This post was written at a pretty tough time in my life. Late last year when I was at a huge intersection in my personal and career roads. I was confused, fed up, annoyed and so so ambitious. Coming to grips with these feelings was tough, and a journey I'm so glad I didn't have to travel alone. What did I do to overcome it? Read to the end and you will find out :)
Nobody seems to like this word. Nobody seems to want to “admit failure”. It is tiptoed around like a sleeping baby. It’s like a failure is the worst thing that you could possibly be. To not complete something or to not achieve something to the (usually high) standard that has been set seems to imply that you have failed and that you’re a failure.
Where did this failure mindset come from? I would be interested to know where and how failure initially became a “thing”.
Was it from a parent who had built up in their mind how their child would perform at something, and then needed to portray how they felt to their child while then (perhaps impossible) level was not achieved? Or was it from an employer who had completely no comprehension of their employees ability to perform a task, so that when a target was not met the employer lost their sh*t and put all the blame on the employee? Perhaps it was from a sporting coach who did not know how else to vent their frustration that the team they were coaching did not reach their season goal or target, and in turn made the team feel like they had failed, that they were failures.
There seems to be a trend of authority in the above scenarios. Whether this is the actual or perceived reality, I’m not sure.
And, quite frankly, you can’t judge a fish on its tree climbing ability now can you?
How easy is it to let this feeling of failure into another area of your life. Say, for example, you set a certain standard for something, and when you don’t meet this, a feeling of failure can consume you. You might get annoyed and mad at yourself for the result, and take this frustration into your home with you. You snap at your partner and don’t say a word to your kids because you don’t understand the emotional turmoil that’s going on inside you. You go to bed grumpy and your partner is confused about why you’re not talking to them. Now THEY think they have done something wrong, and spend the rest of the week wondering what it could possibly be…..
Realising that although you have given something your all, but it has not worked out, does not make you a failure. It’s hard to accept this, as society has ground into us that we shouldn’t be “quitters” or “give up” too easily. In some cases, yes give something a second, third or even fourth go, but if this task, relationship, job, person or obstacle is causing you to feel sadness, overwhelmed or scared of another attempt, it’s time to throw in the towel. Admitting that you’re waving the white flag because you have realised it’s the other task, relationship, job etc, NOT YOU is the first step to self-love. Doing something, or in this case not doing something, because you know deep down you cannot force this situation to be how you had imagined it in your mind is totally ok. You are not a failure.
I’m not saying give up something just because you didn’t succeed or it didn’t turn out how you wanted it to the first, or even second, time you tried. Sometimes persistence pays off immensely, and I know many times that if I had not known in my gut that what I was doing was right, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
What I’m saying is you cannot force yourself, or something, or someone else to be exactly how you would like them to be, and realising that it’s not something you have or haven’t done, it’s just how it is.
What will be, will be.
And that is exactly the mindset I decided to adopt. NO-ONE will dictate how I live my life, except me. I refuse to let someone else have the sort of impact that was being made on me a little over 6 months ago. How did I come to this conclusion? Here's a few tips:
- YOGA! I started doing this in December last year and it is the best thing I ever tried (apart from coffee). I was practicing at least once a week for a few months and fell in love with yin. Unfortunately this has taken a back seat the last few months due to my netball commitments, but I do squeeze a session at home in every couple of weeks.
- Cutting back alcohol. While I have slowly decreased my alcohol intake over the last few years since university, I noticed I was not someone I liked that much when I drunk. I'm ok with this, and appreciate a lovely glass of white with good company on the odd occasion.
- I don't sweat the small stuff. This is a biggie for me - I used to over analyse everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! It takes baby steps and a lot of mindfulness - recognising how I feel and accepting that feeling, then letting it go. Moving on and thinking about something worth my time - like this blog! Wanting to help people is a great distracting :)
- Nourishing my body with good quality whole food. If I'm not feeling good from eating unhealthy food, then this shows in my skin and in my mind. It affects how I look at myself and how I look at others, which is not fair on anyone. This is also another biggie for me because I know how good I feel from eating consistently healthy food!
- Lastly, you reflect those you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, who want the best for you. These are the people who matter the most, and will have your back no matter what. Trust me, they are few and far between, so hold on tight when you find one.