Sometimes we fail.
The thing we try to do doesn’t work.
The job we thought we’d love is really awful.
The marriage we so wanted to work out or fix ends.
Sometimes we fail.
The question is not whether or not it’s going to happen.
It’s going to happen, that is if you make any attempt to grow, reach, stretch, be more – failure will happen.
The question is not if, but what you will do with it.
The motivational crowd will tell you to get right back on that horse.
I’m going to ask you to check your course.
“But wait,” they say: “You can’t get mired in self-doubt.”
I say this is a reaction.
I say our fear of getting stuck in self-doubt after a failure or a less than stellar outcome is a dodge, a deflection, an extremely sophisticated way to get out of feeling the failure.
Because that’s what I think we should do.
I think we should feel it.
I think we should sit with the failure and let it be with us, cry if we need to, destroy a pillow if that’s better, but be with that feeling of failure.
Why? Why on earth would I want you to do that? Am I just a sadist?
No. I’m really not.
That feeling part, the part we dodge and weave to avoid, the part we look for quick fixes, buffers, distractions for? That’s our most delicate and informative equipment. That’s our navigational hardware. That’s how we really stay on course. If we avoid it all of the time and just get back to forging ahead we’ll be going in circles or headed to a destination we don’t really want.
So what do we need to do? We need to feel the failure.
Does that mean we need to change course? No, maybe, I don’t know for you. Only YOU know for you and the best way to access that knowing is to be honest and the way to start being honest is to feel how you feel, get through the peak of that and then have the conversation with yourself, check in with your internal navigation, after you’ve given it a moment to recalibrate.
You may then decide to get back on that horse and just try again. You may try again with a variation. You may decide it’s time for a new horse. The point isn’t always whether or not you persist in what you were doing, but in what you learn and what you allow with the failure. The point isn’t always getting up and trying again, but in trying better, trying different, maybe even trying new.
Failure will happen.
If you risk anything worth risking, if you step beyond where you are at all in hopes of reaching something more, failure will happen.
What will you make from it? What will it teach you? Who will you become after that?