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The Cha, Cha of Success: A Series of Failure Interviews

First of all thank you.

We are truly humbled by the amount of support, ommentsheerleading, and well wishing from home, to places as far as the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. We gotten offers of jobs, housesitting gigs, even cars to drive since we’ve announced our decision to come home.

Thank you. Really.

And just to be clear, we are NOT giving up—just rerouting to refuel the spirits and the bank account. We made that initial leap of faith like little kids jumping into the deep end of the pool. We closed our eyes, held hands and jumped with nothing but enthusiasm, screaming the whole way until we got water up our nose. Then, giddy with adrenaline, we kicked to the edge of the pool, more excited than ever to jump back in.

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This month as a celebration of “failure,” resiliency, and the fundamental desire we all crave for expansion, I’m sharing other Cha, Cha, Cha stories (doesn’t that sound better than the ‘f’ word!) from some truly incredible individuals. If the stories I’m about to share don’t convince you to follow whatever that long held desire of yours is, I don’t know what will!

It is with great pleasure today that I introduce you to Therese Skelly. Her story is particularly moving for those of us who have ever struggled with managing our money. Therese is a successful and heart-centered business coach helping women reach their financial goals, and has become one of my favorite people that I have met on this adventure thus far. You can find Therese over at Happy in Business, and I can’t recommend her highly enough!

Thank you again Therese for your beautiful story and generous heart!

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WCT: Tell me about a time that could be considered a failure, or when you tried something and it didn’t go as planned?

Therese: After I got divorced in 2006 I lived way beyond my means. My ex and I had had plenty of money, so there was never a need (in our minds anyway) to manage it. We’d been together almost 20 years, so I ‘grew up’ with the mentality of just being unconscious with money. I left the marriage with a bit of savings and a very healthy alimony payment. But little did I know that we were heading into the economic downturn that would cause my life to crash and burn.

Here I was a business coach, helping people to make money in their business. Yet, my finances were slowly dwindling away. Starting in 2010, my ex could no longer pay the monthly allotment we agreed on, I lost two big coaching contracts, and the little money I did receive from one on one clients began to dwindle.

I was faced with the hardest decision I ever had to make. And that was to walk away from everything. It first started with letting my beloved sports car get repossessed. Next the house went into foreclosure, and then I had to file bankruptcy to protect me from the creditors coming after me for the second mortgage on my home.

At the time I had two young boys and I must admit that I was not very present. You could probably say that I was here ‘failing’ at parenting, as my business, life and finances also came crashing down. I wasn’t present for the boys, and for months lived in a constant state of fear and overwhelm. What was at stake was me being able to provide, hold my head up as a business coach, and pull myself out of the pit that I had created for myself.

WCT: What was the deciding factor or event that made you decide to call it quits, or change plans or admit things weren’t working as planned?

Therese: The first part of the decision actually came from working with my chiropractor. I was soooo stressed out trying to juggle all the balls and be the responsible citizen who paid her bills. I had tried negotiating with my car financing people, but because it was leased, there was no option. Pay, or give it up. I remember the day my chiropractor had a rather stern talk with me. “Therese, you are basically killing yourself with stress, trying to save a CAR. What about saving yourself? Let the car go.” Making the decision was torture. But being sick was worse. I knew the stress that I was living with, so I picked up the phone and made an appointment to let me car be taken away.

WCT: How did you feel admitting defeat at the time?

Therese: The primary feeling initially was shame. How could I, as a smart woman, and BUSINESS COACH, be so messed up to allow this to happen? I also had tremendous fear, anxiety, and felt totally lost.

How did it feel once you came clean with yourself and those around you?

Therese: There were two different levels of coming clean. The first was to my close, inner circle. They literally saved my sanity with their support. I felt still very desperate, but had so much support that I felt held and loved and that growth and a new future were possible.

But the next level of coming clean was even bigger. I remember being at a business retreat in 2011. I was working on my next big vision, but kept getting stuck with the fact that there was this ‘secret’ I was harboring that totally held me back. Who was I to be able to coach people to make more money when I totally messed up mine own? Then the magic happened. Very tearfully I shared with the gals on the retreat my ‘secret’ and all the shame I was still carrying. I felt like a fraud and was seriously worried that no one would hire me or take me seriously because I had failed. One beautiful woman gently reached out and said, “Therese, actually I’d be MORE LIKELY to hire you now because having gone through what you have gone through, I know you’ll understand me and be extremely compassionate.” That was like God talking directly to me, calming me and reassuring me that all was well.

WCT: How long did it take for you to appreciate the silver lining, or the lesson?

Therese: It sure didn’t happen right away! It actually was when I decided to ‘out’ myself that things shifted. After the above business retreat I was on, I made a decision to share my journey. The funny part? Three days later I got the download to host a telesummmit called, “Breaking Down to Break Free. It was in this forum with hundreds and hundreds of people listening that I shared my story, and had other powerful women share their journey of breaking down and failing. (I always thought that Spirit was funny…..here I had envisioned sharing the material one on one of in small groups, but nope….I was guided to tell it BIG TIME!)

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WCT: How do you feel this “failure” contributed to your overall success or where you are now?

Therese: I today say, I ‘got’ to go through bankruptcy and financial wreckage because without having that journey, I’d never be able to help the women I am blessed to serve today. A bit of back story – 10 years ago I had a conversation with a money coach. I decided not to take their program, but something in my soul said, “That’s yours to do. You will help women heal their money issues and be powerful so they have financial freedom.” Now remember, at the time my ex and I were like little children! We had so much money that we never had to balance a check book or make any sacrifices. I had zero idea about money, etc. so when I got this ‘hit’ from my soul, I thought it meant that I was supposed to learn about finances or investing, or the stock market. Kinda yucky things in my mind back then, so I let it go. Fast forward ten years. My “life school” got to be going bankrupt, losing my money, my dignity, and my sense of fear, so I today can show women how to be more powerful! Crazy how life gives us exactly what we need!

WCT: What is your philosophy on failure?

Therese: There is no failure! When I used to teach college freshman, we’d say, “An “F” is just FEEDBACK, not failure. And that’s what failure is. It’s a message of feedback, and actually your soul moving you to the next place. My great “failures” happened early on when I was refusing to see the signs and listening to the guidance to change course. Today the things that I encountered that were painful, or felt like losses (like my divorce) I can truly see that they were blessings.

WCT: Any other thoughts you’d like to share about failure, or about your story?

Therese: I believe that as Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith says, “This isn’t happening To you, it’s happening FOR you. Find the perfection in everything! Look for the growth opportunities. Discover how this new experience of loss or feeling of failure may just be cracking you open to receive more good or become the better version of yourself.

GOOSEBUMPS! Told you she was incredible. Look for more tales of awesome throughout this month. We’ve got a line up of travelers, entrepreneurs and everyday hero’s that are going to blow you away with their bravery.

Here’s to big hearted living, and stumbling toward the light.

Tiffiney Lozano is the creator of the Mama Said Project and two crazy humans. She offers workshops for women craving connection with themselves and the world around them. After 18- months of continuous travel she and her family are finding adventure in the everyday from the comfort and beauty of their home in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe.
1 Comment... add your own
  • January 16, 2015, 6:26

    I love this raw authenticity, vulnerability, and power from two women I have come to adore, exactly BECAUSE of who you are and where you’ve been. Thank you for this series!

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