Failure! Gotta admit--it's not my favorite word. I think that for most of my life, I've determined that if I failed, I was a failure...and; in fact, I felt that not trying, was actually preferable to trying and failing. Have you ever felt that way? Here's another question, have you ever stopped yourself from doing something you really wanted to do because you were afraid you'd fail? If you answered yes to either question, you may be in that rut because of a fear of failure. Don't worry--it happens to the best of us! It's only a fear and you can let it go. I'll share a few concepts that may help. Here's something to ponder....What are the things people regret THE MOST? Do you think they regret failing most? Or do they regret holding back and not taking risks---not trying? You may find it surprising to know that most people who've reached the end of their lives report that the things they regret most are NOT things they have done, but rather things they DIDN"T DO? That's right, by and large, the biggest regrets are from risks not taken, moves not made and opportunities passed by. So, when it comes down to it, fearing failure --aka fearing defeat---means we hold back and actually experience the failure..and what's worse is, that failure becomes permanent because it keeps us from progress. It literally becomes a stumbling block that keeps us feeling stuck and defeated! Without taking any risks, without putting ourselves out there, without getting a little scuffed up, we don't get to win! Refusing to try is guaranteed defeat. And it's the kind of failure that really does stop us in our tracks.
In contrast, you've probably heard the oft quoted mantra, every failure carries with it the seed of success. This is a true statement and in order to nourish that success seed, it's important to follow a few guidelines:
First: Don't make it personal. There is a difference between failing and being a failure. Just because you make a mistake, does not mean you are a failure. Any time you attach your personal worth to your actions you are in trouble. The moment you attach your identity to a label, your subconscious mind works very hard to prove it to be true! Even though it is true that no human being is ever a failure, your mind will argue that point and you will "feel" like you are a failure when you judge yourself to be. So rule number one: Detach your experience from your identity. If you find this hard to do, make it a practice of looking at yourself in the mirror and saying I love you anyway" every time you make a mistake.
Second, always look for the lesson. Which questions do you remember the most when taking a test? The ones you answered incorrectly right? Mistakes are really set up to wake us up and teach us a lesson. I recall a story of a financial administrator who had lost $1 million dollars for his company because of a mistake he made. When the owner of the company was asked if he was going to fire him, his response was, "Are you kidding? I just invested $1million dollars in his education. Why would I fire him?" The owner new this person learned a valuable lesson that he would likely not repeat.
Third, take full responsibility for the mistake. Assigning blame to another person places the power to change the situation outside of yourself and keeps you from making any progress. Taking full responsibility puts you in the driver's seat and empowers you to create positive change.
Fourth, apply the learning to a new mode of behavior. Obviously, if you are going to avoid repeating the same mistake, you must see the part you played in the mistake and what you can do differently next time. Be wiling to ask yourself what measures can you take from your lesson this time that will set you up for success next time.
If you are still feeling stuck, ask yourself if you want to stay where you are or if you want to get to a better place. All change, even positive change, can be scary. If you give yourself permission to fail, you make it "safe" to move forward and get back on track!
My personal mantra is: Fail Faster so you can Fail Forward! The Faster You Fail,
the faster you grow and the faster you move Forward to witness Success!