There is drive in all of us, big ideas and plans we dream up, but more often than not we play it small and don’t go through with them for fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, even fear of success itself! Failure scares me. Sometimes I worry I’m so behind the game I’ll never catch up. Other times I’m scared I’m one step ahead of myself and about to sink instead of swim.
We’re all scared of failure. I know that for sure. The difference is whether we’re willing to face our fears every day and live with our whole hearts or remain imprisoned by fear, dreaming of another life, but too scared to change our circumstances and too full of excuses as we try to defend our position.
Here are some important tips to remember when dealing with failure:
- Failure is something that happens, not who you are.When we don’t manage to accomplish what we’ve set out to do or things don’t go according to plan, it’s important to remind ourselves that failure is an event that has occurred – it is NOT a reflection of who we are. When we fail, it is our egos that make the worst of it and our saboteur voices in our heads that convince us that this moment defines who we are – making it hard for us to learn from our mistakes and to adapt.
- What defines who you are is how you react in moments of failure.The worst thing you can do is to confuse an event for a personal characteristic. You are not a failure. You may have failed at something, we all have, but that failure does not define you. What will define you is how you react and respond to those moments of failure.
- Learn from your mistakes.It never feels good to make a mistake but it’s from our mistakes that our greatest learnings stem. Every mistake is a clue towards doing something better when you try again. Your best teacher will always be your last mistake.
- Celebrate the effort.I face failure on a regular basis. Yet my sense of achievement for simply having tried, even on days when I completely belly flop, together with the rewards of trying, are incomparable and worth the lingering threat of fear. It takes courage to face our fears, celebrate your efforts even when they don’t go according to plan.
- Face your fears. Whether it’s your job, love, friendships, your health – face your fear of failure and allow yourself the opportunity to be seen, to succeed, to find love, to love what you do and do what you love. Remember that even if you fail, the road doesn’t end there. That bruised heart will heal with new lessons learned. Keep it open, keep facing your fears, and watch as your life transforms. Since becoming a yoga teacher and coach, I do more things that scare me on a regular basis now than I ever did before – and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I do things that I love, I’m married to a man I adore, I have friends that are genuine, supportive and inspiring, and I am the most aware I have ever been of my body, my mind and my soul.
- Don’t draw conclusions from failure. Failure is not the end of the road but the very same road as success. And you will appreciate your successes even more having experienced what it is like to fail.
One of the worst and yet most common things we gravitate towards in life is “playing it safe”. The security of a comfort zone and the supposition that we can control our environment in this “safe place” is a big contributing factor to not living the life we dream of for ourselves. Our goal in life is not to avoid failure. The only way to do this would be by never trying, and what a sad life that would be. Don’t let failure get the best of you, instead – get the best of it. Learn from failure. Try. Then try again.