In last weeks Monday Motivation show I touched on the fear of failure as one of 11 things to forgot doing.
I mentioned that Failure deserves a show of it’s own and today is the day, lets discuss: Flipping Failure To Freedom.
When I consider the advice I’d give anxious and self-doubting 16 year old Kate – if I had the opportunity – right up the top of that long list… after Back Yourself 100% which I covered in the #036 show, would be to let go of my debilitating fear of failure.
It’s such a limiting, UNfun, energy sucking fear. It implies that failure is final. That your failures define you when really it’s what you do after your failures that define you.
Do you stay frozen with fear or do you learn from the experience and apply those learnings to move forward?
In my final year of school the absolute very worst thing that could happen was to fail end of year exams.
It simply wasn’t an option. Even the thought was terrifying. It felt like life would end if you didn’t get great marks… yet how many hugely successful people have you heard of who flunked at school?
And, those of us who did ok at school – how many of us are even using those skills now?
My greatest ‘failure’ and most valuable learning came in the form of my first business. As an overly idealistic… even positive to a fault young trainer I bought into a business with a distinct lack of due diligence and the highly ignorant belief that hard work and leading by example can fix anything.
Not withstanding amazing clients and a rock-star team… this was without doubt the most UNfun 2 1/2 years of my life. My business broker (when I eventually embarked on the super-crazy-stressful sale of the business) summed it up perfectly: “This business is like a soap opera – what else could possibly go wrong? Kate, when you finally get out you need to write a book!”
Equally as painful, having relationships fail has taught me so much about myself.
The freedom kicks in when you realise that worst case scenario can happen and life goes on.
You can pick yourself up and start to move forward again one gradual-small-as-it-needs-to-be step at a time.
You know the analogy of the baby that falls over time and time again before it eventually succeeds at walking.
Bubs is focusing only on what it wants to do – blissfully ignorant of repercussions – and joyously free of ego.
Mum or dad didn’t jump in at the very first stumble and announce “That’s it junior, you’re useless. You’ll never walk, it’s a lifetime of crawling for you!”
However at some point many of us must have interpreted some sort of feedback we got, to mean failure was something to be feared.
We become conditioned by society to do anything to avoid failure.
We also freeze and do nothing rather than risk failure.
When did we start believing that failing means we don’t get another go?
Or that everyone will judge us on our failures?
The important people aren’t judging… to quote the great Dr Seuss (!) here: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Your learnings from past experiences will create your present and future success.
To often I hear how past ‘failures’ limit people from giving 100% to achieving their health goal.
Before they even start they have the hand-brake on – the “I didn’t give it my best shot so it doesn’t count” clause. Is it safer to hold onto the dream – the Fantasy – than to truly give it your all?
Yep, it’s safer. It’s also going to keep you stuck at status quo.
When you know that you can come back from ‘failure’ – that it’s only final if you choose to give up… That makes limitless potential – or FREEDOM – available to you.
If you commit to sticking to a program you trust – planning your meals and eating the best fuel… exercising consistently, lifting weights and just moving 6 days a week… and it doesn’t work?
I know you’re going to have some pretty rock solid – implementable – feedback on why.
=> Perhaps the meal planning only got your through the first half of each week and then you resorted to take-out from Thursday onwards. Now you know you need to either make some mid-week meal planning time or source a healthier take-out alternative.
=> Maybe getting up an hour early for morning exercise left you so exhausted you baled on it half way through the plan. Ok, next time prioritise getting to bed early before you enforce getting up early.
=> Perhaps you didn’t track your food intake and it magically expanded – as it soooo easily can – well in excess of the extra calories your burnt with your daily exercise. Cool, now you know to track your food at least for a couple of weeks.
If you fear failing at your health goal here are 3 steps to help turn failure into freedom:
1. Explain to yourself exactly how Failure is worse than the way it is right now.
I think you’re going to struggle with this one. What’s the worst that can happen? If you’re already not happy with the way your body looks, feels and performs then what is there to be fearful of?
If it’s already obvious to the outside world that you could do better so far as your health – brutal yet true right – then is failure really giving it your best shot to improve and not getting there on your first or second or third attempt OR rather could failure be settling for how it is and never even trying?
2. Remind yourself of the Failures you’ve come back from in the past.
I know you have some. The thing that didn’t work the first time you tried it. The person you didn’t jell with on sight and later built a strong relationship with. The client you absolutely got off on the wrong foot with who is now a raving fan.
3. Reframe Failure as the feedback that let’s you know how to improve your approach next time.
Recognise it’s value. Appreciate that you are joining the SELF-selected-few people that risk giving it their best shot and in doing so risk failing. Feel proud to leave the ranks of those who meander through life and never risk anything.
Ok, lets get actionable.
What is your greatest failure and the most valuable lesson you learnt from it?
My greatest failure taught me to Back Myself 100% and also that failure isn’t final AND that equaled Freedom to me. Freedom from being stuck frozen by the thought of failure and freedom from self doubt.
If you’re up for it please where your failure to freedom learnings in the comments below.
I’m going to hand over to Michael Jordan for todays quote: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
That brings us to the end of Healthification #076. I’ll be back tomorrow with the Tuesday Tucker show and: 3 Food Habits I’ve Struggled With That Are Now A Lot Easier.
If you liked this you’ll also like: There Is NO Weight Loss Failure:
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.