Learning to fail is how we learn to succeed
‘Abbie I hate my business and I want to quit’ this was the Facebook messenger I received this morning.
‘I don’t need solutions right now I just need to vent’.
Well this made me smile right away. I love it when my clients take control. Saying right off the bat – this is how its going down.
‘What’s happened?’ I asked
Here are the highlights….
‘I had an enquiry from a potential client’
‘She didn’t want my normal package so I spent days creating a different offer and now she’s not returning my calls’
‘I am sick of failing’
‘I want to quit’
I have been here many times in business and in my life. A situation where someone or something has seemingly conspired against me. My response was often blame and anger then shame would consume me. I would have stomped about, sworn obviously. Cried, shouted moaned, complained, and finally conceded.
The voice in my head saying, ‘You didn’t deserve this, but you probably deserved it for something else so quit pro quo – it’s your own fault’. That or be consumed by a wretched feeling of unfairness that resulted in the adoption of my other go to response – to play the victim.
That is until I began my journey of self-awareness. To build mental resilience and learn how to fail. Knowing how to fail is for me the very definition of how to succeed.
I have failed at many things in my life. And I still do. Except nowadays it’s an opportunity to learn. To reframe, to be curious. To think about ways to improve and instead of playing the victim it makes me stronger and more determined.
There are lots of ways to fail for sure. I have a list as long as my arm of the things I failed at.
Here are the highlights….
- Failing academically at school because I had decided to assign myself the label of not academically bright. Because my older sister had already taken that position for herself.
- Failing to realise that I had choices about how life can play out.
- Failing to value myself in relationships leading to 20 years of disappoint and frustration
- Failing to value my skills at work – leading to the decision to turn down a promotion and relocation, in favour of staying local with my boyfriend.
- Failing to notice that boyfriend was already pulling away and dumped me the same day.
- Failing to listen to my intuition when it came to big decisions.
- Failing to think long term financially.
- Failing to understand that starting a business would call into question everything I ever knew about hard work and success.
- To some rather more ordinary failures such as failing to listen to my mum’s advice about creating a daily skin care regime or drinking more water.
- To failing to prioritize my health and ending up – pre diabetic at 49.
So, when my client came to me this morning I was remined of this catalogue of failures and I smiled.
She had failed to be courageous. To have belief in herself and be ok with saying no. ‘You failed’ I said. ‘You failed to be ok at disappointing someone. So what did you learn’?
See this is the thing with failure. It’s a lesson. Its information and honestly the more we fail the better we are.
I will often say to my girls in jest. Well it’s a good job I failed to parent you particularly well growing up, look at how strong and resourceful you both are now!
Teaching my girls that failure is an option. Sometimes it’s the only option if we ever want to get better. I don’t believe things happen for a reason, I believe things happen and we find the reason.
For the last 20 years I have totally reframed my view of failure. I have reframed my past and now when failure rears its head, I take notes.
This is what I want for my daughters. To learn that there is never a good time to play the victim. Everything is an opportunity to learn.
It’s what I want for my clients to. As a mindset coach for women in business, I hear a lot of stories of failure. Failing to get clients. Failing to earn money. Failing to enjoy their business. Failing to show up. And failing to try. They see failure I see opportunity. I see information. I give them perspective.
The greatest triumph in life is when we can truly know who we are. When we know ourselves we are unstoppable. Coaching clients to stop and be curious. Look for the learning and try again is how they are able to succeed. Struggle looks a lot like blame. It looks a lot like shame. And it looks a lot like playing the victim. Getting themselves out of struggle and shifting their mindset towards success, through a process of discovering their strengths. By learning to fail.
Now I am of course not suggesting that failure won’t hurt. It does. And I choose not to spend too much time wondering how much more secure my financial future would be had I made some better choices back in the day. But these moments are brief, and I choose to operate only in the now. There is no such thing as a past you or a future you, there’s just you. Failures don’t define us. How we respond to them does.
Every one of the failures I have listed here and countless more, have made me who I am. Taught me lessons I could not have learnt otherwise. Lead me to where I am today. Happy. Content. Living my best life. My greatest failure to date. Failing to give in to failure. It’s the one I am proudest of.
So now when failure crosses my path I smile. I say great. I say ok let’s do this.
If you have not yet found a way to fail well in business, then mindset coaching can offer you the space, time and opportunity to learn. Quickly and easily. Mindset is the key to success in both life and in business – helping you to make the shift from struggle to success.
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