dumb jobs” so that I’d have the energy to be a novelist. But I still felt the pressures and opinions of others when I gave up journalism.

And even after years as a fiction writer (with no status and no cash) other people still perceive my former journalism career as a success and my current life as a bit of a failure. In fact, someone made a comment just the other day. I’m writing about it here to purge it…because that kind of thing does get under my skin and I need it out of me.

But let me stress, I KNOW I’m on the right path. It’s just difficult to convince some people who come to me for coaching that yes this fragility, this humility, this lack of external validation on a daily basis IS what your spirit wants and needs. The artistic life IS the happiness you’ve been seeking. It is so opposite what society tells us we should be that it seems wrong.

And then as you explore yourself, as you express yourself, you have the overt and not-so-overt jealousy of other people who have chosen worldwide “success”, who see you glowing and cannot understand it, cannot stand it. They think: Look, I’m doing what I’m told and I’m not happy. Why does she get to be happy? Why?

This is why I coach and teach. The more people I can help find their authentic path and live it, the fewer people there are out there who are unhappy and who are consciously or unconsciously projecting their unhappiness onto others.

Have the courage to fail! It may be the greatest success you’ve ever known.

Contact me for a free writing coaching initial consultation. We’ll discuss your writing life, your dreams and how I work. www.artofstorytellingonline.com

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