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Self | Failure isn’t failure, it’s progress

Failure isn’t failure, it’s the learning curve of progress. Say that again my lovelies and really hear it. We need to understand that the only people who don’t fail are those who don’t try in the first place.

Failure isn’t failure

Back here, I wrote about finding daily joy in the little things. Here I talked about kindness to self. Now, I think we should talk about failure. Failure has been a common theme this year. As you might appreciate 2020 has been a horrid year all round, and when I read about women saying they have failed at homeschooling, fitness, work or life in general, I think geez. I think, give yourself a break. I read their stories and I think, that’s not failure, it’s progress.

We need to change the lens we use to label something as a failure. So why do I see progress, while these beautiful women see failure? Is it because I’ve failed a lot, and through those many, many fails I’ve learnt to see it as something else.

Failure is a signpost on the road to progress

I’ve said that kindness is a gift, and it’s one we should first give ourselves. Likewise, I think failure is a gift, as it’s a signpost on the road to progress. The only time I never fail is when I sit still. The only time I don’t fail is when I don’t progress. Now where’s the fun in that …

Failure is progress, it’s just dressed in black and looks a bit goth

I want to change the way we look at failure and it’s flipside, success. There is too much black and white when we talk about success and failure. “Oh, he’s such a success”. Or alternatively, “I’m such a failure”. Well, no, no you are not. I have never met a 100% successful person. Nor have I ever met a complete failure of a human being.

If you have lived, you have failed. And that’s ok, that’s life.

gothic woman in black outfit sitting on stairs
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Stepping Stones

Taking an action, making a commitment, desiring something different, these things are not the signs of failure. These are stepping stones to success. It takes momentum to move towards success. And rarely is the pathway linea.

The more common experience is ups and downs, three steps forward, one step back. Twists and turns are the norm, not the exception, as we seek to move ourselves to a better place.

It’s momentum and progress that matters, not a single missed step, not the designated fail.

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Fear of Failure

Before failure, comes fear of failure. This is not a signpost to success, or a stepping stone to progress, it’s a road block. 99.99% of the time our ‘worst imagined outcome’ never surfaces. Fear of failure is really indecision dressed up in sky high red stilettos, holding a neon sign that flashes FAIL FAIL FAIL. Unplug that thing, throw off the stilettos and put on your ballet flats and get on the pathway, get some progress happening.

neon signage
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Then, as you progress and a ‘fail’ happens, congratulate yourself for making some progress, do not berate yourself for the fail. Now you know at least two things, where you have been and where you don’t want to be.

You may even have a clearer picture of how to make greater progress to the desired destination.

Failing again and again

Feel like you are failing again and again? That’s how I felt when I tackled my health issues. I made no progress for over two years. Not entirely true, I actually added to the issues and made them worse, anti-progress I’d call that. Then, when things became so desperate and I was really afraid, I made progress, I found my momentum. The sun came out, I could see the first few steps of a pathway to somewhere better. This didn’t mean I didn’t fail again. I did. But more importantly, I progressed in the right direction.

scenic view of the forest during sunrise
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Sure, I failed along the way, many times, as I didn’t have the knowledge, understanding or follow thru. Several times I thought I’d found the way forward, but it was just a detour back to nowhere good. So I would dust myself off and look for another pathway. There is always another pathway.

I just kept at it.

Failure is a learning curve

Over time, I realised I was on this huge learning curve. I realised the failures were signposts to somewhere better. Sometimes it was more a speed bump, slowing me down, a virtual hand brake, saying woooh, slow down girl. I understood that I could fail, then get up and move forward. I learnt from my failures.

The failure did not define me, my response to it did.

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This is how I progressed. This is how I dealt to my health issues. This is how I got here. Happier, healthier and experienced in what failure looks like, it’s cause and how I can remedy it.

I also now know how to avoid similar fails going forward. This is golden.

No more ‘I’m a failure’ self talk

So what do I want from you, well I want no more ‘I’m a failure’ talk. Just stop it, now. I do not want to see another ‘I’m such a failure’ comment. I want failure celebrated and recorded and discussed in its real guise, being that of progress. I want comments like “I’m progressing”, “I’m learning”, “I’m growing”, “I’m doing it for myself”. I want “it’s a voyage of discovery” not a single fail. I want to hear about progress, good, bad and ugly. Make it so. Love Le xox

PS … Want to read more on why embracing failure, then go here for three reasons why failing is good.

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