Is Failure the End or a Stepping Stone?
HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE YOU THINK THAT YOU FAILED SO BAD THERE IS NO TURNING BACK…
You’re done, game over, the end. I have been there multiple times, but I have to say the worst time had to be with my boutique Elohim + Nim. The feeling of failure hit me when I could sense that I wasn't happy and I wasn't fulfilling the goals I had set for myself. The store became just another business.
Full disclosure, this is one of the hardest subjects for me to touch on. Things are still up in the air and the lack of stability is number one uncomfortable, and number two makes me feel like a failure at times. I’m still working on it so here is the bare truth: I had a dream that I could start a business, make it work, hold a job, sell only things I stood for, help women receive equal pay with the jobs I would create in places where they didn’t have a chance, help children in need, have a life and succeed at it all. Well turns out that business requires a small village and as talented as I am I'm only one person. I held a job and tried to do everything for the store myself, it was drained mentally and physically.
The goals that I had in mind weren't as easy to accomplish as I thought. It was one obstacle after another. To start, finding vendors that had the same beliefs I had was tough especially for a decent price. Pricing was always a struggle because I never want customers to think I'm taking advantage of them. Then creating jobs for women in third world countries has its own agenda and issues to the point that that's a book on its own. Having a life? Ha! Ask my friends how often they see me go out for a drink or to hang out. You don’t even have to go that far just ask my husband (boyfriend at the time) how many days I saw him from May-August? About 15 days if I had to guess and that's being generous.
You might not be in the same place, maybe you feel like you failed at school. Maybe where you are now is not where you planned to be by this age. Maybe it’s your family, or your job, whatever it is, I feel like we have all been here once or twice. Failure.
The business got to a point where I was just dragging myself to do what I knew had to get done, it was not fulfilling. I honestly felt that if I took a step back to regroup and realign the business with the original goals, people would think I was a quitter. I kept pushing, not realizing how much it was taking out of me and how unhappy I was. So naturally, I started to fake it. I started acting like things were just fine. The days became harder, it was hard to get out of the house, or even respond to people that would check up on me. Sometimes just getting out of bed was hard. Anything that involved the reality of what was going on would make me cringe. I felt like I just quit on it all even life.
I don’t have a magic potion or a cure it all remedy, but I do know when things changed for me. This is in no way me trying to convince you of anything (trust me I am not a good salesperson, something else I learned through this business). I just turned to what a lot of us do ONLY when we are in desperate need, I started to pray. I know, “oh, now you want to talk to God!?” Now that I am crashing and burning I want to reach out. Maybe you don’t pray, maybe you don’t even believe in God, maybe your God’s name is different from mine, doesn’t matter, we all have seen or even posted that social media post: “Asking for Prayers”, “Send prayers my way”, “Pray for [Insert City Name Here]”, “#PARYFOR [City Name]”. Sometimes life just takes us to a place where we feel helpless, we just need help from above. At the very least you have seen someone else get there. I was so there.
After getting over my guilt of praying out of need, I started to ask for guidance, “What now? What do I do? How do I fix it?”, I desperately needed the next step. Slowly I started to feel the urge to help others. It was always random, a guy on the street, an old lady load her stuff, I listened to a friend, little things started to help me feel better. Not all at once but very seamlessly I started to feel a little better and a little lighter.
I stopped buying things that I didn’t stand for. I kept praying for help, but the funny thing is the only thing that seemed to help was helping others. I personally feel like God likes to play “Where’s Waldo” with the answers we pray about. A lot of times the answer is hidden in plain sight, blending in with the background. So if I wanted help, I had to help others?? Whatever it was, it worked, it was motivating, kept me going.
One day I sat with my best friend and I ran the idea of pausing, regrouping and relaunching the store. My friend was all in and she understood where I was coming from. Then I ran it by my family and they were in too. I had the support and now I had to take the jump.
So I jumped. I began to plan my trip to find people we could help. The day before my first trip I had breakfast with someone from my church. During that conversation, my friend told me about some single mothers in Honduras that needed help in a mountain in Ceiba. I paid them a visit and it was one of the most amazing feelings to be able to bring hope to women that had began to feel like there was no opportunities for them. (I will share more about this project in the near future. You’ll get to see their stories and what they have been working on).
While on the trip I also found a lady named Kenia, who hires 90% women for her sewing shop. We talked to her about partnering with her and to help her provide more jobs for the women she hires, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Finally, I started looking for orphanages that we could support through the business. I had thought of this once or twice, but the opportunity never presented itself, until now. I got to meet some amazing kids and young adults at this little oasis for orphan children with AIDS. This trip was exhausting and so overwhelming, but I was excited to see how God would use us to be his hands and feet in Honduras.
( Later in this blog you’ll get to hear more about the women in La Ceiba, their stories, meet Kenia, get a sneak peak of what they've all been working on and meet some of the kids we will be supporting in Honduras 💕).
The final step to fully jump was the legal requirements for this all to work, which was also the hardest part. We went through so many loops, it almost seemed like we wouldn’t pull it off. I had to find a partner, who was able to fly in just to sign the documents, whom I could trust with my business. I had to file paperwork in a legal system that I was not used to. Then I had to meet with lawyers about once a day to make sure we met the one million and one requirements.
But on the very last day of my trip, an hour before I had to fly out I got to sign with my sister (who flew in 30 hours before just to sign and then head back) all the documents that will be the structure of the new Elohim + Nim and our sister brand (which’s name I will reveal in the near future). At the end I felt so exhausted but so fulfilled because it was something that had meaning again. God had allowed it even when it seemed impossible.
After signing I had 45 minutes to get to the airport, pass security and board my flight, but those 45 minutes were some of the best minutes because I got to sit and soak up the miracle that God had just done. I’m telling you, it had come down to ten minutes where we couldn’t find the place to sign the documents and we had to decide if we would keep looking and possibly lose our flights; or find the place and sign before leaving. It was in those 10 minutes where I felt the miracle happened, because we could have lost it all in those10 minutes and God came through again.
When I finally got home I made an effort to keep it all going and to not let it stop at that one miracle. I started trying to make time for those people that really matter and tried making little breaks where I could do thing I loved. I got a chance to go to the beach with my nieces, which I have to say was one of the highlights of this past summer. After some long pondering I finally got the strength to take the step and I put the store on pause while I align everything back to the intended goals. I am not going to lie and say that a rainbow appeared above the store and I knew this is the last hard decision I would have to make. Angels didn’t sing as I pressed the button. Don’t even think that for one second, I felt happy when I did. It hurt a little, I did still feel like I failed, but I had a visible goal at the end of this tunnel.
This relaunch will not only be for the goals of the business but also for my focus. Most of all I was taught that faith doesn’t only require you to believe in the miracle but, sometimes Gods requires us to step out in faith and make a move even when it doesn’t make sense. Best example God used to show me this was the story in 2 Kings 4:1-7 about the widow who had nothing but a little oil left. If you get a chance to read it just know that me writing this does not mean that I’ve gotten to the happy ending, I’m still pouring oil and I can’t see what God is trying to do but I going to obey and trust in in his perfect timing.
A funnier example I can give you is “wax on, wax off”, ahaha.. I know Karate Kids (I feel old). No lie, I was trying to understand why God had me doing things that had nothing to do with what I thought I needed. All the suddenly, “wax on, wax off”, popped in my head out of nowhere. And I understood it so clearly. This was his way of explaining it all to me. Sometimes it feel like we are asked to do things that don’t have anything to do with what we are asking for, but God makes it a full circle and brings that image to completion. The very situation you’re in could be the exact spot where God has you to prepare you for that big picture.
So to answer the title question: in my perspective, failure is just a stepping stone.
With Grace + Humbled Heart,