The Attachment Dilemma; A big lesson

In the past, Carol and I planned, organized, and facilitated weekend workshops for couples. The expectation was to have 15 couples together for an enlightening learning experience, as well as for them to have a celebration of the work they were doing in their relationships.

I found it extremely challenging to market these to capacity.  Occasionally, we had a full house.  Usually, it was far less than my expectation. Regardless of the reasons for lack of sales, I was attached to the outcome and I felt like a failure.

Failure is an event; not a person

At our semi-annual retreat, one of our goals was to provide 4 Relationship Recharge Get-away Retreats each month.  I’ve not been able to make that happen. Regardless of the reasons, I was attached to the outcome and I felt like a failure.

Failure is an event; not a person

I set goals to complete some renovations in our own home and several rental properties.  Summer is now gone and although I got some of it done, I was attached to the outcome and I felt like a failure.

Failure is an event; not a person

We have been working with several dear friends and colleagues to host a day-long event. It was designed for business leaders to focus on accountability and creating high-trust cultures.  Despite a ton of hard work by all of us, we decided to cancel the event due to a lack of registrations.  I was attached to the outcome and I felt like a failure.

Failure is an event; not a person

What’s the lesson that is applicable for me, and maybe you?

I was pondering this in my meditation practice this morning.  My eyes shot open with this thought that ran through my mind.

Failure is an event; not a person

Living accountably means ownership.  Ownership of my thoughts, words, actions, feelings, and results.  I “get” this, and consciously strive to live this way. I believe I do well with accountability.

However, accountability does not mean self-identification with the result.

The Lesson:

I am a loving, kind, resourceful, respectful human being.  The experiences I create through my thoughts, words, and action are simply that – experiences.  I own them, but they are not me.  Yes, I make mistakes, but they are not me.  I can learn from, and correct my mistakes, but they do not change who I am.

Guess what?  It is exactly the same for you.

I invite you to find a quiet place to ponder who you are – as a human being.  I invite you to make a list of your amazing and positive talents, skills, and attributes – as an incredibly capable and resourceful human being.  If you have a thought such as “I’m not a …”, reframe that to a positive of “I am a …”.

If you’re up to the challenge, every time you have a “failure” thought about yourself, pull out that list and read the words you’ve written out loud .

Failure is an event; not a person

Uncomfortable?  Maybe.  Impactful?  Absolutely.

Please send me a note. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this.



So grateful for this post today. I have been making mistakes at work. My boss uses them as examples in a way that is demeaning and using my immediate boss as a tool as well. My mistakes are posted on emails to the v.p’s in the company. I work in the banking industry that is constantly changing regulations and systems and I experienced the loss of my best friend and spouse 3.5 years ago to suicide. I just cannot keep up at times to the changes…..loss of memory or don’t care, I am not sure.

My brain does not function as well right now. I am forgetful and preoccupied at times and my anxiety with not knowing what I am doing makes me feel like I am stupid or as some people call others, an idiot. It makes me cringe to hear people talk about others in this way. Grievers seem to get grace for the first year and after that we hear the tone “pull up the boot straps and stop acting that way or just move on” is the theme. That is hard to do and you do feel like a failure even in grieving. I cannot do that right… to speak.

I enjoy your articles.



Hi Julie,

Thanks for your honesty and for getting this out of your heart. I hope that the act of writing these words will provide you with some relief. Life is just not fair sometimes.

My belief is that your brain is functioning just fine and your heart works just fine too. The emotions you feel are real and grieving is a tough time. As in the article you, as an amazing human being, are not a failure.

Even if it is hard to do, I invite you to take a few minutes each day, to look outside of yourself, and to notice some things that you appreciate, whatever they are – food, warm home, vehicle, friends or acquaintances, weather, etc. Some people with whom we’ve coached, choose to have a Gratitude Journal that they write in every day. As you begin to experience some gratitude, you may find some relief. It is impossible to go from the state you are feeling now, to a state of extreme joy. Yet, with small incremental steps, each moment you can create a bit more lightness.

In his book, “What Happy People Know”, Dr. Dan Baker shares a conversation he had with a woman who was dying with cancer. She said she had found the secret to happiness as this. “For every moment that begins, it is instantly gone. Therefore life is about loss. The Secret to Happiness is to learn to love the moment more than you mourn the loss.”

Thanks again for your comments, Julie. I love you.


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