There is no other way to look at it. I am a failure.
I started a business 8 years ago but it was far from successful. We had good clients, we did good work, but we weren't able to scale it in any meaningful way. We basically just kept the doors open. We never got good at implementing all the systems and processes needed for stability and growth. And passion alone, as I learned, is not enough to keep a business functioning.
By all standard measurements that society provides and even some I set for myself, I am indeed a failure. I never made a lot of money. I didn't win any awards. And I seem to fail all the tests "they say" I need to pass - like having a business plan and writing down all my goals every year.
Passion was all I had. But after 4 years of slogging away, I ran out of it. I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. Any appearance of success or happiness was an act. And any energy I had left went into sustaining that act instead of trying to affect change. I'll never forget it. From September 2005 to December 2005 I was the closest I've ever been to depression. I may have even been there.
It was then that I learned the most valuable lesson of my life. Failure you can do alone but success always takes help. I could no longer try to be successful alone.
My closest friends could tell I wasn't my old self. They knew something was up and they worried. My friend Kendra Coppey, in particular, came to my aid (not so ironically, her WHY is to help people live the life they want to live and she even started a company to help people do it).
It was the people around me who knew me best, who valued me in their lives not for what I had achieved (or hadn't achieved) but for who I was. Kendra was one of the first who told me that I inspired her. That word, the thing she said she valued most about me in her life, in turn, inspired me. The more people I asked "why are you friends with me?" the more people told me "because you inspire me." And the more people who told me, the more inspired I felt.
My WHY is to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that together we can have an impact, even change the world. I still haven't completely figured out all the details of how I'll do it. I still don't know how to build structure, but I do know WHY I'm trying: to inspire. I may not be successful by the standards of others, but I feel more successful than I've ever felt before.
I will never fail alone again. I would rather succeed with the help of others. I have surrounded myself with people who believe in me and I stay close to those in whom I believe.
Success will come together.
And that's the reason I included a picture of Martin Luther King. Because it inspires me to share my message. To inspire others. To live my WHY and to work everyday to get that message to as many people as I can.
Join the movement. Do one thing today before you go home that will inspire someone and together, we will change the world.