Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What Motivates Me to Face My Fears and Embrace Failure

On Facing My Fears and Embrace Failure

"What if I fail?" Have you ever asked yourself that question? Now that I'm facing a new challenge as a yoga retreat host, I've asked that question myself. Luckily I do have a strong motivation to help me face my fears. Here is my why, and also the reason I try to embrace failure.

What if I fail?

With a lot of excitement, mid of February I announced my upcoming Surf and Yoga Retreat in Sri Lanka. "Finally my dream is starting to take shape," I thought. I've been wanting to do this retreat for such a long time.

But soon after I made that announcement, and shared the event on my blog and on my social media, my typical fears kicked in...

"What if I can't find enough guests to host a good retreat? What if nobody joins this retreat? What would I do then? What would others say if I cancel this event? What if I FAIL?"

As I am confronted once more with the reality of hosting a yoga retreat I had to ask myself, "Why am I even doing this?"

It could have been so easy for me to simply go back to Arugam Bay, teach yoga at the same resort where I was teaching last season, and go surfing every day.

That would have been so much easier.

I wouldn't have to worry about anything. I could have chosen to simply teach a few times a week, giving myself a very relaxed daily routine so that I have plenty of time to go surfing.

But that's not really how I am. I don't always do things just because they are easy. As a matter of fact most of the time I go for the things that are difficult.

So, why did I do it?

There are a few reasons why I decided to organize this surf and yoga retreat.

One reason is because every single time I've been to Arugam Bay I've had a fantastic time surfing and practicing yoga. I would love to share that experience with as many people as I can.

Another reason is because I think surfing and yoga are both a form mental and physical training. I have personally experienced the benefits of both. I would love others to have a taste of those the same benefits.

Of course, I could also "potentially" make more money by hosting my own yoga retreat, than by teaching at a resort. But money has never been my main motivation to do anything.

The main reason why I decided to do this retreat is simply because I thought about it. That's it.

What truly motivates me

You see, I cannot give up on an idea that has been in my mind. That wouldn't be truthful to myself.

I have mentioned it several times in my blog. Satya, truthfulness, is one of my highest values. It is the motivation for doing everything that I have done in my life.

I gotta do what I feel my heart is telling me to do, regardless of how scary or intimidating that might be.

I can't let an idea fade into nothing. I have to do whatever I can to make it happen, to manifest those thoughts into reality.

One of my spiritual guides, Swami Rama, says that whenever you say that you are going to do something and you don't do it your will power weakens.

I take those words very seriously. I have always lived up to those words even before I came to know about Swami Rama.

I have to do whatever I can to make sure that I stick to my word. If I'm not sure I'll be able to commit to do something then I won't make any commitment.

But even if I don't express my thoughts verbally, if there is a thought in my mind that I know wants to be expressed, then I know that although I might have not said it out loud I have already said it do myself. I have to do it.

This is what motivates me beyond all other reasons.

How this idea started

I had this idea since the very first time I visited Arugam Bay, back in May 2014.

I remember one day, as I was standing in front of the pool of a resort that is right at the beach, I thought, "This place would be perfect to host a surf and yoga retreat."

It was in a quiet and isolated location, and right next to a surf break perfect for beginners. The resort already had a platform that could be used for yoga, and the best of all, nobody was teaching yoga there.

Actually, back then there was only one place offering yoga classes in Arugam Bay. Things have changed a lot since.

I took the first steps

When I have an idea I don't just think about, I try to make it happen. Well, the only problem is that sometimes I might procrastinate, for like forever. Lol. But I know that eventually I will do it.

That year I was actually focused on another project. I was teaching yoga at a local guesthouse. But I came back to Arugam Bay the following year, on 2015. That was when my backpack got stolen in the bus! Do you remember that?

After a few days of dealing with my stolen backpack, I decided to take the first steps to make that vision come true.

I went back to that same resort by the beach. I had a meeting with the manager and I told him about my idea. Unfortunately he didn't get at all what I was talking about. He had no idea what yoga was.

I had to wait till I left Arugam Bay, mid of September 2015, to have a meeting with the owner of the resort in his office in Colombo.

I was not ready yet

But I wasn't really prepared.

The owner of the resort asked me a few questions which I couldn't answer. I had never organized a retreat before. I had no idea how to make it happen and what it would involve. I just wanted to do it, that's it.

I was a little bit ahead of myself. I needed to earn that experience first. I needed to start with baby steps.

I took those baby steps by "accident" when I started teaching yoga at Hinterland Village on March 2016. That's an Ayurveda resort in Kerala, India

Since it was in a retreat setting that experience gave me the confidence to organize my first yoga retreat. That happened on November 2016. It was an incredible experience, and I did it just a few months later, right at the same Ayurveda resort.

Later on, in May 2017, I hosted with a friend of mine my first surf and yoga retreat in Portugal. We actually hosted three different surf and yoga retreats together.

That gave me all the confidence and experience that I needed to finally organize that surf and yoga retreat in Sri Lanka.

After Europe I was planning to go to Nepal but like I mentioned in Why I Changed My Plans and Booked a Last Minute Flight, that never really happened. I decided to go to Arugam Bay instead.

The moment that I made that decision I knew what I had to do. I was not going there just for fun. I wanted to make this surf and yoga retreat happen.

I tried a second time

I arrived to Arugam Bay by mid July 2017. I contacted again the owner of that same resort with whom I had that meeting in Colombo, back in September 2015.

Two years had passed! This time I was prepared though.

Now I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew exactly what I needed from them and what would be my role. I send the owner an email explaining everything.

Later on I contacted him by phone.

He showed some interest and he agreed to call me again later. But the days passed by and nothing really happened. I called him multiple times but I always got back the same answer.

By the end of my stay nothing had changed. Luckily while I was waiting for an answer I had the opportunity to teach at an awesome resort in Arugam Bay. That was perfect for me and I had a great time in A-Bay.

I tried a third time

After about six weeks I left Sri Lanka and made my way to Cambodia. I had to teach yoga at Angkor Zen, a yoga retreat in Siem Reap.

Three months later I went back to Sri Lanka to teach at Plantation Villa, an Ayurveda resort in the south of Sri Lanka.

All along I couldn't let go of the idea of organizing this yoga retreat in Arugam Bay.

Every time the guests at Angkor Zen, or at Plantation Villa, would ask me what I was going to do next, I would always answer, "I would love to host a surf and yoga retreat in Arugam Bay."

I've been wanting to do this for so long. I couldn't believe that it had not happened so far.

So I decided to give it another try.

Beginning of January 2018, while I was at Plantation Villa, I sent another mail to the owner of the resort in Arugam Bay.

I told him that my goal for this year was to make this retreat happen. I was committed to make everything I needed to do and I was ready to meet with him in Colombo whenever he was ready.

I gave him a call a few days later. I got the same response as before. "We will call you back."

I had to do things differently

I always thought that that resort would be perfect because of the location and the facilities. I guess I was holding onto that idea. I decided to contact the manager of a small guesthouse in Arugam Bay.

I had never seen that guesthouse but since I knew the manager I thought maybe this could be a good place to start. He suggested me to contact by mail the owner of the resort. She doesn't live in Sri Lanka.

And so I did.

The communication went quite well and a few weeks later I started the promotion of this retreat. I shared everything about that story in my previous blog: This is Why I'm Obsessed With My Daily Routine

Embracing failure

Finally, after all these failed attempts now this retreat is happening. It's really exciting.

But, like I mentioned before, as I'm facing the challenges of hosting this surf and yoga retreat, I had to ask myself, "Why am I even doing this?"

You already know the answer. This is what I have to do. There is no other choice.

I have to be truthful to myself. I have to face my fears and do that which intimidates me, that which I would rather avoid. Even if a part of me might consider all those previous failed attempts as a sign that I shouldn't do it.

We gotta do what we are meant to do, what our heart tell us to do. The problem is that most of the times it's not an easy thing to do.

The path of the heart is all about transformation and growth. It forces us to become a better version of ourselves by going for the things that are challenging and difficult, and not for the things that are easy to do.

I could have easily stay in my comfort zone, but we all know what happens then. Unless we face our fears and move out of our comfort zone there is no growth, there is no progress.

That's why although a part of me doesn't want to do it, I'm still doing it.

Instead of avoiding another failure I'm trying to embrace failure because, as you and I already know, the only real failure is not to do what we know we have to do.

Experiencing a failure when doing the things that we know we are meant to do is not really a failure.

That is simply a stepping stone for what's coming next. It is simply part of the process of following our path. It is inevitable. The more we fail the closer to our goals we get.

We just need to reframe failure. Embrace it. Welcome it. Failure is not an enemy to be avoided but a friend to be welcomed.

I actually think we shouldn't call failure, "failure." We should have a different word for it. Maybe it should be called, "Growth," "Learning," "Improving," "Transformation." What do you think? Any other suggestions?

From our early childhood, in school, we have all been taught to avoid failure at all costs. We are supposed to succeed without failing. How silly is that?

That's like telling the Wright brothers, "Build an airplane without ever crashing one," or like telling Thomas Edison, "Create a light bulb without burning a single one."

Don't you think so?

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever been in a similar situation? What's your motivation to face your fears? What are your thoughts about failure?

Please feel free to share a story of your own, on being truthful and embracing failure. You can use the comments section below. And if you know somebody that might need to hear this, then please don't hesitate to share this blog with them.

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