Failing is an art to understand. We have to try and rationalise with ourselves that it's not the end of the road, it's not the end of the world, but it is part of the process; in order to succeed, you must fail.
Recently I gave a talk on failing successfully, and I was honestly surprised and so stoked to see how many people got something out of it. This lead me to think it might be something others want to hear, read or remind themselves of.
So what is failure? I define it as not achieving a goal or what you set out to achieve. But you can define it however you see fit.
In that way, then, what is success? using the same logic, success is achieving the goal or doing even better than the goal.
The first thing to understand is that failing, succeeding, and learning are part of a cycle. You need each of them to complete the cycle.
Results are a natural end to the process and cycle of success and growth. If you stick it out long enough to keep trying, keep growing, and keep succeeding, you will get to the end result. The secret here is the idea of being process orientated.
So what does that mean...
How to be Process Orientated
For this, I really do mean you have to fall in love with the process. Being process-orientated means that you don't just see the desired end result and wildly pursue it without steps, a process and a system. Process-orientated work means you have micro steps in place to achieve your goal, small ones that, step by step, will get you to where you want to be. But this is the beautiful part, and this is the journey.
The end result is only a small part of the whole cycle; failing, learning, reflecting, growing and finding new steps, new ways and learning are the major parts of the cycle. This is where you have to learn to be comfortable. This is what you have to learn to love.
Find a way to love waking up early and going to the gym or going for the run, look around, and find some gratitude and appreciation for the hard work it takes to get to the goal. This is where goal setting and understanding how to break down the big goals into lots of small ones, achievable ones that you can work towards every single day, every week is important, I wrote a bit about how to do this, so check it out here and here.
Imagine improving by 1% every single day. In 100 days, that is 100%, in 5 years, that is 1825% better. Im not saying you have to put pressure on yourself to be better every single day, but that's the point of enjoying the process and living in the cycle. Even if you're failing, you're growing, and that is improving!
Model Behaviours you want to Achieve.
You cannot be what you cannot see.
By this, I mean modelling good systems and behaviours will help you mould yourself into the version of yourself that you want to be. Top athletes and performers, and entrepreneurs understand the art of failing. It is the key to their success, how many success stories have you heard that come from severe failures or tried, tried and tried again, nearly gave up, then glad they didn't because in the end, they won the big thing, THEIR GOALS!
Follow people on social media that you want to model off, not the ones that make you feel bad about yourself, follow the ones that make you feel inspired. Get out there and ask people you admire questions, absorb information, and investigate actions of success in the topic, hobby, sport, or whatever area you desire to succeed in. Just go out and immerse yourself in that area's information, action and feels. You will see success, you will see growth and you will see failure, all natural parts of the process, which you can learn to fall in love with.
Why do we fear failure?
Obviously, this can vary on a personal level, but let's look at it from an evolutionary perspective. I like to use the example of walking in the woods. Imagine you are walking in the woods and a snake jumps out at you when you walk past a certain tree, you're going to remember that tree, that feeling and that moment. Now imagine walking past that same tree and nothing happening, you're probably not going to remember that tree are you?
Our brain works to protect us from danger, we avoid bad feelings, and we avoid places that cause us harm, distress and discomfort. Sometimes we want to be able to control everything and make it all perfect but it cannot always be done. We can only focus on the things which are in our control.
But you can't get to where you want to go without change and without a bit of discomfort. So I propose a different way of looking at failure. Of course, you are allowed to feel a bit sad and feel all the emotions that come up. But make sure once you're done feeling the feels, you reflect and look at what you can learn and what you can take forward into the future. That is where the growth lies.
Get comfortable with the uncomfortable because running away will not improve you, or make it go away. But learnt actionable steps will help the process the system and the cycle go round.
All I have to say here is sometimes life and the path through failure and to success is like riding a wave. Sometimes you just have to let the path you have created take you, and you have to ride the wave through failure, reflection, growth and success. But remember you have to create that path of process with steps to the goal broken down into actionable tasks.
Wishing you all luck 💙
Hope you got something out of this, would love to hear some feedback or what resonated with you.
Love Sav x
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