What is failure?
How will any of these failures could make you feel?
- Your colleague got the promotion you had work for the entire year
- Your product launch generated 10% of the target sales
- Your partner asked you for a divorce
They could make you feel a failure. They could make failure your very own identity. Yes, failure is a very loaded and toxic word. It can even sneak into our identity. Think about it, what it actually is. Failure is no other thing that a discrepancy between your expectations and the reality. You had an expectation, but the results were not what you expected. They simply were different.
- You expected that promotion
- You expected those sales
- You expected a picture perfect family life
Buddha had the wisest words on failure:
The root of all suffering is attachment
You were attached to that outcome. When the outcome is different from your expectation, suffering is automatic. My latest failure is organizing a workshop and getting ONE single attendee signing up. I tried many things: Facebook live, email marketing, social media, personal emails and much more. Still the outcome was hugely disappointing.
If I just at the gap between my expected number of attendees and my achieved number of attendees it’s very easy to jump into anger, paralysis and self-loathing. It is just so very easy.
I’ve been giving this recipe for years to my customers and students, but it took me several days to use it on myself.
The fastest you can forgive yourself, the fastest you can move on. Forgiveness is the first step to deal with failure, because the most crippling thing that failure bring is guilt. We feel guilty for not getting the promotion, maybe we didn’t work hard enough, negotiated good enough, pleased the boss as much as we could have.
If you are having a hard time forgiving yourself, because indeed you were a big component in making this failure happen, I have something for you.
The key to forgiveness is self-love, self-compassion. Put both hands on your heart and tell yourself with conviction:
- “Even if, I failed, I love and accept myself”
- “Even if, I caused that failure, I love and accept myself”
- “Even if, I failed to answer that email, say I love you or make the close, I love and accept myself”
Continue changing the first sentence, until you feel that you have shed all that self-loathing and there is just love. Feel bathed in unconditional love. What you did is the best that you could have done at that time.
Now that you have forgiven yourself, the cloud of judgment should have passed. Now you can re-label the experience and your identity.
Let’s start with you. You are not a failure. Who are you now?
You are a more experienced you. You are more grownup than you were before. You are more powerful than you were before. You have skills you didn’t have before. You are simply better.
Have you noticed that after an illness you are better? I see it with my kids, every time they get ill, afterwards they have a big jump in their development. They are taller. They ask more intelligent questions. They can deal with more complex challenges.
After this experience, you are better. Embrace it. You are a better version of yourself. Yiha!
Now, let’s reframe the event.
You didn’t get the promotion, the money, the husband or the attendees. Fine. You didn’t. Is there something you get? Are there other gifts for you in this experience? Is there a lesson to learn from this experience?
Yesterday I talked with a cancer survival. Of course, cancer was not her fault or a failure. Still it was something she didn’t desire. Well, thanks to her cancer she has been able to turn around her career. She has found a new focus that allows her to have more and faster impact. Her cancer has been transformed into a gate towards a marvelous new life.
This story can be yours. Re-label your experience. It’s not a failure. It is an experience. It is a painful invigorating experience. It is an “asking me to be more creative” experience. It’s a new beginning. It’s a portal to my best self.
How could you call this experience that honors your pain, but gives you the feeling of future and opportunity.
Find the gifts
Experiences like these ones always come with a bunch of gifts. By not getting that job, you built a lot of experience in all the effort you made, you learned about negotiation and personal branding.
By not getting enough participants in my workshop, I met many awesome people, I found some terrific venues, I learned more about marketing.
Just ask yourself: what is good in this?
If you cannot answer this, consider this modified version: what could be good in this?
The bigger the shadow is the larger the gold treasure for you. Look into the rubble and find what there is to find. Be very appreciative. You will be surprised.
Learn and move on
All failures come with lessons. That’s actually why they show up. So, find the lesson. Reflect on the real causes behind the failure. Don’t even mention the causes that will exonerate you. Forget about “them”. Forget about blaming.
To learn you have to take radical personal responsibility. So, why did this happen?
Why didn’t you get the job: you don’t know how to negotiate, you are in the wrong industry or company, you actually would love to do something radically different
Why did your husband has for divorce: you have become radically different, you forgot to express love, you forgot to take care of yourself, you haven’t learned to say no
Yes, this is a painful process. But by now you are stronger and you can take it.
Then ask yourself, what can I do now?
The awesome result you’ll get from this process is a list of new powerful and inspired actions to take.
When you move your mind into the possibility of action, options appear. It’s like opening the curtains and the windows. Suddenly the room of your soul will get filled with light and air. In other words, inspiration and clarity will be finally available to you. Failure would have died and you’ll be into a new world, the world inhabited by a better you.
Before you get into action...
As I shared in this article, my latest failure was the workshop to be held on December 16. After going through this process, I’ve decided to stop calling it a failure. Whoever will be there will be part of the genesis of my life events. Now I embrace what is as perfect. So, if you are up to creating an awesome 2018 with a better Blanca, you can sign up here.
Wishing you a wonderful week,