The Art of Accepting and Overcoming Failure
Your worth does not stem from your successes or your failures. Rather it comes from the process of doing and trying, repeatedly, to reach new levels of learning and growth. Inside the heart of every successful person is a mechanism that strives for even more excellence.
When it goes into hyper-drive, pushing you to live in a reactive state of seeking out and solving the next big problem, it can run you off track and send you spiraling into failure. At various times in my life, I have found myself on the edge of that state in a place where I would literally look for things that could possibly go wrong and try to find solutions for them even before they occurred.
It took me a long time to accept and overcome failure and to understand the value of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you have never found yourself in that reactive state, I can tell you that it is exhausting and it never ends. It disconnects you from the way you want to live and the positivity you crave in your life.
I wanted to live in a place of hope and joy and success, but that is tremendously hard to do when you are busy preparing for the next big failure. You become full of angst, paralyzed by the fear of not being perfect all the time and failing. The day I was able to accept that it was all right if everything was not 100 percent perfect all the time was the day I started to accept and overcome failure. I was able to let go of my feelings of inadequacy and not being perfect.
I had to be vulnerable and allow myself to be unsure of possible outcomes in order to grow.
My view of failure at the time was defined as any occasion when I did not achieve perfection. Any slip-up tarnished any accompanying success. With me there was no level of failure. Anything less than perfect was all one level, which was catastrophic. This kind of destructive thinking comes from connecting your self-worth to what others think of you. It comes from constantly needing validation and recognition from the outside, rather than finding inner peace with your own well-considered decisions.
Failure was a place of high drama in my life. I could not accept that it was sometimes okay to work, to invest time, energy, emotions and finances, and still not win the prize. When I went after things, I gave it my all (or so I thought), yet somehow in the midst of dreaming big and being bold, I failed and the idea or dream was washed down the drain. In the wake of a failure I would judge that I didn’t quite make the mark, that I wasn’t good enough, and I would find myself lost and abandoned in the abyss of my other lost ideas.
What I didn’t recognize at that time was that my worth and value do not come from my failures but rather from the act of trying.
There is an art to accepting and overcoming failure. You achieve excellence in that art the day you give yourself permission to use all of your experiences as springboards to learning and growth, rather than set pieces of your history to be judged. I know there are numerous books that present failure kindly, but the act of failing really doesn’t feel good to anyone. But if you change your thinking to focus on the journey as opposed to the destination, your view on failure becomes decidedly more positive.
Failure is a certainty in all our lives, but how we deal with it is how we encounter our bold courage and work our way back to awesome.
Very few people give themselves enough credit for the work they do and the attempts they make to try to make it better. Make patting yourself on the back a priority, starting now. Give yourself a break and stop being so critical with unrealistic expectations. The art of overcoming failure includes the ability to recognize the significance of each step that you take on your journey to success. Achievement is not just one act; it is the sum of all the steps it took to get there.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold expert 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, 11 books, former radio personality, 10x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s newest book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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