To me there is no failure; there is success or learning. If you consider something you have done a failure it is because you did not learn from it. Every experience we have is a chance to grow and evolve into a better person. While sometimes scary and painful, it is a lesson I have learned from every “failure” in my life.
One of my biggest lessons came when I moved to Santa Barbara. I was an actor and producer in Los Angeles, loved my apartment, had a great job but something was telling me it was time to go. One afternoon when my bosses were out of town I decided to search in Santa Barbara for a production job. I found a few production companies, faxed resumes and waited. Most said they weren’t hiring or would only hire local, but one man was interested. He had just put an ad in the paper that morning. I met him that following weekend; he hired me on the spot (offering more money than I asked for) and I accepted. I quit my job in LA, much to the dismay of my bosses, and started the search for an apartment in Santa Barbara. I packed my life into boxes; sold things I didn’t need and moved to SB with boyfriend in tow.
The job was perfect, Santa Barbara was fabulous and I was as happy as a clam. For about eight weeks. Suddenly I had no job. We parted ways and I found myself unemployed, knowing no one here and not sure what direction to go. I felt humiliated, a failure, embarrassed and shamed. What would I tell all my friends? What I quickly learned was…no one seemed to be judging. They said they were sorry, asked what happened, but if they did judge, I didn’t feel it.
At that point, I had no idea what to do. I was over the production company thing. Although I got a job at an eco-resort company, I was feeling the pull to get back to massage and healing that I had done in my spare time for years. I would walk down the street commenting on the posture of the person walking in front of me, “Look at that, clearly his hip is hurting. If I could just get my hands on his low back, I could fix that.”
I had never thought of massage as a full time profession, but everything started to fall into place. I found a massage school where I could get more training, and the day I enrolled in school the company I worked for announced they were shutting down. I got a job a week later at a Physical Therapy office doing massage. Six months after that I went out on my own. My practice rapidly became successful.
Now, thirteen years later, I have three books, an award-winning practice, a TV series, a massage DVD and speak around the world on health.
Here is the big lesson. Everything happens as it is supposed to. I say that about the job here in Santa Barbara falling through. I never would have left LA without a job. And the job I took was amazing. Had it worked out, I probably would have stayed in it forever. I truly believe I was supposed to be in Santa Barbara doing the healing work I do. Everything lined up to allow that to happen. The combination of acting, healing, and production has come together to allow me to have the current life I have. Was it scary and painful? Yes. But all growth is. You have to trust and surrender because with that you will always succeed and/or learn. That is my lesson.
Dr. Kathy Gruver, PhD, LMT, RM
Author of the The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, Conquer your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques and Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker