I failed at something today.
It wasn’t a huge, giant F-up. It didn’t affect my daily life. It was not known by many. Nevertheless, I know.
It is hard to fail. I have been lucky enough to be successful in many areas of my life. Oh sure, when younger I made a ton of mistakes. A ton. But having kids and becoming a nurse will sure motivate you to grow up. Since maturing, I have made better choices and have been generally successful in most of my endeavors, even when I feel like I am failing.
It is so hard to know you have failed at something. As much as we like to pretend that just doing our best is always going to be enough, sometimes it is not. Sometimes we let someone down, or come in last place, or forget an important task. That’s human. It doesn’t make it feel any less sucky.
The truth is, though, that I learned a few things about myself today. I learned that failing does not feel good, but it does not define who I am. As I chatted with my husband about this specific situation on the way home from said failure, he made me laugh when he said, “We still love you Beans. Just don’t use the garage door on your way in.” Confused and picturing a new home repair in our future I asked why. He replied deadpan, “Well, that door is for winners and you just can’t use it going forwards, I’m so sorry. Still love ya, though!” I cracked up and fell into a big bear hug. This guy. I am still lucky to be his wife, and my kids’ mom, and many other wonderful roles. I am still me, and this is but a blip on the radar.
Failing today also showed me an area that I can better focus on in the future. Thinking you are killing something and finding out you are falling short is the ultimate reality check, the most clear of mirrors. I could deny this failure, deflecting blame onto others. I could let it completely take over my thoughts and confirm all of the negative self talk that pops into my head on the darkest of days… paralyzing any forward movement. Or, I could view it for what it really is: A lesson.
Failing doesn’t mean you are done, washed up, finito. On the contrary, failing teaches us something. It guides us. Failure says, you need to make some changes. Not many are successful in their first attempts at any endeavor. It is the perseverance, pushing through the failures, that leads to success. As I have said before and will again, perspective is everything.
Fear of failure does nothing for us. Failure is a given in life. I will experience it again, as will you. Feel the suckiness of it, and then let it go. What can you learn from your failures? How can you utilize those past experiences of failing to help you succeed in the future? What direction is your failure pointing you towards?
Failure is actually a fleeting gift, cleverly disguised as a disappointment. Get comfortable making mistakes and owning them, then take a fresh look at yourself. Actively seek out different approaches to improving upon your weaknesses. I think you may find that failure will ultimately be the base upon which you build your success. I believe it is most definitely possible for epic failure to lead to amazing results. That is, if you want to see it that way. I sure do.