“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” – H. Stanley Judd
Failing is a good thing!
Before you gasp in horror, hear me out.
This idea that we must avoid failing at all costs runs deep in our society. From a young age, many of us are conditioned to believe that failing is bad. This is heavily reinforced in our school systems and our work environments. As a result, we become over-achieving perfectionists – rigid and constantly anxious about outcomes.
Fear of failure was a block in my life well into my late twenties. In school, anything less than straight A’s was unacceptable and in my jobs, stellar evaluations were the standard. The rewards were the approval of others and material gains (while stifling my dreams). Had I fallen short of those expectations would have meant that I was a FAILURE!
This brings up an important point: there is a HUGE difference between you failing and you being a failure. The former means YOU MADE a mistake or you screwed up (external to you), while the latter suggests that YOU ARE a mistake or screw up (internal to you). Can you see the impact that failing versus being a failure could have on your confidence, trusting yourself, and moving towards your goals and dreams?
Now that we agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with us and that we sometimes fail but that does not make us failures, how do we fail the right way?
It is quite simple. We do so by FAILING FORWARD!
To fail forward means to learn from our mistakes and to become better. Failing is nothing to be ashamed of unless you fail to learn the lesson and use it to your advantage the next time around. Embrace failing. It is how we grow!
What is one thing you have been putting off because of fear of failure? Can you take the first step today? If it works out, GREAT! If it doesn’t, GREAT! Either way, you would have gained valuable insights and lessons.