Learning from Failure, Rejection and Criticism

These weeks it has rained on my parade.

My application to TEDx Women Amsterdam was rejected. I got a cold one liner template.

Honestly, it wasn't that bad my reaction. It hurt a little, but I felt that this was just a sign that I needed to learn to pitch better. So, I decided easily to get more knowledge about it. I subscribed the next training on the subject.

A few days later, I got a ​critical comment​ in my most popular blog. 

crticism

At the same time I saw how all my friends were featured in the WIT Regatta except me. I thought I tried everything. I was angry ​at "them". I blamed "them". They didn't want Super Perfect Me. Then I was the victim. Oh, poor little me. From anger towards them, I went into self-pity and helplessness. 

Then I remembered the TED rejection and the reader criticism. I started to bring to my memory more failures, more rejections, more criticism. I brought to my memory, to my now, things that happened years ago. The picture was complete. I was a gigantic failure. I didn't do anything right. Nothing.

Right at that moment of darkness came the smile and hug of my daughter. Her "I love you, mama" woke me up.

STOP! Interrupt the pattern

Without knowing it my daughter broke the downward spiral.  At that point I started to listen to better voices in my mind. ​Tony Robbins said: "Are you sure you tried everything?" My husband's voice said: "To think negatively ​is a decision. To think ​possibilities is also a decision". ​

With this new perspective I was able to ​find solutions.

Write it OUT! 

So then I did followed the very old procedure of one of my patron saints, Abraham Lincoln. He recommends you to write all your ​dark thoughts first. Before all else, you ​should write out all your negative chatter. That's what he did every time he was in anger, fear or blame. 

So I did. I wrote how they ill-treated me, ​belittled me, ​ignored me. How they, they, they! I got all my blame and anger on that page.

Release. Freedom.

Ask Better Questions

After writing out all that crap, I was able to breath and actually think. 

  • What was my role in all these? This question is a bit dangerous because it may ​transform blame into guilt: I could/should have _____.  However it also gives ​you back the control. Knowing that you created something, reminds you that you can create something new. ​"They" were not in control anymore. I was.
  • Was there anything positive in this? Was there a lesson or a blessing for me? Could I learn something from this? Answering these questions is the most valuable action you can take when you are dealing with failure. In my case, I concluded that here there ​were at least two big lessons:
    • I didn't take care of my relationships as much as I could have. Nourishing relationships is the best way to grow as a person and business owner. Sadly I've been neglecting that. No wonder, "they" don't know me, like me or trust me. 
    • This was a time to head "humble pie". I had been putting myself out there as the expert. Crazy woman! I'm not an expert. I'm just a guide who is living the challenges that all women live. I'm just creating a space for my community.

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

​Oprah

  • How could I turn it around, have fun and learn from it? Taking action on my insights was an imperative. How could I genuinely look at myself in the mirror without taking relevant action?
    • I wrote the nicest and funniest email I could to the organizers of the Regatta and guess what happened? I'll be interviewing Melody this afternoon.
    • I attended the Pitch Workshop of David Beckett. Highly recommended!
    • Write this blog post aka share my vulnerability and how I dealt with this challenge with my community and
  • Does this define me? Is this all there is? I looked around and found loads of evidence of being successful at my one thing: helping others to thrive in their own terms. I read all the handwritten letters of ​previous grateful customers. Heartwarming. Not all is lost. There is something to appreciate when we open our eyes to see beyond the negative. 

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. Samuel Beckett

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Identified? Here is my hand

I hope that reading my story makes you feel understood and less alone. If your feelings of failure are stronger than the remedies I give you here and are ready to be helped, here is my hand. Let's talk!

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Back to YOU

Of course, this list of ​ideas on how to deal with failure and criticism is not exhaustive. I, we, would learn more about how to deal with this normal part of life.

Please share with us your insights on how to deal with failure. What question takes you out of any funk?

​Please, please please!

Share your insights in the comments below. Your words might fall in the right heart.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! for reading, sharing, caring!

Sending you a wave of love and light!​

Blanca Vergara

Blanca Vergara MBA, soul entrepreneur, author, speaker and mom, has an uncanny vision for identifying passion and purpose. She has the charm to enthuse and the muscle to move you into action. Blanca delivers post modern, high-impact, transformational solutions for the builders of the Upcoming Heart Centred Economy to authentically renew the world.

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