What if I fail?
I cannot tell you how many times I get this question as a coach.
I cannot tell you how many times I felt stuck in this question before I started my business.
I cannot tell you how many times I circulated over this question before I left my job and took my business full time.
I can tell you how it feels to “fail” and deem the “failure” as something about your self worth. I can also tell you that I did this, for many years, and it didn’t serve me. I thought being hard on myself would ultimately control the outcome (i.e. bring in more success), and in fact, it only left me physically and emotionally drained.
I can tell you that when I decided to really, fully, commit to creating my dream life as a coach, running a successful business and traveling the world, I had to drop my story about failing, and instead be open to all the failure I could get my hands on.
Failing is the necessary ingredient for success.
As said best by Winston Churchill – “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Here’s what I hear in Winston’s famous quote – I hear that successful people (feel free to implement your definition of success here) are able to keep going, even in the event of failure. The reason for that is because these individuals are NOT making failing anything about their self worth or identity. In fact, they are looking at failure as JUST information to apply to the next scenario, to continue to grow and shift and evolve, which ensures them the momentum to keep going.
It is when we create a story about failure, and what it may mean about us, that we lose momentum, or even take ourselves out in the first place.
So, let me ask you – what is your relationship to failure? Can you recall a time where you failed? What did you tell yourself in that moment?
As a recovering perfectionist, I understand the true fear behind failure. Several years ago, when I was in public accounting, I remember my first experience with what I deemed as failure. I remember I was on a team with a manager I admired and struggled to work with. I was given a specific project for the busy season, and it was my baby to run with. I was excited about the freedom, and occasional trust my micro-manager extended.
After all 300-ish hours on the project, my manager was going in to review my work. I still remember the evening, around 9:30 p.m. that I was called over to her cubicle. She had my work up on both of her screens and the energy was just not good. I immediately sunk into my chair and felt like an 8 year old getting in trouble on the playground.
For the next 1.5-2 hours she shared her feedback on the project, with little sugar added. I was shocked because I had built up a very high reputation for myself, and I thought I had done a phenomenal job on the project. I began telling myself things like “if you were smarter” and “why didn’t you see that?” and really harped on myself, making it about my worth.
Of course, knowing what I know today, I see that self talk only limited me. “If you were smarter” is coming from a place of feeling stuck, no momentum, and as if I’ve reached my ceiling of potential. Yet, if I took that experience as purely informative, and a divergence in expectations, I would’ve likely said something more like “how can we make our communication stronger next time? How can we make sure expectations are more clear?” “How can we make sure this is not reviewed at the very end?” etc. etc. The difference between the two is MASSIVE.
It is the choice of growth mindset over fixed mindset.
So, readers, here’s what I invite you to do – whether you are starting a business, stating your case for a promotion, or writing your first book – take tiny steps each day towards your goal. Yes, the goal that scares you, and stay OPEN to all outcomes because they are only pieces of information.
I invite you to look at each “failure” as a new piece to the puzzle. It is a necessary piece of information that you can take to adapt your approach to keep driving towards your desire.
Good evening my lovely readers,