What do these things have in common?
The client distraught at the collapse of her marriage after finding her husband of four years had been cheating for three of them, sure she would be a single mother forever and ever, and her life was over. O.V.E.R. A short time later serendipitously meeting an old school friend, getting together - he as an eager co-parent - and happier than ever before. "It was all worth it to be as happy as I am now, I'd never have found out how great things could be if I hadn't gone through that".
The client who was sure that the eleventy-billionth restructure at the corporate she had devoted the past 12 years of her working life to would end in redundancy. Which it did. Handily just before Christmas. "The market is so tight I'll never find anything and Big Restructure Corp is all I know . . . this is a DISASTER."
She is already happy as a clam in a new role at a medium-sized company with a different perspective on people management and culture - she is relaxed, sleeping well, and loving her work in a way she had forgotten she ever could.
"Best thing ever!" she laughs.
The old family friend who was royally blindsided by his business partner embezzling the company funds behind his back. A young family of four to support, he never saw it coming. Total financial destruction. Overnight. "I had no choice: I just had to go and do this job that I honestly thought was beneath me. I would never have done that work before."
Turns out that the owners loved what he did so much they offered to fund a whole new business partnership that he ended up selling down the line for millions.
I could list dozens of these and, let's be honest, you can too. A slew of personal anecdotes exist about someone "failing" cataclysmically, only to later snatch a much more prized victory from the jaws of defeat.
What they "failed at" and left behind later became something they wouldn't even want for themselves any more. What awaited on the other side of that failure was something so much shinier, a much bigger success than they could ever have imagined for themselves.
The lesson in these tales is that we tend to take score way too early. If you are in the grip of what seems like an unmitigated failure right now, perhaps - just perhaps - it's a foundation leading you to something way superior. You just can't see it yet.
Perhaps it's not failure at all. Perhaps there was something you needed to learn; something you needed to let go of - albeit in a brutal fashion - in order to make way for something that will serve you better in the future.
Consider the possibility that failure is not failure at all. Maybe it's just incomplete success in disguise. Doesn't that feel better? Whether it's in the career area, or the money area, or the relationship space, or the owning your own home space or the health and fitness place. Whatever it may be for you, maybe you are not experiencing failure at all. You are just in the slightly messy transition phase of incomplete success. That's all it is. Incomplete success.
So hold fast. Don't call it too soon. The fat lady hasn't even started warming up.