There’s a preconceived notion that people who are successful are equally successful at everything they do and in all areas of their lives. People who are successful often have experienced failure; not only prior to becoming successful at what they’re good at, but also in other areas. Every first attempt at anything can result in failure just as repeated attempts at the same thing can, if a person isn’t learning more and growing during the experience.
As successful as other people think I am in my business and career, many attempts I’ve made to develop different ideas and projects over the years, have failed. Some worse than others, even to the degree that they won’t be attempted again. I receive a great deal of rejection emails from companies and brands I seek support from for my events and projects. I’m averaging approximately two rejection emails per day. They are always accompanied by an explanation. The most popular being:
•We’ve already supported events for the year.
•We only support specific causes and this doesn’t qualify.
•We don’t have the personnel to assist at this time.
•You don’t have a large enough social media following.
…and the list goes on.
Not only have I learned to expect rejection, I’ve learned that I have to decide in the beginning of the project or idea that I want to pursue, exactly how I’m going to move forward without any assistance or support, so that I don’t have to rely on others who may only reject me when asked. Being prepared to handle everything alone reduces the likelihood that I will have to feel disappointed later. It’s also partly how I came to be known as Super Woman; I go it alone whenever necessary.
I’m not nearly as successful as I’d like to be and it will take a lot longer than I’d like to get there because I started my business as a second career that I never planned for. I’m literally learning about my own business every day. I know that my level of success is determined by many factors and I weigh them all; including my accomplishments and failures in other areas of my life.
There is one area of my life where I admit to being a complete failure:
Dating and relationships.
It’s just something I’m quite terrible at and I have been my entire adult life. The older and more mature I become, the more I fail at dating. It has gone from me dating a lot, without anything serious developing, to men not asking me out at all and only offering me compliments privately on social media. I’ve been on about 5 dates in the last year. Men just don’t want to court me. Of course, they also have a variety of explanations, including, but not limited to:
•”I’m not interested in dating anyone.” (wants to remain single)
•”I’m not ready for commitment.” (has commitment phobia or already in one)
•”You’re too busy for me.” (is codependent and lacks confidence)
•”I’m too busy with other things in my life.” (doesn’t want to give attention to one woman when he can have many)
•”You don’t need a man in your life.”
•”There are plenty of men who want you, so I can’t compete.”
Those last two I can’t translate any other way and are complete fabrications by the men who have said them in my opinion. I have never said that I don’t need a man and I have no idea where all these imaginary men who want me are supposedly residing or even who they are. But I digress.
Of course my friends and relatives have made considerable attempts to keep hope on life support, by telling me how awesome I am, by introducing me to single men that they assume might be interested in me and they try to make me feel better with logic by telling me:
•Men think they’re immortal so they are waiting to get married later in life. (yes, but I don’t want to date anyone my father’s age or older)
•Men are intimidated by you/your success. (sigh, it’s only going to get worse then)
•Men all just want to be players and date a bunch of different women. (doesn’t that get old eventually?)
•Men are just stupid and confused. (and?)
•Men assume you’re already taken. (why? and why not ask me?)
•Men fear rejection. (so do women, big deal)
•You’re just not meeting the right men. (where are the right men?)
•There are plenty of men wishing for a woman like you. (but they clearly can’t say so)
•Your Boaz will find you one day. (Oh, God)
•You’re still young and there’s plenty of time for marriage. (if you say so)
Regardless, whether these statements are true or not, I still fail at dating. If I can’t date anyone more than one time, how can I ever expect to get married again and have it last for the rest of my life? Whenever the rare occasion arises that I actually like a man enough to want to date him, he friend zones me indefinitely and showd no interest in dating me in return. When a man asks me out, I don’t know if I’m even on a real date or not. The few men who actually asked me out in the last year, do so inconsistently (every six months or longer) which is a clear indication that they are just not that into me. That inconsistency presents new concerns for me to contemplate because it’s been so long since I’ve seen that man. I wonder:
•What should I wear?
•Should I expect food?
•Should I be prepared to ask for separate checks?
•Should I drive myself or ask him to pick me up?
•Should I shake his hand or hug him when I see him?
•Should I thank him when I leave?
•Is he only asking me out because he wants free book publishing?
•Is he only asking me out because he expects sex?
•Is he secretly married or in a relationship and I don’t know it?
All of that is too much to worry about and by the time I get dressed I’m a nervous wreck, for no reason at all. I don’t believe in dating for just for “fun” or to get a free meal. At the age of 40, if I give of my time, rearrange my schedule, spend time and money to get my hair and make up done, put on something impressive, leave my house and allow a man into my personal space, my goal is to find out if there’s any interest in developing a committed relationship between the two of us, over a reasonable amount of time, or not. That is my only intention at this time in my life. I can have fun and a meal with my friends, by myself or with Super Son. After all, I’m busy.
My schedule is often an excuse men like to use against me. Many men have claimed they don’t ask me out because I’m always working or going places. What they don’t realize is that my ambition was born out of me not having a reliable, consistent, interested and loyal man to share my life with. Instead of crying and complaining about being alone, or wondering what’s wrong with me, I decided to find ways to occupy that increasingly extra time in my life more productively, with hopes that it would eventually make me wealthy. My goals are an equal and opposite reaction to the rejection I’ve received during my failed dating experiences.
My bad dating experiences have altered who I am on a deeper level and changed me into a very driven, ambitious, goal-oriented, single, business woman, who is very mindful of what and whom she invests her time and energy towards. It’s a huge benefit for me in business and since I wasn’t successful at dating and relationships to begin with, I don’t see the need to change for ‘what ifs’ that may not ever materialize. To some degree I’ve even convinced myself that no matter how successful I become, how well I take care of myself (financially, spiritually, physically), how well I dress, how engaged my social media presence becomes or anything else, there’s a great possibility that I will still fail at dating and relationships. Some of the best advice I ever got from a very successful, married man (guess who that might be), was that I need “a man who realizes that you are the missing element in his life and success”. However, if men don’t see me as a woman they want to combine lives with, that is something beyond my control. All I can control is making sure I don’t waste my time or energy needlessly trying to convince a man otherwise. That is time I can’t recoup and energy that I could’ve put into myself, one of my causes, or others in my life who need me.
I know that saying I’m a failure may seem to be a self fulfilling prophecy. But it isn’t. Admitting that I don’t succeed at dating actually makes me more self aware of what I am good at doing. It creates a deeper appreciation for the achievements and blessings I do have. I may be single, and bad at dating, but I am a great mother, a published author, a published writer, a business woman and I use my gifts in ways that inspire others. Would a man want to date a woman with all of that going for her? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve discovered that some men don’t want the “next Oprah Winfrey” for a wife.
The good news is that today we don’t have to find out. Instead my energy is going where it is currently needed; into the Super Woman Brand. I’m able to focus on the opportunities coming my way and broaden my business relationships, instead of lowering my standards or wasting my time. I can’t share the details of the opportunities until the ink dries, but when I do share them, know that they have been a work in progress by myself or whomever I’m working with on them. Overnight celebrity, or Instafame, have never been my goal. My goals are bigger than that. As a result, through the practice of patience, I strongly prefer slower growth that builds strength and resilience, so I can withstand more, both professionally and personally.
The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit. ~Moliere