There are so many ~inspirational quotes~ on social media that can come off as quite aggressive and unrealistic. I am really not a fan of these posts that say "failure isn't an option". Failure genuinely is an option. It happens all the time. We have awkward and shitty first drafts all the time. The first time we rode a bike we most certainly didn't get the hang of it straight off the bat. We tried, tried and tried again. I sometimes feel I need to get back into my childhood mindset when I approach new things. Maybe we all do. We were so resilient and fearless as children at times when we tried new things. And then somewhere along this journey of life, our brains started becoming super great at telling ourselves we can't. We have this inner voice now that's been constructed by other people (and ourselves) that tells us we can't do something, we won't be good enough, don't even bother trying because you'll fail anyway, and what's the point?
Failing at something doesn't mean that YOU are a failure. We need to remind ourselves of that. We need to remind ourselves of all the things we do now that took practice, persistence, consistency and motivation. I remember when I was a kid and I wanted to do 3 pirouettes in dance (these beautiful ballerina turns). I practiced every damn day. I didn't let myself get in the way of this goal. I kept trying and trying. I'd get up to 2, then 2 1/2, and then 2 and 3/4. Kept going. Then I'd get to 3 and I'd want more, so I pushed myself to 4 until the day I ended up doing about 10. I never stopped because it was important to me and I loved the process of getting there. I actually never really thought about that until I started writing this post. It's amazing what happens when you think back on past experiences. They can help shape you now and show you that you can do it. You just have to keep going until you get to where you want to be. Even with Life Coaching. My first session was f*cking AWKWARD. I felt so out of my comfort zone and felt I had no idea what I was doing. But I kept going and kept practicing and now I meet new clients and feel confident in my abilities.
Failures are our teachers. When we fail at something, we don't lose anything. We actually gain something. We gain important data and bits of information that tell us how to do it next time, which direction to steer or what might help us get closer to that goal. Everything that's amazing is on that other side of uncertainty, discomfort, awkwardness and fear. So get weird, get uncertain and dance with your discomfort. When you fall down, you absolutely have the ability to stand back up, dust off what went wrong and gain insight on what you can do next time. Here are a few tips and ideas that come to mind when I think of failure:
Visualize the Result You Want
What is it that you would like to happen? What would the end result look like? How will it feel when you get that result? Close your eyes, take some deep meditative breaths and really get into the zone. Start to visualize exactly what it is you want to achieve and start mapping out how you will get there. If it's shooting a puck into the hockey net, what exactly does that entail - is there something with your wrist, the way you line up the stick, do you focus on the puck or do you look at the net? (I don't know much about hockey - sorry hockey players if my explanation is off). Bottom line - visualize it. Then begin to practice it.
Your Inner Critic
Your inner critic is a jerk so try not to let them fool you! Discover what this voice is in your head that's inhibiting you from achieving what you want. Is it your voice? Someone else's? Did something happen and this voice now became a part of your inner dialogue? Get curious and discover this. Now, give it a name or a shape or a colour or whatever creative thing works for you. You can now start to visualize how this voice is not a part of you and that it's not helping you move forward. It might even be your younger self protecting you from getting emotionally hurt. You can be gentle in that case (you can thank it for its time, but you're okay and you don't need them). Or, you can flat out tell this voice to f*ck off it's something that makes you feel way better. You can even de-bunk what this critic is telling you, if that's a helpful task! Challenge the voice too if that works for you and talk back. Say things like "so what", "who cares", "why can't I/why not?" Play around with this and see what works well for you.
Big things happen in little moments all added up together. Chip away at it day by day. Schedule in the time for yourself so you can work on it. Consistency is key when you want to gain confidence in something and get better at it. Think of how athletes master their sport. They weren't just amazing at it as soon as they started. They failed and they worked toward it day by day, until they started mastering their skill. So keep at it and keep going. It'll soon become a habit that is just incorporated in your every day.
Ask Yourself What the Lessons Are
Reflect on the setbacks, obstacles and failures. Talk it out, write it out and gather information so you know how to proceed next time. Ask yourself what the lessons you have learned are and how you can move forward from it. Allow yourself the time to feel. It's normal to be frustrated or upset - give yourself that space and time. Be gentle with yourself. Show yourself some love and see how the lessons you've learned and be applied when you try it next time.
That's all for today. I wrote this on a whim so I hope it made sense! Failing at something is OKAY. Everyone fails. But it's how you pick yourself back up, how you persevere with your grit, how you show up next time and how you apply the information you've learned from this setback to next time. You can do what you set your mind to! Now go on and try :)