When You're Fighting Feelings of Failure
This past year has held a lot of ups and downs for us, and though I vowed to myself to keep up my blog, it felt like life was moving too quickly to sit down and process it. We all know how easy it is to hide behind the veil of the internet, to where it appears that things are going smoothly, and we are all succeeding at life! Right? As a business, appearing successful is the rule. And it's not always a lie - some days it's more of a frame of mind than a truth, which I also believe is healthy! Fake it till you make it.
But sometimes, plans go awry. And then you start feeling like a FAILURE. I'm about to tell you a somewhat vague tale about why I feel like a failure, and how I'm trying to believe that I'm not.
So as you may or may not know, we buy houses, renovate them, and sell them. I've been wanting to start investing in rentals (whether it be long-term rentals, or bnb rentals) and to make a long story short, we bought a house with the intention of keeping it as a rental. I bought it based on a sentimental feeling. Sometimes that's an okay thing to do if the numbers make sense, but we were about to go on a family vacation, our house on Virginia wasn't selling, and there were too many stress factors involved that allowed me to make a decision that probably wasn't the smartest business decision one could make.
We went on our vacation and came back, and I had no clear plan for the house. I would say it was more like a weird, cloudy feeling in my head that had been bugging me all month. What do I do with this house? Do I keep it and rent it out? Do I sell it? Do I make a bnb? Do I do an addition? Do I finish out the garage? Nothing felt right. I haven't felt like this about any other house - just this mental wandering and confusion. We decided to go the bnb route, so I got to work getting it ready.
One night I was finishing up at the house, and I sat down and looked around me, and had this striking thought, like the Lord was telling me something - "This is not your house." I felt angry and defensive. I carried on. I'm stubborn, but don't tell Josh I'm admitting that I am.
The house was finally ready! I began sharing our bnb plans online as I kept suppressing the thought that I was on the wrong track. And then, I hit a breaking point.
I thought I could handle everything on my plate! We had our own house under construction and nearly finished, a house in Garfield under construction, our house on Virginia that's been under contract multiple times, and so much of our time and finances were being tied up. Something had to give - we decided now was not the time to hold on to a house, so we decided to put it on the market. And to be honest, ever since we made that decision, I have felt a HUGE wave of relief! But right at first, I felt like such a failure. And even worse, because I'd already said we were going to have a bnb online, I felt like a public failure. I couldn't hide this failure, because it was right out in the open. I cried a lot. I compared myself to so many others online. And full disclosure, a lot of the feelings of failure are tied into money: we are going to be losing money on the sale of this house, which is why it was a hard decision to make, and why the feelings of failure are so strong. I feel like I led our family into a bad financial place with a snap decision.
Isn't it the worst, when you feel like a failure, and then you decide to get online and check out everybody else that's doing a PERFECT job at EVERYTHING? And all the people who are flipping houses that are immediately sold after a day or people who have NEVER fallen out of escrow (Oh yeah - our house on Virginia went through FOUR different buyers before we finally closed with the fourth), or people whose home styling is just too hot to handle and I suddenly can't put a blanket and a pillow together for the life of me, or people who are just killing it with solid financial life decisions. All of this comes at you like daggers when you are feeling down.
If you are there with me, here's a few thoughts for you.
- This happens to literally everybody. We all feel like failures at some point. It may seem like nobody else does, but that's everybody's secret. We are all little walking failures trying to pretend like we have never heard of that word before. We are just a giant crew of fail babies. Don't forget that.
- It's not a failure if it leads you in a different direction. I believe things happen for a reason, and things work out how they are supposed to. If this failure of mine leads to someone getting to buy their little dream cottage, then is it a failure? No way! :) When you focus on that, perspective shifts. I'm happy to be a part of someone else's dream home story.
- It's not a failure if you learn from your mistakes. We are pretty new at the investment game still (a year and a half in!) and I am LEARNING, learning, learning. It seems like the past 6 months have been just hard lessons upon hard lessons. But I take those feelings of failure and I refuse to be their prisoner. I take these hard lessons and I soak them in, and I pray they stick with me and make me wiser and more prepared with each new investment. If you turn your circumstances around for a positive gain, then you cannot be a failure.
- If you've ever lost money in a venture, you know what a feeling of failure that is. But in our circumstance - what can you do? We were going to lose more by holding onto it (lots of particulars here, but I also realized I was a dummy for thinking I could manage a bnb AND put together our own new home!). I had to realize that loss is part of the risk of having your own investment business. And again - you learn from your mistakes. As long as the gains outweigh the losses, we are still successful. I definitely wanted to share this aspect of house flipping with you all though, since it's something that they don't go too much into on those network house flipping shows.
- I'm sure I have more thoughts on this but my last thought to share is - if something makes you sad, you gotta feel your way through it and learn for next time. Feel all the feelings! It's part of the human experience. I think I was actually listening to a lot of the Alison Show podcast while I was finishing up details and the episode about getting out of a funk kind of talked about the same thing - you gotta feel it and then move on. Give yourself permission to have the gamut of emotions but make sure you come out on top and better than ever!! I ended up coming out of my Failure Week (as it shall be remembered) feeling EVEN MORE EXCITED and hopeful for the future! What a great experience! I learned my limitations, I learned how to make smarter investment decisions. I'm learning to think MORE like an investor and LESS like a visual artist dreamer in the right circumstances. These are all huge wins for me. Count your wins and not your failures.
Okay enough rambling! I'm going to share some photos from our beloved Pink House! Wish her well as she welcomes a sweet couple soon!! <3 I am so thankful, I truly am. Thanks to you all for following along in this, too.