2024 Secrets to Becoming: Recognizing the Failure to Launch for Progress, Growth, & Impact
I need to talk about 2023. One of the biggest successes of my professional life had come to an abrupt and brutal end. In spite of that trauma, I was facing an exciting transition into client projects with people who valued the depth of my capabilities, doing work that fed me creatively while making a real difference, and finally getting compensated for the value I bring. It felt like my career, aspirations, and life’s work were all amounting to a beautiful becoming.
Thank God for Praying Girlfriends
My husband was in San Francisco taking care of his 98-year-old mother. So, New Year’s Eve through January 2nd were spent with a circle of godly, enterprising girlfriends. We prayed for each other and shared our visions for the future. I had a sense that 2023 was the year that I would use it all–all of my obsessions and loves, all of my experience and dreams, all that I had to offer.
A Longing for Spiritual Insight
Somehow, during my seeking season, the YouTube algorithm presented a 3-part series by Randy Feldschau. Pastor Randy begins by explaining the difference between the Hebraic calendar followed by the Jewish people versus the Gregorian calendar used by the rest of us. Basically, 2023 was 5783 on the Jewish calendar, and he described it as the year of the camels–a time of provision for purpose.
My Expectation Was Ignited
He went on to speak of repayment and reward for destiny, activation in divine order, and told me (yes, me personally–at least in my head) to drink from the well of the vision of life. (He had me at “vision.”) He used words like “blessing” and “elevation with ease” and “year of possibilities.” (As I review the notes in my Flip Book now, I have to admit I’m getting triggered by what feels like betrayal. Pastor Randy set me up, but I digress.)
I Can See the Future Unfolding
I am immediately transported back to those hours before the clock struck midnight. My mind is fast forwarding through the giant Post-It pad papers covering the walls, the giddy excitement of sharing ideas over breakfast with a sister in revelation, and the confirmation of it all by Pastor Randy’s camels. Only in hindsight, I can now hear the disarming scratch of a needle being abruptly pulled across a vinyl record as I see myself walking into the reality of 2023 just eight days later. Oblivious.
Honored to Step Into a Period of Service
My husband needed to come home to Atlanta, but I knew he would be worried about his mother. So, I offered to switch places. The plan was that I would be with Mom January 10-March 7 in San Francisco. After that, I assumed we would just take turns.
After living alone for thirty-three years, she was not willing to leave the city she had known for 80 years and the place she’d called home for 70. Being the military brat that I am and an entrepreneur who worked remotely before it was a global thing, it was an easy decision. However, I was clueless about what 24-hour caregiving looked like.
…it felt like I hit a wall in every direction I turned. She responded, “That’s because there’s nowhere to go but up.”
I was so honored that my husband trusted me with his mother, but I had never spent time with senior citizens, never been a caregiver, and never been in San Francisco longer than a week. I was in a new city living in my husband’s childhood bedroom unaware of the isolation that was lurking. I remember describing to one of my girls that it felt like I hit a wall in every direction I turned. She responded, “That’s because there’s nowhere to go but up.”
And the Understatement Award of the Year Goes To
Remember those client projects I mentioned? Not one of them came through. My bank accounts emptied. No return phone calls. No final signed contracts. No income. No prospects. March 7th came and went as my husband had to deal with mounting pressures at home. My stay was extended indefinitely. Suffice it to say that my world was experiencing a personal pandemic. My usual coping mechanisms were not working. Up was actually the only way I could go. God wanted to get my attention and jerk the proverbial slack out by fencing me in with no opportunity to stray. I could only look up.
60 Years of Failure
I hit a milestone. My 60th birthday was spent alone and marked by a devastating feeling that I had nothing to show for it. My mental state had deteriorated despite every feeble attempt to fight. That was the bottom, but thankfully, I had those girlfriends. A simple, honest text yielded an immediate and effective response. They sent me music, spoke life, and scheduled an emergency Zoom meeting to throw in some cackles. (That’s how my husband describes our full body laughter.)
My Failure to Launch Breakthrough
The short story is that I was able to embrace my new home away from home, examine myself, and learn some vital lessons that I desperately needed. Otherwise, I couldn’t be ready to receive what the camels were bringing. I finally understood the cycle I had fallen into. There were decades spent giving myself fully to everyone else’s projects. I believed more in theirs than I did in my own. Remember the “abrupt and brutal end” of my successful project. I believe that happened because I poured everything into someone else’s vision while neglecting mine. My first waking thought on the first day of 2024 was, “failure to launch.”
Failure to launch is a psychological term that describes the inability of a young adult to establish their independence and embrace the transition from adolescence to adulthood. The concept can be applied to the challenges you and I face with becoming everything we were designed to be. Failure to launch hinders our progress, growth, and impact.
One thing I am known for is not quitting. I don’t give up on ideas. Instead, I have been collecting and building and refreshing and repeating that process. I have gained understanding and some wisdom, but I haven’t launched fully. I failed to launch my poetry collection, album, and devotional in 2004, Vivid Magazine and Baudacity in 2005, Flip Productivity™ System in 2011, my international miniature exhibition in 2013, and Vivid Academy nonprofit in 2020.
Now I see that my camels have been bearing the weight like champions, and they are bringing it all back with everything I need. Their arrival was dependent on my ability to unburden myself of the doubt, ignorance, and fear of disappointment that was brewing under the surface. The gift of 2023 is that I left it with an understanding of the provision and purpose the camels were bringing. Habakkuk 2: 3 gives me confidence that none of it will be lost or wasted, and it will be right on time. It was exactly what I needed to step into my identity, influence, and impact in 2024. Let me go. I’m about to launch some stuff!