Confronting Failure

How do you feel about failing? 

If the fear of failing is keeping you from taking action, ask yourself why. Too often, we let our fear of failure paralyze us. We choose to stay comfortable instead of taking risks that could actually make us happy.

Have you ever found yourself considering all the things that could go wrong when trying to make a decision instead of everything that could go right? Where does the chatter come from that relentlessly tries to discourage you? Has this voice taken up space in your head? It’s time to shut it down. It doesn’t serve you or your dreams. 

Are you willing to settle for comfort instead of taking a chance at something better? I hope not.

Consider getting comfortable being uncomfortable. 

Often, we let past experiences shape our future reality. That is great if it is benefiting us, but what if it has paralyzed us in some way? Can we move past crippling fear and harness the power that comes from embracing the good, bad and ugly?

I’d like to encourage you to define for yourself what failure is without regard to how anyone else defines it. It’s helpful to also define success. Again, what it means to you. Through this process, you might start to see how integral they are to one another. No one has ever achieved great success without experiencing failure along the way.

It’s time we built an affectionate relationship with failure. It’s time we embrace it and recognize all that it does to propel us forward. Failure is part of our journey. It’s a great teacher. 

Failure can solidify lessons. You will never forget a lesson learned the hard way. Remember the times when you failed at something and what you learned from that experience? The emotion tied to that experience deepened the lesson. It is our responsibility to make sure we extract the wisdom and release the label that wounds our egos.

Is it the fear of not being able to recover from a failure or is it our fear of judgement by others if they see us fail that stops us from taking chances?

What if you failed? Could you stand up, dust yourself off and move forward a little wiser from the experience? Could you silence the critics? Maybe this quote from Theodore Roosevelt can inspire you to dare greatly.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the [person] who points out how the strong [person] stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the [person] who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends [theirself] in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if [they] fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that [their] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Our concern with the outside world, and how we will be perceived if we fail, is not of consequence. We must own our lives. We must move towards our goals, making progress along the way, learning from failure, and making adjustments. Failure helps us move forward. 

Sometimes failure moves us in a new direction or reveals something critical to our understanding. Work on the gap between where you are and where you want to be. This space is messy and often requires us to make adjustments. It’s in the thick of failure that we transform.

What if these failures were simply forks in the road? Momentary experiences that offer new options or powerful insight? 

Make yourself comfortable in messy processes. Understand that surrendering to the process is essential to a life of mastery. It isn’t about a seemingly unflawed existence, but rather about committing to pursuing excellence. Don’t sell yourself short. Have a goal bigger than yourself and take it one step at a time, knowing that you’ll meet failure, thank it for its lessons and keep moving forward. 

By: Stacie Anderson

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