"When we think of failure as the opposite of achievement we see only the negative implications. Yet, it is the very existence of failure, of being imperfect from time to time, that allows for our truly being able to comprehend and celebrate our successes. This imperfection frees us to try, to reach, and to be more in alignment with our own true being. When embraced, failure is a significant component of what makes achievement possible at all."
~Randi Levin Coaching
Failure actually enriches our journey because it provides the grit from which success happens. Technically, we each have the propensity to fail at a variety of things in our lives. How strange would life be if we all did everything perfectly with stellar results? No one would ever ask questions, or explore, or try harder because without failure in our lives, success would not be possible. Failure is an important foundation of personal growth from which we learn and discover not only more about the world around us, but about ourselves.
So yes, failure does exist; but it is how we each individually process failure that creates a positive or negative reaction unique to us. If we fall into it, we can rise out of it. If we friend it...we can accept it and make it work for us. This week, I literally fell into failure. I fell down a flight of ten steps and the eleventh landing step caught me. Shaken. Bruised. Thankful. Lucky. This fall could have had an entirely different ending. I was not being mindful, I was catching up on work from being away on vacation--my mind living in many moments, except the one that I was currently experiencing and actually breathing in. Was it a fail...or was it a win? What did I learn?
Failure and success are two sides of the same coin. They are co-dependent on each other. The lessons that failure teaches us carve out the desire to succeed in some people, and the need to give up for others. Not succeeding can be a catalyst for change propelling us forward toward what we most want, or it can be an obstacle highlighting our fears. Failure is at the core of our ability to let go of perfection. We all make mistakes. Who we are and what we stand for as individuals is most revealed in how we handle set backs and how we change and challenge our thinking because of them. For me, my tumble was a wake up call not only to be more present in what I am doing, but to remember that this fall, although upsetting, does not define me or my ability to thrive, succeed, and move ahead. Thankful.
Since failure and fear hold tightly to each other, we need to find ways in which to separate them. There is one significant key to keeping failure and fear apart.
The key to unlocking failure is courage. In my case, it may have been a deep connection to luck and gratitude as well!
None of us should be absolutely fearless. We all have fears, so pretending that we do not is not motivational. Being brave is. We will fail. Most of us will want to move further away from our dreams when we at some point get it "wrong." This is our individual defining moment. The decisions we make when things are not going our way, or are suddenly more difficult, are the ones that go the distance in our lives. Consider this...
What if our perceived "failure" is really exactly what we need next?
What if our loss is really a win, but we don't know that yet?
What if learning when things go wrong and making friends with the fail is our power step into embracing success and even happiness?
Failure is a stop along the road. When we travel, we may not like every stop that we make, every tour that we take, and every place that we visit. Yet, we keep going. We do another tour, make another stop, and create another experience. If we liked everything, we would appreciate nothing. If everything worked without a glitch, we would not be able to celebrate when it goes well. So celebrate it all. Turn the key on courage and try something else, and then do it again. Courage turns fear upside down and allows us to keep setting the bar higher, even in the face of adversity. Courage is about being mindful. Courage is the new perfect!
Our thoughts form the beginnings of our actions. Brave thoughts foster bolder moves. Push that fear away one actionable thought at a time. What can you do regardless of the outcome? What can you learn when you look failure in the face? Here are 3 ways to build courage and to turn the fails or potential obstacles into working wins. No "F" word needed!
Buy the Sneakers
: We want to lose weight, to be healthy, to be mindful of exercise. So, we join a gym. Then we don't go. Or we don't go often. Want to be really bold? Break the exercise opportunity down to its most basic component and buy the sneakers. Lace them up. Then go for a walk, or a run. Rinse and repeat. When you begin to wear in those sneakers it is time for the gym membership! The process of
is the opportunity for achievement. Owning a gym membership that is never used, not so much. BEGIN!
Play in the Sandbox:
Being a" kidult" takes courage!
The sandbox is a messy place to be and the skill set needed to be in that sandbox requires team spirit, an understanding of boundaries, creativity, and the ability to lose control. Sandbox play can be uncomfortable and unpredictable teaching us to lean in the direction of the unknown. Play is not just a part of our lives as children; it is an essential part of our lives as adults. Playing in the sandbox is synonymous with letting go of perfection and embracing whatever comes next in this very moment. Visualize your own sandbox. What does it teach you about life, fear, conflict resolution, trust, and managing impulses? BUILD YOUR CASTLE!
Scared? Here is the best cure. Smile! Laugh! Find the humor in whatever is blocking your path. Connect to the happier visual that can carry you forward through your less inspired thoughts. Recently, one of my clients was stuck in growing her business. She felt that she needed to make hundreds of sales calls and to be actively using her "list" to build out her business. While accurate that she had a list of past and potential customers, this list seemed like the largest mountaintop to my client and represented only one way that she could potentially move her business forward. The idea of making all of those calls, of the possible "rejection" involved, stopped her for weeks from making any calls.
we explored the concept of her list of clients as being nothing more than names on paper. Her AHA moment came when she realized that her "list" and these names on it could be put through her home shredder! There would always be more clients. This list that was holding her back was nothing more than words on a page. She could shred it at any moment and use that renewed energy to propel her forward into meeting new potential clients, and exploring other avenues for growing her business. The visual was enough of an incentive to get her to pick up the phone. She was now in charge.
There is always a shredder. There is always humor. A smile dispels a fear. Failure is just success being patient and waiting its turn!