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No, you didn’t read the title incorrectly. Words carry more weight than we often think and on their most elementary level, they are split into two categories: denotation and connotation. In English, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the noun “failure” as, “a lack of success, or the omission of expected or required action.” While I think we can all agree on the dictionary definition of the word, the connotation is often emotionally charged and often overflowing with shame.

Failure to most people is a state of being and in some cases, a personal identity. I viewed myself this way for a long time because, like most people, I’ve screwed up a lot in my life. I would define myself by my failures instead of studying them and using them as an opportunity to learn. If I had to wager a guess, I would say that you all do this in one form or another. Like anything else, changing your mindset and your attitude towards failure can bring you out of the basement of despair and allow you to soar.

I’m going to get personal here in order to help you understand my point of view. I royally screwed up my first marriage. It was never one big action that ruined it, but rather a collective chipping away brought on by tiny daily compromises. This was the most emotionally expensive learning lesson I’ve ever endured in my life. For 3 years, I allowed that failure to define me, to write my story, and to be indelibly written on my face for all to see. I could feel failure coursing through my veins and driving my every action. It felt hopeless.

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Here’s comes the truth, and the truth ALWAYS wins – MY FAILURES DO NOT DEFINE ME! I learned from my mistakes and used those lessons to grow into the man I am today. If I didn’t go through those things, I would have never met the most beautiful, empathetic, and brilliant woman in the world – my wife, Juliana. She also came from a broken marriage and did not define herself by her failures either. We are the result of how we view our failures. You are the result of how you view your failures.

In the end, failure is an illusion that can cripple us and leave us for dead. Let yourself up for air and start believing that you can LEARN from your failures in your personal life, in business, in your relationships, and in your pursuits. Here’s the best news of all – your failures will arm you with the ability to help others on their journeys. Re-write the script, people – Use your failures to change the world.

***DO YOU WANT MORE?***

I just finished the chapter entitled “Epic Fails” in my upcoming book about being an organist. The irony is not lost here. Tune in later as I read a story from that chapter tonight at 6 PM EST. It ties in perfectly with today’s blog post. If you’re not following me on Instagram or Facebook, please follow me @graciouslygross. I will be releasing it on IGTV, Facebook and will also post the video link through YouTube on my blog later this evening.