Nobody likes to fail. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying, to you and to themselves.
It’s okay to not like failing. You’re not supposed to like it. It’s supposed to suck.
That being said, you can not like failure and still accept it for what it is: a chance to dust yourself off and learn from your experience. Failure is nothing more than a growth opportunity. Sometimes the lessons are painful, but they help you grow.
What am I currently afraid of failing at?
- Getting my brown belt in the Spring
- Becoming a copy editor/proofreader
- Becoming a wellness coach
- Letting go of massage as my main source of income
- Being a good partner in this marriage and a good mama to this dog
- Ever getting any of my work published through anything other than self-publishing
These are just the big ones that come to mind off the top of my head. I have an innate ability to worry over just about any kind of perceived failure, realistic or not. A lot of those are fears of the unknown, fear of taking the risk and trying something new. It’s not stopping me from going after them, but the fear is there. The “what if” is always present.
So…what if I fail?
What if any one of those things doesn’t happen? Well, I’d feel sad, even heart-broken. I’d feel angry that I wasted my time, hurt that I wasn’t “good” enough. Frustration that I couldn’t make it work. Possibly some embarrassment. Definitely some self-loathing: after all, I obviously didn’t try hard enough or put in as much effort as I could have.
And then I’d move on.
Granted, some might take longer to move on from than others, but I’d do it. In a couple cases I’d dust myself off and try again, secure in the knowledge that a little hard work will go a long way. Or, I’d re-evaluate my goals given the failure and decide that maybe the reason I failed is because it wasn’t meant for me, and I’d explore something else.
Failure is nothing more or less than a testing of your boundaries, of your talents, of your goals and desires, and your dedication.
It is discovering what is a good fit for you, and what might be better suited to someone else. Failure asks how badly you want something, then it asks you to prove it.
Failure does not pass judgement; we do that. We decided that not being able to do something is bad. Failure just wants us to make a decision: yes, or no? It doesn’t care which we choose. If yes, Failure will teach you to dig deeper and try harder. If no, it teaches the fine art of Letting Go.
So maybe I won’t get my Brown Belt the first time out. I can keep testing until I get there. Maybe I’ll never live up to a grammar Nazi’s expectations, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t help aspiring authors. Maybe the Coaching program I really want to accept me won’t; I’ve got two others who probably will.
You are not a bad person if something didn’t turn out how you thought it would. Pick yourself up, keep at it.
You are not a failure. You are magnificent. And you will succeed.