Failure is becoming one of my best friends, and I like how the relationship is going.
Yes. You read that subject line correctly. But what I’m about to say might surprise you.
I’m good at failing. I like being a failure.
I like knowing that I’m going all in and that I’m living with my full heart; because, I know, with that type of living, failure will be inevitable. I take my failures as marks of boldness.
I’ve failed a lot in my past, and I still fail a lot today. Not a lot has changed there. But, my view on failure has.
I haven’t always been this way.
I used to have a tough time failing. Like real tough. Hide-yourself-in-your-baggiest-sweatshirt, eat-a-bag-of-chocolate-covered-pretzels and then-snuggle-under-the-covers kind of tough time. When I say I failed, I want you to know that I failed hard, and a lot. My first business was a bust. I lost everything I invested. My first podcast show as a wash; I made a tech glitch that destroyed the feed. My first real relationship was abusive and toxic, and it destroyed me for years, rendering me emotionally void and skeptic. But that’s just the start. I failed at 1000 diets, I failed at anorexia, I failed at reaching my Olympic dreams, I failed at being “cool” in high school, I failed at friendships that mattered to me, I failed at asking for a raise, I failed at having my first book be a best-seller, I failed at applying to my dream job, I failed at giving birth naturally (had to have two emergency c-sections) … I have failed a lot.
The problem wasn’t the failures, it was my reaction to them that was the problem.
I took them personally. I got wounded by them, and to protect myself, I would stop trying. And then, I would be mad at myself for being too scared to chase my dreams. I hated that I knew I was limiting myself, but I thought that it was just going to be that way.
I watched people who were successful and then felt sorry for myself because I didn’t have that “special gene” that they had.
It turns out I did have it. It was there all the time. I just didn’t know how to tap into it.
You have it too.
I leaned to tap into that “special” edge that those “successful, happy people” seemed to have when I learned how to train my thoughts for confidence. Confidence changed everything for me. When you let go of your perfectionistic drive to prove yourself or to do things according to a timeline, you can stop falling so hard. You will find yourself not avoiding failures anymore and instead will be leaning into them.
Honestly, if I can learn how to do this, I know you can too.
I now believe and know that my openness to fail leads to great things, giant breakthroughs and major happiness.
Failure doesn’t define me anymore. It frees me. My open relationship with it gives me permission to try things out and see what happens. This attitude, it’s everything to me and the secret to my confidence.
FIVE REASONS BEING “FRIENDS WITH FAILURE” WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE RIGHT NOW:
The fear of failure keeps most people from doing what they want. When you are crazy enough to “go for” failure, you’re lucky enough to experience the happiness of living the life you actually want to live.
This seems straightforward enough. Fear of failure actually keeps you stuck. Feeling stuck is a quick pass to self-pity and negative self-talk. And, let’s be honest, it’s hard to be truly happy in life when you’re not happy in your brain. The quality of our self-talk dictates the quality of our lives. Happy thoughts lead to a happy life.
By chasing the nature of your relationship with failure (that is, by seeing it as part of the process, not a limiting factor or reflection on your worth), you leverage the power of massive action.
First off, what is massive action anyways? Massive action is the commitment to follow through on a goal, over and over again until you reach the results you want. It is the ultimate in perseverance. It is self-confidence and self-belief that is unwavering and that doesn’t get beaten down by hiccups and missteps along the way. Massive action is the key to reaching any goal. It only accessible when you change your relationship with the concept of failure. By seeing failure as a good thing, as part of the process, happy people are able to continue their forward momentum and effort towards what they want without getting down on themselves or distracted.
People who are okay with failure have learned how to choose their thoughts. People who choose their thoughts also know how to choose happiness.
One of the most simple reasons why people who are good at failing are among the happiest people in the world is because, through the process of failing and getting back up, time and time again, these people have learned how to manage their thoughts and choose what they want to think. If someone is able to reframe failure, they are then able to reframe any negative circumstance in their life.
Having the determination to fail over and over again means that you know what you want. People who know what they want have higher levels of happiness.
The commitment to fail over and over again is the mark of someone who knows what they want. Or, even if they don’t know specifically and exactly what they want, they know the direction of what they want. It means that they have spent time and effort into figuring out what they really want. Knowing one’s emotional priorities helps not only simplify life and keep one from being overwhelmed, but it gives them the focus to follow-through and fail until they reach what they want. When you know what you want, and you prove to yourself that you are moving in its direction, happiness results. Happiness comes from experiencing progress in the journey, not from reaching the destination.
Failure gives you the freedom to let go of your ego. Living without ego is an accelerated way to live with more happiness.
The real reason most people are afraid of failure is because they are afraid of what other people may or may not think of them. Worrying about what other people think is futile. (For more on this, listen to the podcast on How to Be Okay with the Risk of People Not Liking You, or the podcast 33 Practical Ways to Stop Worrying About What People Think). When you aren’t afraid of what other people think you’ll find more natural fuel to take the risk and go for what you want. There’s nothing that revs the happiness engines of life more than feeling free to be yourself and to chase the passions God has put on your heart.
I’m not sure about you, but I can’t wait to fail today at something I try to do. Every failure deepens my resolve and my resilience and it reinforces my detachment from caring too much about what people think of me and from putting too much self-critical pressure on myself.
Monday is a good day for failure. So is Tuesday, and Wednesday, and well, you get it. Today is a good day to start seeing failure differently, don’t you think?
I promise, when you do, when you take on the badge of being “an epic, giant failure” as a sign that you are also an “epic action taker” and “epic, unstoppable dream chaser.” Action takers and dream chasers live dream lives that make an impact in this world. And it all starts with embracing being an “epic, giant failure.”
PS: If you want to learn how to think about failure differently, then join me in The College of Confidence. We will bond together and go after epic failure with confidence and courage, and sister, I will be high-fivving you as you have those breakthroughs you’ve been praying for. Get started here and let’s fail confidently and change the world together as we do.