The power of failure

Back in November, I launched my course, Journey to the Heart of Faith. Straight away, I had two sign ups. I was really excited: a sixth of my goal for participants reached in the launch week! It looked like my course would be a success.

A month later, one of the sign-ups dropped out. Oh well, I thought, plenty of time still to reach my target of twelve participants. I advertised my course with Wild Sister magazine, pimped it out on Twitter and Facebook, and extended the Early Bird offer for my newsletter subscribers.

What response did I get? Nothing. Ne’er-y a single new participant signed up for the course.

A week before the deadline for course sign-ups, I reconciled myself to the idea that I might only have one sign-up for the course. And even more disheartening, that sign up had indicated in the sign-up message they’d sent that they weren’t even that interested in the focus of the course!

So I made a decision to see this failure as an opportunity. I emailed my one participant, and asked what appealed to them most about the course as it stood. Based on the reply, that their real interest was in Pagan spiritualities, I rewrote the course. I pared it back to its skeleton, its key themes and the process linking one to the next, and hung on it new flesh, exploring those themes through various Pagan paths, traditions and spiritualities. I passed the new outline past my participant, and they were delighted.

I started writing. And do you know what? I realised that this new course was fun for me, in a way I couldn’t have imagined happening with the original course. Through accepting my failure, and asking, “How can I serve?” in relation to the one participant who had signed up, I had unwittingly given up struggle, and stumbled into the flow.

The Universe had conspired to offer me an opportunity to let go and be carried on the wave of my own energy, flow and joy, through my failure at what I had set out to do.

This was a situation in which it was easy for me to do this: there was not a lot at stake – other than my ego – and while I had invested some time and energy into the direction of the initial course plan, I had not invested so much that it was hard for me to let it go. But I’m hoping that this small step of trust, in relaxing into what is, rather than what I wish would be, will act to strengthen my ability to trust, to relax, to let go in situations where much more is at stake.

There are situations where hanging in there, gripping on and keeping going is needed; then there are situations like this one. In the words of the Serenity Prayer:

May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to the know the difference.

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