Recalibrate Your Relationship with Failure
'Recalibrate your relationship with failure.'
I read that someplace and it stuck. Actually, I love it. It's not flowery, festive nor does it ring like the other optimistic outlooks I gravitate towards as my personal taglines. But it carries weight, meaning and it really makes me think. Perfection was never promised--not by our parents, friends, bosses, not by God. In fact, the exact opposite appears far more likely. So, why then are we so thrown off when we fail? Or worse, why do we AVOID failure all-together?
Can you actually flourish in failure? I think so. You see, here is how I see it: We each possess either a performance orientation or learning orientation in our approach to life. If you are exclusively performance based, you always assess based on the outcome of your actions. So, what happens if you FAIL? You judge yourself as just that, a failure. Even the most minor infraction deserves self-doubt. Eventually missed opportunities and sidestepping exhilarating risks results from a generalized fear of failure.
Me? Sure, I want to perform WELL; I want to succeed, have often chosen things in my life that feel safe in this sense and have often feel the pressure to fill the footsteps I have placed in my foreground--- maybe that's always been my problem; the meaning missing in my life.
Now, on the other hand, those of us focusing on the process, the journey, the road that contains bumps, rivers, valleys and mountains seem to thrive in the lap of learning. You see your life as a series of learning experiences and so while failing may hurt, it doesn't inhibit. To me, that emphasizes empowerment, excellence and a unique characteristic in America's outcome oriented mindset.
Where do I fall between learning and performance orientation? I believe I am approaching someplace more towards the middle of the continuum. My heart longs for learning but my mind sometimes still stifles that desire. But, a transition is transpiring and it feels fairly liberating....not being so bound by expectations and the serious business of success.
Right now, as I calculate how my life will continue changing and as I attempt to define exactly who it is I am, I am mindfully aware of the opportunity before me. When my life took a drastic turn I was first floored unable to process my potential to grow, change and certainly I believed I would never thrive again. But as scary as it seems from my typically success driven stature, I am starting to see how this change might mean opportunities for re-definition, renewal and perhaps even a shameless shift in what I, myself, define as failure. Maybe I am more free to fail now....and if I recalibrate what failure means to me, that is not such a bad thing.
I have always participated when the potential to succeed was high. I'm not so sure I care so deeply about that anymore. I am starting to perceive how the process better predicts the placement of my emotions, expectations and eventual success. Besides, if I refuse the risk of failure, how will I ever become the woman, mom, and business owner I pray I possess within me.
So instead of positioning myself for societal standards of success, I believe I will strive for better and try to calm the fear of falling. I, reluctantly and with my head bowed, believe that the biggest losses and trials I have faced resulted in a new found dedication to LIVE by truly embracing life, faith and love. If that is true than certainly some small failures will befall blessings too!
You too, you know! If you are not willing to put yourself out there, to finally do your duty as a human begin occupying purpose in this place, how will you ever know the heights of success within your potential? Step out of your box, dare to THINK differently about yourself, your capabilities, your wellbeing and your life. Instead of redefining who you are at your core, live that life you desire in your depths. Rather than fearing failure revel in the lessons learned after the fall and know with utter confidence that the journey towards whatever outcome you experience better defines the person you are. Yes, I think it's the journey that's more important than the outcome.
Let's chance it sometimes. I cannot think of one reason not to, can you?