Failure: What’s NOT to Love About It!

Are you the “New You” you set out to be in the New Year yet?

We’re almost a quarter of the way into our New Year’s journey, and if you’re like me, you’ve already had to push the reset button on your goals a few times.

Have no fear! If you haven’t given up, which I hope is the case, I’ve got great news for all that stumbling and bumbling you’re doing. It’s the building blocks of guaranteed success!

Thanks, But No Thanks!

2016 was not even a week old when I received my first taste of failure.

It was a dreaded rejection letter—even worse, a form letter that read:

Dear Meg:

(It started out friendly enough . . . using my name was a lovely personal touch.)

Thank you for submitting your presenter application for our 2016 Event.

(How nice! You’re welcome!)

We have just completed the programming for this event, and unfortunately are unable to include your presentation(s) at this time.

(Ouch! The painful “s” inside those impersonal brackets—-a telltale sign I was just one of a faceless sea of wannabes.)

As My Husband Would Say, “Get Over It!”

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Yea? Show me where!

I’d be lying if I said I immediately shifted my perspective to embrace all those “fail forward” memes that flood my Facebook page everyday. Sure I scroll through and “like” them in theory (you probably do too), but when it happens in real life—it’s a big, fat, emotionally charged “dislike!”

Rejection stings. There’s just no way around it.

But I’m on a mission this year (and I hope you’ll join me!) to fall down, feel the burn, and stagger back to my feet as quickly as possible.

I’m finally ready to embrace failing, and failing often, as the ONLY path to feel-good SUCCESS.

REFRAMING FAILURE in the bright light of positivity has already inspired me to TRY BIG and TRY MORE OFTEN. And as I work to make friends with failure, I’m beginning to realize there’s actually a lot to LOVE about it:

#1: There’s Energy in Failure.

Think back to your most recent failure.

Just for fun, leave out the whole dramatic, depressing story behind your misstep—-the one describing how you’re such a loser, or you never follow through, or how you just embarrassed yourself in front of a room full of people. (I really DO care, it’s just not helpful in this process.)

Instead, tell me how you felt IN THE MOMENT.

This is how my rejection letter felt: frustrating, exasperating, infuriating, maddening, overwhelming—and SCARY!

Wow!

Without the story line, those words feel like a hit of Siracha on my morning breakfast scramble.

What if we channeled that hot, raw, anxious energy back into forward thinking efforts, instead of wasting their powerful punch spinning exhausting story lines that send us tumbling back to the safety of our limited view of ourselves.

REFRAMING FAILURE as a positive, usable energy source could be the kick in the pants we need to finally reach out for help, call the person back and ask for additional feedback, or double down our efforts to stick with the process long enough to reach the crest of the hill.

#2: There’s Information in Failure.

Be honest. How helpful is it when your mom tells you how pretty, accomplished, and amazing you are at what you do? True, it feels good. But . . .

Does it really get us anywhere?

According to Professor Cal Newport, my favorite productivity geek, Pursuing Metrics that Matter, means we send our efforts out into spaces where the stakes are higher, risking rejection, but often receiving quality feedback from more reliable sources than good ‘ole mom.

Take my blog for instance. Writing for family, friends, and even dedicated followers means I will enjoy a steady stream of supportive comments and statements like, “You go girl!” But when the editor of a magazine takes the time to tell me my writing could be tighter, more edgy, or just not so ho hum, now I have something to go on.

Blog comments and followers don’t buy groceries for 2 hockey-playing teenagers, but writing for publication (which requires tight, edgy, interesting writing) does!

REFRAMING FAILURE as free coaching could motivate us to seek out high quality rejection more often. Think about how productive we’d be! At the prices I see on some coaching websites, the savings (and success from getting better at what we do) could add up to the family vacation in Hawaii we’ve always dreamed of.

#3: There’s Success in Failure!

Every time you step on the field, you have the chance to catch the ball.

And losing weight, getting fit, writing a book, or charting a new path for ourselves are all process-oriented endeavors.

Heck, LIFE! is a process-oriented endeavor.

So you see, my friend, there’s not a whole lot we can do about the failure thing. It’s what success is made of.

REFRAMING FAILURE as success means that we always have skin in the game, and our chances of hitting it big go up. As we get better at our craft or our process, the rewards are greater too. We land better paying gigs, find more ease in our efforts, and best of all . . . we drop the whole crappy-feeling-fear-thing around putting ourselves out there.

Frankly, I’M READY. What about you?

An Idea to Try on for Size

Failures come in all shapes and sizes: rejection letters, diet disasters, wimpy workouts, outrageous outbursts, and heart-wrenching rejections. The pain and discomfort around any one of them is wasted if we frame them as OBSTACLES rather than OPPORTUNITIES.

This year, I choose the latter:

After receiving my first rejection letter of the year, I made a decision. Instead of putting my head in the oven and turning on the gas, I started a file called “Epic Fails.”

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It’s going to be a good year!

I plan to spend the year ahead filling it with all the times I’ve failed . . .  but SUCCESSFULLY TRIED.

By the end of the year, it will be bursting with all my efforts. And now that failure and I are on friendlier terms, I know it won’t be long before my “Crushed It!” file is just as big.

Hawaii, here we come!

Who wants to join me in a year of Epic Fails and Super Sonic Successes? We could all go to Hawaii together!

Feel good. Be well. Meg


IMG_8521Wellness Prompt:
 Take out two empty file folders and a few colorful pens. Label them “Epic Fails” and “Super Successes” and then begin filling them will all your efforts. Let’s check in with each other in a couple of months and see how we’re doing. I bet we’ll have some great stories to tell on both sides–but even better, we’ll be further along with our goals than when we started!

2 Comments on “Failure: What’s NOT to Love About It!

    • Hi Joyce! So fun to reconnect! Yes, news of our plans to work together is headed for my “Crushed It!” file this week! Can’t wait.

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