Very few people are comfortable with failure. It carries a stigma that perhaps we are not good enough, that we don’t have the skills or talents, and we are somehow incompetent. It could not be further from the truth.
Our failures are steppingstones to whatever dream or goal we desire, and sometimes we stumble, sometimes we take the wrong path, and sometimes we get lost in our own dramas. The truth is, we are all failing our way to success, and there are many ways to think of that, but essentially it comes down to this. Failures are simply an expectation, a decision, a choice that did not go the way you had intended. So… fail better!
Strategy 1 FAIL OFTEN
Think of failure as a redirect. An opportunity to try something different. We are a society of over-achievers and as such we will push ourselves beyond what many people would consider normal. As we do so, we stretch and get uncomfortable, and we cling to the notion that no matter what we can make things work. When we don’t, it can come as a shock and it’s easy to spiral into the fear that says YOU are the failure! To combat that notion, think of the word “Next” and focus your attention on your next move and take the appropriate actions.
Strategy 2 RISK MORE
My acroynym for Risk is Respect Your Intention and Show Kourage. Not exact but then again, neither is taking risks. We take risks every day. Just getting in the car can be a risk. We risk doing or saying something that others may disagree with. We risk showing our love for someone when we are unsure if our feelings will be reciprocated. We even risk marrying the wrong person! We risk every day in our business. We risk our well-being when we do something reckless! Every day there is an opportunity to take risks, but so many of us stop ourselves from reaching for something more, something bigger, something that we know is a stretch, because we are afraid we will fail before we reach it. When I say respect your intention it’s about your follow-through. Taking the right actions, and raising your expectations about achieving it. So next time you hesitate to take more risks, respect your intention and show courage!
Strategy 3 MANAGING DESIRE
In the Buddhist tradition desire is one of the stumbling blocks to happiness, and yet, for many of us, desire is what drives the engine of success. Our desire for greater achievements, recognition, money, status, acceptance etc., is one long list that spirals into mundane objects. The list is long and frequently it’s good to ask, “is this what I really want?” Our desires are also tied into the failure equation. “What if I don’t get it?” or even worse, “what if I don’t deserve it.” This last one is particularly insidious because it undermines your ability to ask for what you want. The key to managing your desires is to make an inventory of the things that really matter to you, and then ask, “is this really what I want?” You might find it interesting to see that maybe you don’t need what you think you need.
Strategy 4 DON’T RESIST CHANGE
Resistance to change is the unwillingness to take adapt to altered circumstances.Take some time to think about where you resist change, what benefits you get from it, and what you can do to make the change easier. Do you avoid confronting challenges by:
- Avoiding any thought or discussion about it?
- Refusing to take enough action?
- Not developing the right skills or experience to take you to the next level?
- Confusing action with wishful thinking?
- Expecting change without discomfort?
When we are willing to confront the things we consider challenging, when we are willing to get comfortable being uncomfortable, new opportunities open up and change becomes easy.
Strategy 5 CELEBRATE SUCCESS
Take an inventory of your failures and your success. What did you discover. More success than failure? If so, celebrate. When we celebrate our triumphs in life, we give ourselves credit for the journey we’ve taken, for the obstacles we’ve overcome, and for the strength and courage it took to manifest a new sense of self. Failure is simply another step along the way.
Thank you for reading.