Over the past month, I have been dealing with a couple of clients who have an abject fear of Failure. The kind that follows the path of ‘if that doesn’t happen, I will have lost everything, gained nothing, and be seen by all as worthless.’ Most human beings have these thoughts at points in their lives, and nearly every business person I know has had occasions with bouts like this. I’d like to shine a little light on Failure.
The silliest part about Failure is we bundle it up tightly with Shame. And the number one emotion every human being tries to avoid is Shame. Why? Because belonging to a group of kindred souls or having a community with like-minded people is something for which every human being longs. And Shame and Failure opens the door for us to be ejected. At least that is what our lizard brain believes.
We all can tell stories about our journeys into the ‘I work for myself/I make stuff for my customers/I have a business’ world. However, staring into the face of Failure today and talking about it weeks, months, and even decades later are not the same. We need that little element called Perspective.
Perspective is about looking through or perceiving. I know you agree with me when I say, emotions and stress badly muck up our Perspective. Even in slightly emotional situations, our lives become suctioned-cupped to our faces. So it is no wonder we are blind to the vista of still available options when confronted with business calamities. Given that we are all brilliant at solving someone else’s problem (but not our own), is it any wonder a mentor or trusted ally can be incredibly valuable when we need to face down what we see as Failure?
Honestly, I don’t know how we eventually develop Perspective. But when we do, here is what we notice. There are no failures in life. Only lessons. (As long as we review the lessons and incorporate what we learned. Sadly, we have learned nothing when we continue to follow our old behaviours.) And lessons make us incredibly strong. Stronger than we ever believed we could be. Almost immediately after the crappy lesson, we rise again. Higher and stronger. I swear this has happened in my life. I swear I have witnessed this happen in the lives of so many others.
One way thru Failure
Here is what I do when faced with the pain of Failure, the pain of setbacks and the resultant frustration and suffering. I acknowledge they are all a pre-requisite for my growth. Because after we go through the pain, we awaken to the next level of who we are meant to be. I see that pain as a compass pointing to the direction of what I am really supposed to be doing.
By giving meaning to the Failure, the setbacks, the frustration and suffering, everything ALWAYS stops being painful. And when the pain is gone, I turn the problem into a project. By that, I mean, I take my frustration and desire to fix it and create a new vision to make the problem obsolete. The pain becomes a project, and when organized as a project, the problem disappears.
Let me assure you, I am still trying to master this gracefully. My first reaction is always to swear. And I still do need a few hours to simmer down. But once the Perspective thing kicks in….life becomes so much easier.
To sum up
When next you stare down failures in your business life, know that our most precious dreams are not about instant gratification. They are always about enduring prosperity. Take time to think long-term and gain Perspective. Call your favourite mentor or trusted ally to bounce ideas around. Then, and only then, if the door is closed, moved on. If the door is still open, develop a revised action plan and continue moving if only for one small step a day.
You will rebuild your momentum as you manage the ebbs and flows from steady movement forward. You will be amazed at yourself when you come out on the other side. Above all else, keep the faith in yourself. Because your Success is NOT about whether you make or even surpass your financial goals. Your Success is about you becoming an amazing human being.
Can I help you? Please reach out.