Phew! It’s been six weeks since I did a blog post, and to be honest, the last couple of weeks I’ve been avoiding doing a newsletter because I FAILED! I failed in providing you daily and weekly inspiration. Well, I’ve confronted that FEAR today for my year without fear, and I am going to promise you I will stay on track!
I’ve been talking a lot to my yoga therapy clients about failure lately – its a hot topic. I’ve been doing some personal exploration about it as well. Here are some of the things I’ve learned in my time of reflection and non-communication:
1. Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. Very real things happen in your brain when you fail at something – your brain ADAPTS in three different ways to make you better at it the next time. Your synapses change to be more receptive to the messengers you need to be better at it, your shape of your receptors can change, and you can grow new receptors!
2. Failure is an opportunity to learn. When you fail, you gain very real information about how NOT to do something. You don’t gain ANY information about your worth as a human being. Your worth as a human is not dependent on your actions, your possessions or your physical body. Your consciousness exists and there is nothing on this planet that can judge that.
3. Make failure normal. One practice that is very helpful to me is to list at the end of each day 5 things I failed and and 5 things I succeeded at. And you know what? There are 5 of each, every day. This practice helps me see that failure is a part of every day life, and indeed, one of the ways I become successful. Rarely do I fail to make progress if I admit my failure and plan to change my thoughts, actions or habits that lead to that failure.
4. Proper planning prevents piss poor performance. As much as my creative Aries brain wants to deny it, planning and being successful go hand in hand – you can’t have consistent success without the both of them. So find ways to plan that are fun – if you are artistic, make your plan colorful and pretty. If you are scientific, have fun with spreadsheets or graphs or whatever way you can pique your interest in making a plan. Only you know what floats your boat.
5. Don’t give up and meet challenges head on. Giving up, running away, hiding, numbing out and all that stuff – emotional eating,
anxiety, TV – they are all band aids on the wounds of life. To really heal, you must take on failures head on – and this is MUCH easier when you throw out the notion that your failures have ANYTHING to do with your personal worth as a human being.
6. Fake it til you make it. Affirmations can seem phony, inauthentic and stupid when you are trying to make a change. But learning new ways to think about your problems can actually give you access to authenticity and believability. When you brain believes it, even 1%, you are starting to shift the neurobiological tides in your chosen direction. It may take a year or even many years, but persistence pays off. You might make the change faster than you think! Watch this TED talk by Amy Cuddy to learn more about this.
7. Access memories of success and the habits that got you there. When I was in high school, I was the first person in the pool for swimming practice. I showed up on time, every day, and took that leap into the chilly water first, all the time. I even got an award my senior year for my dedication to the team. Those habits and memories have served me continually throughout my life to remind me what it takes to be successful.
So get out there and FAIL! Celebrate it! One success is built on the foundation and knowledge gained by a thousand failures.