Embrace failure to triumph at life.
When we set goals the initial steps are exciting. The opportunities appear endless.
Over time the gloss can wear off. The reality of goal achievement sets in. There are times of great change, times of stagnation and times of setbacks.
How we deal with the setbacks and plateaus determines our achievements.
In the wellbeing journey, there are hurdles to get through. At least one, or two, maybe many. Dusting ourselves off at the first and second fall is easy. Hitting the third or fourth hurdle can trigger self-talk that creates the seed of failure. Once we believe "I am a failure" not that "this attempt failed" it becomes easier to let go of the goal.
Failure has power when it's considered permanent. The self-talk is that a successful person wouldn't have this experience, therefore I must be a failure.
No, no, no. It's a false lie spoken by the inner voice trying to protect you but in fact, is doing you harm.
By changing the perspective the inner voice starts to tell you that that "failure is temporary, not permanent" and that "failure is information for feedback".
The questions to ask when reframing failure as feedback are:
- What information is this feedback giving me?
- What is the next step I can take to leverage this information?
- What personal strengths do I have, or people do I need to speak to, to help me adjust my behaviours?
One of my passion is powerlifting. I admit I took it personally when my PB's (personal bests) plateaued. My inner voice told me I had maxed out my capability, that I was not meant to do this sort of thing. When I sought advice from an experienced coach it was my technique, not my capacity that held me back. I had found many ways to fail. By using the feedback provided by the coach I adjusted my posture, my grip, my breathing and many other triggers to reach new PB's. The failure was both temporary and provided feedback.
Improving my progress occurred when the "failure" was treated as information. The barbell wasn't making a statement about who I was and the universe certainly wasn't sending a message about my abilities. It was just information that enabled me to change how I was going about my goals.
Taking a positive and neutral view of failure helps us use feedback to move forward. Working with a coach to leverage feedback can shortcut the process. In Peak Performance, Anders Erickson discusses the need to find experienced coaches and mentors to improve performance. The use of specialised skills extends to every life domain, for example mental, physical, financial, relationship.
Until next time be kind to yourself,