Practising the Art of Self Forgiveness
When you go into business, you are filled with hope and visions of success. You work hard, you make sacrifices, you put everything you have into what you are doing, and usually, it goes well.
But sometimes you fail.
No matter what stage of business you are in, there is always potential to make a bad decision that impacts not just you, but the people who believed that you could deliver what you promised.
You tell your investors and those who gave of their wisdom and time that you are sorry. Most of the time, they find it in themselves to forgive you.
But the hardest act of all is to forgive yourself when you fail.
You go over and over what happened. You wonder if you could have pushed on just one more week or month or year if you could have made it. You ask yourself if you really have the skills you once confidently believed you had.
You are shaken to the core.
The more I engage in business and the more entrepreneurs I work with, I realize how universal the act of self-blame is when things don’t go as we planned.
There may be a dozen circumstances that torpedoed your efforts, but at the end of the day, you blame yourself.
The danger of self-blame
If you cannot pull yourself out of the quagmire of blame and practice the art of self-forgiveness, you may break yourself for life.
You may never again be able to light up your confidence and go out and try again.
But how do you rise up again and go on when all you really want to do is huddle away from the world for a while and make it all go away? How do you learn to believe in yourself again?
One good first step is to start to look at the failure with the same eye as you would look to success. Chart the process of what happened, so that you can know what worked or didn’t work.
If you can put your personal sense of hurt on hold for a few hours and grab a paper and pen and start to note what parts of the mission worked well, and where things started to go off the rails, you will not only begin your recovery process, but you will learn lessons no business class can ever teach you.
Focus kindly on yourself
Once you identify what went wrong, remind yourself how hard you worked to make this project succeed and that you have nothing to be ashamed of.
Instead of being focused on what others are thinking about you, think kindly about yourself.
You have just had your hopes dashed and your work de-valued. You need to forgive yourself for any part you contributed to this business demise, and then return to what is left of your business, or a new business, with a fresh strength.
Consider if there is a way that you can make amends to people who lost money or time because of this failure. You may be so severely impacted financially that you cannot make restitution, and if that is your reality, you must accept that.
They will accept it too. Remember that investors know when they go into a new project that it may succeed and make them more money, or they may lose that money. In their eyes, this is just a time that it did not work.
Whether or not they forgive you, you must forgive yourself and move past any negative energy that remains.
Accept that failure is just as much a growth component as success
At this point, when you have done what you could to placate other people, you must let go of your need for their forgiveness and understanding. It may never happen, and you still need to forgive yourself.
If you are struggling with this, turn to professional help to get you through this tough time in your life.
The greatest step towards self-growth is to understand that you can forgive yourself and you can trust yourself to move forward, whether or not the world around you can do that. Nobody determines your value and your worth other than you.
When you can forgive yourself, your faith returns.
And that gives you the strength to start again, to take the good and the bad from what you have learned and succeed the next time.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 19 countries, 13 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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