Failure gets a bad rap. Growing up, I actually never saw myself as a failure. Don’t get me wrong – I was terrified of the idea of failing at anything – and I have experienced failure plenty of times – but when I did something and it didn’t go exactly the way I had planned, I usually just saw it as another step in the process, no big deal (or at least only temporarily a very big deal!). It’s completely normal to feel fear and anxiety around starting something new or working towards a long-sought-after goal, and I see it a lot with my clients. What differentiates the experience of failure from being a failure is action. If you’re alive (I assume you are!), you will experience failure at some point. You have only failed, however, when you stop taking action. Until then, you’re just experiencing the steps in the process towards fulfilling your goals.
I often see with clients that they confuse experiencing failure with being a failure– and it can totally stop them in their tracks when they have so much potential waiting to be unleashed. It isn’t news to anyone that your thoughts create your reality, and whether you think that you’re a failure as a person (a permanent condition) or that you’re a person who has experienced failure (a temporary condition) makes a big difference. The worst is when the fear of being a failure stops someone from taking action in the first place. It’s counterintuitive, but inaction in an effort to avoid failure is the only way to guarantee failure. You can’t succeed at something you never start, after all. One core aspect of the coaching process involves setting goals and working towards achieving them. My clients are responsible for creating actionable goals, and it does not matter how big or small they seem from anyone else’s perspective. The only thing that matters is that they’re moving forward. And it is because they are moving forward that they cannot be failures.
I worked with a client recently who was so afraid of failing at a goal that it was keeping him from taking any action in the first place. Nobody likes to feel rejected or defeated, and I get that. Once we were able to differentiate in his mind, however, the idea of being a failure vs. experiencing a failure, he discovered that experiencing a failure wouldn’t actually be that bad. In fact, he was able to recall plenty of times when he had experienced failure in the past, and saw that he had learned from those experiences and was glad they had happened. Experiencing failure can be amazing that way! So when I say failure gets a bad rap, it’s because we assume that if we’ve failed, we’re failures. But we’re not. We’re people who are learning as we go. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “You cannot fail, you can only produce results.” To that end, let’s connect if you’re ready to move through fear and start producing results!
Subscribe to stay in the loop on future posts, events and offerings.