Admitting Failure

Photo by Mrs. Gemstone    This post may contain affiliate links.  Learn more by reading my  disclosure .

Photo by Mrs. Gemstone

This post may contain affiliate links.  Learn more by reading my disclosure.

If you’re a fight fan, you may have watched the much-hyped spectacle of Mayweather – McGregor this past weekend.  If you don’t like combat sports, you probably heard about the big fight nonetheless.  Floyd Mayweather, one of the best boxers to ever step in the ring, squared off with Conor McGregor, the biggest name currently in mixed martial arts.  McGregor fought by boxing rules (no kicks or wrestling), so it was a bit slanted, but the fight was promoted to epic portions nonetheless.

Both men are talented fighters, and egotistic, trash talkers as well.  They spent months promoting what became known as “The Money Fight.”  McGregor had the opportunity to make over $100 million for the fight while Mayweather had the chance to make three times as much.

Following the 10th round technical knockout win by Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor was interviewed in the ring by Jim Gray.  Gray asked him if he was happy with how he performed in the fight even though he lost.

“I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back,” he said.

McGregor was talking about his loss to mixed martial artist Nate Diaz where he was defeated by submitting to a rear naked chokehold.  They then had a rematch where McGregor defeated Diaz by decision.  It was a bloody battle that any MMA fan will tell you was an instant classic.  McGregor went on to drop into another weight class and beat the champion there.  He didn’t let his defeat hold him back; it propelled him forward.

The Money Fight itself was interesting to watch, but it was the lesson in MacGregor’s post-fight statement that stuck with me. 

Woe is Me

I’d been feeling sorry for myself this past month.

First, I fell off my routine.  I spoke about it in Are You Building Your Habits by Feel?  I thought I’d gotten it corrected and then my girlfriend made a return trip to California to help her mom with some house projects.  It was for less than a week, but I slid back into the thing I’d just written an article about.  I quickly filled my head with negative self-talk about not being a “good enough” writer and not disciplined enough to carry on a blog.  I ignore negative talk from others, but if there is anyone who can tear me down, it’s me. 

While my girlfriend was gone, I attended a work-related conference on the opposite side of the state.  The trip was fine, but I caught a cold which I didn’t properly address.  The cold then became a sinus infection which knocked me down for a couple weeks.  Like a ding-dong, I dragged my feet on going to the doctor.  When I was finally given antibiotics and a nasal spray, my stamina was nil.  I’d go to the office and suffer through the day before returning home.  Then I’d turn on the TV and watch several hours before going to bed to cough through the night.  When I’d wake up in the morning, I didn’t have any mental energy to write.  Instead, I messed around with YouTube, watching political updates.

During this time, my work has been at a frenetic pace.  The market is still hot and my investing partner and I are reviewing several properties.  That means I’m running around for clients as well as trying to do extra work to build my own portfolio.

At the end of my cold, while I was still grumpy, my family had a short camping trip planned.  My girlfriend gave me the opportunity to stay home since I didn’t feel well.  I should have skipped it, but I was being a martyr (classic boyfriend behavior, I know).  Our camping experience was very nice, but I didn’t enjoy it for the first couple days.  I was still fatigued and coughing in the middle of the night.  It wasn’t until the last day when I finally felt better.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to any cell signal or Wi-Fi service so I worried up about my work.  Each day I took the car and drove twenty minutes into the nearby city to grab Wi-Fi for an hour.  I’d answer emails, call clients and then return to the campsite.  The last day I felt like a person again and actually had some fun.

When we returned home, there was an email from my friend and writing partner, Frank Zafiro.  He asked if I was okay.  He said there hadn’t been a blog post since August 11th and was worried about me.  I told him that I’d been sick and busy.  We traded a couple emails and he told me to take care.  I realized at that moment I should have communicated the same thing here on the blog.

Instead, I just went silent.

Part of my silence was from the cold and then going camping.

However, the main part of my silence was from embarrassment.

When Push Comes to Shove

I’d been running at full speed on many fronts since February when I started Building-Income.  I’d been having a great time for most of this year.  On the creative front, Building-Income took a large chunk of my focus.  I spent most of my non-work hours working on the blog.  New content needed to be created as well as maintaining the blog.  It all came fairly easy.

While doing that, I kept up with my normal brokerage gig and maintained my real estate portfolio.

Then Frank and I wrote and edited a book during the spring.

I’d also written two-thirds of another book prior to Frank and me starting our project.

Friends and family were asking how I could do so much with my limited time.  I replied happily that it was because I’d finally learned how to use my time. Part of that was from reading the invaluable The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.  I learned to limit my email use to only a couple blocks of time during the day.  I’d also stopped all consumption of political news.  It freed up time for creative thinking and to work on the things I wanted to do.

I’d also discovered a fantastic blog post about limiting how much TV we watch.  The concept surprised me with how much I was watching every day.  I limited myself to one hour a night and watched my creative output soar. 

The final piece of the puzzle was reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  I now longer worried about tomorrow or yesterday.  I was fully engaged in today. 

I had reached a great place in my life.  Everything felt special.  Then August hit and my habits feel apart.

I wasn’t writing every morning.

I didn’t limit my television viewing anymore and suddenly was watching several hours a night.

I was checking my emails throughout the day, both from my laptop and my phone if I was away from the office.

I had also started re-engaging with the political news process and getting amped up again.

Worry filled my days as I let negative emotions back into my life.

I explained earlier that I’d gotten down on myself as I started to fall off my habits.  As I filled myself with negative self-talk, I pulled back on my social media updates and even responding to a few posts on my website.  I saw the posts when I logged in a week after not checking on the site.  I stared at the screen and shook my head.  I was too embarrassed to respond.  I’d convinced myself I’d failed as a blogger and was, therefore, a failure as a writer.  It was a crazy spiral and I didn’t even want to think about the blog.  When my girlfriend asked how the blog was doing, I shrugged.  She tried to offer encouragement, but when you’re mad at yourself it’s hard to hear positive words from someone else.  As my spiral started, I had six articles written that only needed slight editing.  I couldn’t even pull those articles out to do final polishing.

Everything that I’d worked so hard to build earlier in the year fell apart easily.

It was embarrassing to experience it crumble like that.

Getting Back Up

Then Conor McGregor lost and said, “I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back.”

I quickly realized I was acting like an incredible wimp and feeling sorry for myself.  McGregor had bragged before the Diaz fight that he would win. Then he was submitted in front of the largest pay-per-view crowd ever for a UFC event.  He was at the top of his game and lost. That was a great lesson. 

So what if I fell down?  I can get back up and start over.  Lots of people do it and for much bigger things than missing a few weeks of blog posts.  Geez, why was I making such a big deal of this?

In the real estate world, I don’t feel sorry when things don’t work out as I plan them.  It’s part of the game and I move on.  I adapt to the situation and figure out a new plan.  It’s how we deal with life.

Why did the blog matter so much to me?  Why did August feel like such a failure?  Part of it was because I felt so happy through the early part of this year.  I rode an absolute high until this month hit and then suddenly I didn’t feel good anymore.  I beat myself up which is the worst thing I can do. 

I had also shared the various things I’d been working on with everyone to read.  Admitting failure is an embarrassing act.  I hate it.  It’s much better to point to our success and say look at how well we’ve done. 

I’ve used my past failures as counterpoints to current success.  I love doing that.  This is the first time I’m pointing out a real-time failure.  I don’t like doing that.  It sucks.

All I can do is move forward, though. 

I’m going to get back into the habit of my morning writing again.

I’ll also going to limit my email time and news intake again.  I need to do that because it was immensely helpful at the beginning of the year.  I’m disappointed that it was so easy to fall of that wagon.

Finally, I need to get back to controlling how much television I’m watching.  As much as I want to binge watch a series on Netflix, I need to set only one hour of TV a night.  Not only for my mental health, but for my ability to be creative and productive.

It’s time to admit that I failed this month.  That doesn’t make me a failure.  The only way I’m a failure is if I quit and don’t learn from it. 

Well, I’m standing again and it’s time to get moving.