by Glen Depke
If you have yet to read part 1, I suggest you follow this link to read or review prior to reading part 2. If you are already up to speed, by all means, move on now.
Based on what most of us have learned from our parents, scholastic system, government and many religions, when we fail, there is often some form of punishment that follows. This becomes a deeply engrained pattern within our being that will often hinder our possibility of success.
So how does a fear of failure hinder success?
First of all recognize t that you learn and grow via failure. How many times do you truly learn something while in the flow? You can book learn in this way or gather understandings but knowing is not learning, it is experiencing. I always say that you don’t know it until you’ve lived it. Living it is experiencing, failing and learning from this failure, while creating success along the way.
I like to look at my own life as walking the fine line between success and failure, knowing that these are really one in the same and you do not have one without the other. Often when addressing this with my clients, they share that failure was never an option for them when growing up, therefore that chose a safe path, hence hindering further successes.
Look at it this way.
If you are working on increasing muscle mass by lifting weights, you will often do this to failure. From here, your body will learn from this failure and repair your muscle tissue in a way to adapt and find success. Without failure, success is limited.
Another example is nutritional choices. Often I’ll have a client on a gluten free meal plan, enjoying substantial success while making their gluten free choices. Then one day months down the road, they may be at a special event where one of their old gluten containing treats are available and they simply succumb to their desires by indulging in this treat. This will often lead into considerable health challenges and a reoccurring of symptoms from the past.
Is this really a failure though? Well yes, but no…
When the clients goes through this sequence of events by reintroducing gluten, it is an invaluable tool to assist in their continued success of maintaining their integrity of gluten free choices. This in so often a needed failure for so many.
You could also look at it from a sports perspective. For my golfers out there, how many times have you hit a particular shot with a 3/4 swing only to find out that a 1/2 or full swing was what you really needed. Failure right? Absolutely, but that failure will lead to the understanding for a proper back swing the next time you are in that same position.
With these examples, you should be able to understand the importance of failure and how this has an intimate relationship with success in your life.
So let go of the old stories that failure is bad, wrong or invalid. Get out there and failure, knowing that your life will grow by leaps and bounds compared to playing it safe.
Some may ask what this looks like because this is such a foreign concept.
Look at it this way.
Find an area of your life that you would like to improve. From there recognize what you would typically choose within that situation and then the most important step; choose something completely new and different. This will do provide you with one of two options on the back end. Either your new choice will work out very well for you or it will fail. Good news on either end because you will have either created something awesome within your life or you will learn of one other choice that does not work. This is a real win/win situation.
Here’s an example for you.
Let’s say your health has been challenged for years and you have been seeking assistance from your conventional physician. Your doctor has provided you with years of pharmaceutical recommendations, yet you still find yourself unsatisfied with your results. Making a new choice such as seeing an acupuncturist may provide you with some relief or maybe not. If you find relief this is a reason to celebrate but celebration is still in order even if you do not find relief because you can now check something else off your list that did not work and move on. Perhaps the acupuncture treatment did not work because you have poor lifestyle habits and that needs to be addressed first. Great, that could then be you next area of choice that is different and new. Just keep moving forward, choosing new and different, failing, succeeding but always moving forward. This is walking the line between success and failure that creates a fulfilled life of health and happiness.
Another example is one that I lived. I lived in the Chicago area for most of my life and I had two practices that were thriving but I recognized a ceiling in this success for myself, my business and my clients. To find another level of success, I moved across the country and failed miserably. I started from scratch, zero clients, very little money and lots of stress, almost unbelievable! These very failures led to new understandings, new choices and a thriving practice and life that I am extremely grateful for. I contribute all my success to all my failures. I would never have one with out the other.
I’m sure you get the picture by now.
So what about the kids?
First thing, let them fail!
So often children are sheltered from failure and/or taught that this is a reason for punishment. Young kids get involved in sports these days and they often do not keep score.
Really, don’t keep score?
I don’t know who came up with this brainstorm but don’t you play every game to win? I know, we’ve all heard the old saying, “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”
That’s one of the biggest jokes I’ve ever heard. While it is always important to do your best and play anything within the rules and integrity of the game while giving it your all, you want to win. If you teach winning and losing at a young age, you teach winning and losing in life. This is important because both winning and losing play a significant dynamic on every level in life.
To add to this, children these days have such a significant level of stress placed upon them to succeed on every level because failure is not an option. This is ridiculous because for every team winning there is always another losing. You cannot have one without the other.
School is another area of challenge these days. Young children regularly coming home with 3-5 hours of homework after already spending 7 or more hours at school. If you had to go to your job everyday and then take home 3-5 hours of work every day, plus added work on the weekend, wouldn’t you be looking for a new job? Absolutely you would, but our kids don’t have that choice. All because you cannot fail. Schools are funded based on standardized testing, so if the kids fail on testing, the school system will lack funds available to them. But that is another topic in itself that I’m not going to touch right now.
So with your kids, allow them to fail, encourage them to learn from their failures and find their own success within that failure. Allow your children to watch you fail and know that this is all right. This way, they will find life much more enjoyable, happier and healthier.
Isn’t that what it is all about any way?
If you have any comments or questions about this article, please post this below and I will address this personally.