In coach training, we learned about failure and what we make it mean. According to an online dictionary, failure is “the condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends.” My interpretation of this definition is simply that something didn’t turn out the way we expected or we didn’t get the results we expected. So, if you can buy into this definition, then perhaps you can buy into my argument that failure is something that is important and even necessary for us to grow and get the results that we desire.
Most people don’t achieve their dreams because they don’t want to fail. They keep expectations low so that they never have to experience ‘failure.’ But why do most people want to avoid ‘failure’ if failure is simply just not taking required action to meet an expected outcome?
Well, it all has to do with what we make ‘failure’ mean and the thoughts that we attach to failure and the negative emotions that we feel as a result. When we don’t meet our own expectations, the feelings we end up having are based on what we decide to think. This may seem a little strange so I want to illustrate what I’m talking about here. What if we decide to ask somebody out on a date and they say ‘no?” We have a choice here…we can think thoughts that result in us feeling rejected, disappointed, or unworthy or we can think thoughts that help us feel like we learned something new. Maybe we learned that that person isn’t ‘our’ person, or that person may have reasons that they don’t want to go out on a date that we might not be aware of OR, what if we decide that we are PROUD for stepping outside of our comfort zone rather than failing ahead of time by not even asking???
You can even substitute the word ‘failure’ for ‘learning.’ What if in this case we learned that by asking more people on dates and risking more rejection we will actually reach our goal of a long term relationship sooner? That by putting ourselves outside of our comfort zone more often and increasing our rate of failure (and tolerance of failure) we will increase our chance of ultimately achieving success?
I also want to point out that confidence comes only after trying something over and over and failing often enough to realize it is possible to get better and better every time without having to give up. In closing, I want to point out that shame and guilt are exhausting and not required to be successful. If you believed that you would be successful after 25 fails, you’d probably run out into the streets looking for failures instead of looking for ways to avoid them.
Think about this…and go FAIL today, my friend! You will be one step closer to your goal!