By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Failure. What thoughts, emotions, or even physical feelings does that word evoke in you?
It’s crazy that a word, a simple word, can be attached to so many deep feelings and reactions. Your feelings and reactions to failure run deep, created from multiple sources like expectations placed on yourself by others, society, and yourself as well as personal experience. Typically, the reaction to failure is negative - fear, worry, anxiety, or sadness. It is associated with self-doubt, inadequacy, “not enoughing” yourself…the list goes on and on.
Failure. It’s too bad that a normal part of the learning process, truthfully your very best teacher, has such a bad reputation.
Let’s have a reality check, DreamChaser. If you are starting something new, something brand spanking new that you have never done before, is it realistic to think you would get it right the first time? Think about a time you were a newbie, perhaps you were playing a sport for the first time or starting a course for a career path. Were you a rock star right off the bat? Probably not. Did you give up? That depends.
Depends on what, you ask? Your mindset! You got it…like many things, your thoughts and beliefs about the new task at hand will determine if you feel positively or negatively about failing. In fact, you might not even recognize you are failing, accepting your novice status for what it is, a normal part of learning. It’s when you are really stepping out of the comfort zone, doing something that you or, gasp, others might think is a total deviation from your path that the fear of failing often rears it’s ugly head.
This leads us to one of our f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e strategies at SoulShine…the good ole Flip the Script! Unfamiliar with Flip the Script? This is when you take something that is negative and rewrite the script to be positive and possible. We want to help you see failing the way it should be, as a normal stepping stone in the process of learning. Here’s a new F.A.I.L. process for your Best Life Toolbox:
1. F: Feel the Fear (but do it anyway)
It’s okay to be nervous when you start something new. It’s not okay to avoid trying just because you might fail. Want to know something interesting? Your body experiences fear and excitement the exact same way - increased heart rate, sweating, butterflies in the stomach. Get this…you control the narrative if you will be afraid or excited. As you get ready to try something new and out of that comfort zone and fear starts to creep in, give yourself a mindset reset. Recognize the feelings but choose to be excited or nervous rather than afraid.
2. A: Accept It
Chances are, you won’t do this new thing right the first time. That’s okay. It’s an accepted part of the process of learning and getting better. Choose to see failure as just part of the journey and a great teacher.
3. I: Investigation Time
After you stumble in your first or second or hundredth attempt, take time to investigate. What do I mean? There is a reason that you weren’t successful, especially with a repeat failure for the same goal. You might need to try a different strategy. Be curious about the lesson that the failure is trying to teach you.
4. L: Lean In
After you investigate the failure and, perhaps, course correct, take a minute to lean into the failure with a little gratitude. Why? Gratitude helps put a positive spin on any situation. When you can find gratitude, or as I like to say a blessing in the stressing, you also build your resiliency muscle. This will help you start to see failure in a positive light in the future as well!
Here’s the bottom line, DreamChaser. You have big dreams…that’s why you are here, right? We get it! We also get that failing, especially when it means so much to you, is scary. It’s easier to stay small and shrink…taking action on those dreams takes courage. But, it’s worth it…you are worth it…your dreams and goals are worth it. Flipping the Script on failure, returning it to it’s rightful place as a positive life teacher, is an awesome first step on your Best Life Journey!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.