Failure is a lack of success in doing or achieving something, especially in relation to a particular activity.
We fear failure for a number of reasons, they can include but are not limited to:
- Previously failing at said thing
- Having low self-esteem
- If someone close to you has previously failed at something similar
- Believing others opinions or criticisms
- Doing something new and having no experience in that area (fear of the unknown)
It took me a long time to realise that failing isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, failing has taught me more about myself than success has ever done.
It may be cliche but it’s true. Honestly speaking, when things went right for me I didn’t question it, I had no reason to. But it’s only when I began having drops in performance and was struggling to put a race together did I begin to question what was going on.
The questioning was useful because it encouraged us to analyse my situation, look at the factors from all angles and adapt accordingly.
As you know I’m big on developing self-awareness and questioning is a form of self-examination. And it is key in learning about who your are as an individual.
It’s great practice to question things and be proactive about it. You don’t have to wait until something doesn’t go right, question regularly and be honest with your answers.
I asked myself, how did I learn to think that failing was such a bad thing anyway?
It’s because I became consumed by my successes and put them on a pedestal, so anything less than wasn’t good enough and I considered a failure.
Although, I knew success was temporary, I still got caught up thinking of everything as a win or loss, and by focusing so much on those two parallels, I forgot about the experience.
I had to re-frame my thoughts on what it meant to fail and to learn to be more compassionate when I encountered failure.
By doing so, my interpretation of success simultaneously changed too. I was no longer hanging on and dragging the life out of my athletic achievements. I stopped attempting to relive the successes I had because that kept me the past, which I could no longer control.
I wasn’t distracted from what was happening to me right there and then, and I was learning from the experience.
Everything in this life is emphemeral, as in nothing lasts forever and with that in mind I try not to react so strongly to my experiences.
Of course I don’t go into any situation wishing to fail, but now I’m not placing a value judgement on failing. I no longer view it as a bad or good thing. It’s an experience and I’ll simply take what I will from it.
I want us to embrace failure. It’s a given, we will all fail at something in some capacity and those feelings that we associate with failure will most certaintly pass.
I wouldn’t want the fear of failure to deter anyone from trying in the first place.
To end this post, I ask you to join me in Flipping Failure on its Head:
All you have to do is say each statement one at a time and then repeat.
- Failure is an obstacle that is temporarily in my way
- Failure means I have been given the opportunity to learn
- Failure is something I must accept is likely to happen
- Failure is when I give up for good
- Failure is just an experience
- Failing may actually be the best thing to ever happen to me
By stating the following it can help you get more comfortable with the idea of failure, I want you to accept that failure forms part of everyday life and it’s actually okay to fail.
Failing for me is simply a learning experience that is meant to challenge and re-shape my journey toward success.
And hopefully you can adopt that definition and make it true for you too 🙂