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Failure is a Great Option!

failure podcast Nov 26, 2019

Can't Listen? Here's the transcript: 

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite topics, which is failure. The reason why it is one of my favorite topics is that a lot of you listening have designed your lives around avoiding failure at all costs.  And this has caused you to give up on your dreams, keep you from achieving success in a lot of areas of your life, may have you feel very stuck, and also have a lot of complaints about life.  

We have been taught to avoid failure since we were young. In school, you can’t fail a class or can’t fail a test.  That is considered very bad. I think my whole education growing up was about studying to get the grade, rather than to actually learn.  What would school have been like if we had been taught that failure just means that there’s more to learn? How much more fun would school be?  

Your fear of failure is what costs you your dreams.  For a lot of you, your fear of failure has you staying confused, in self-doubt, or even self-pity.  These are the emotions that your Inner Critic whips up when she convinces you that failure is not an option. And these feelings lead to inaction and staying stagnant. 

Because if you are listening to your Inner Critic, she will keep you frozen until you can guarantee that your life will go exactly the way you want it to. So many of you, as you are thinking about your dream career, relationship, or body, you might be faced with thoughts like I am still deciding, I need to know more, I am not ready yet, I don’t know how, or I can’t. 

Without failure, you can’t know your limits.  You won’t know what you are capable of. If you never push yourself to the failing point, you won’t be able to ever expand your capability.  So if you want your life to move forward, you have to be willing to fail. The worst thing that will happen is that you will feel an uncomfortable feeling. 

Your Inner Critic is so used to keeping us protected from feeling anything uncomfortable. This is how your Inner Critic is trading temporary discomfort for long term discomfort. With temporary discomfort, if you fail, you will experience an uncomfortable emotion-but that’s the worst thing that can happen. 

If you don’t go for your dreams, that is long term discomfort. Because you will spend your life feeling like you are meant to be living a different life and then all of the feelings of despair that go with that.  

What is your resistance to failure costing you in your life: Procrastination, avoidance, low energy, sadness, loneliness. These are all the indication signs that your Inner Critic is high on her throne in your mind.  FEAR-- false evidence appearing real. 

What if failure was something that you no longer had to resist because you stopped allowing your Inner Critic to assign the same meaning-- not good enough, inadequate, something is wrong with you?

What would it feel like to take action in the area of your life where it doesn’t look the way you want it to?  Remember if you are separate from your Inner Critic, then the thoughts, feelings, and actions that are connected to failure are nothing more than a story.

Your failure has nothing to do with your worthiness or your value. Failure is completely separate from who you actually are.

If failure doesn’t mean what your Inner Critic makes it mean, then if you really think about failure, then it is empty and meaningless until you assign the meaning.  Until your Inner Critic gets ahold of it and says this failure means you’re not good enough, or capable enough, or smart enough, failure is nothing more than information about what worked and what didn’t. 

It actually illuminates what is the next step to take. Taking massive action is trying different things in order to get the result. In growing my business, I have failed over and over. I have tried many different things and gone in many different directions, that didn’t work. But rather than allowing my Inner Critic to whip me up into fear, frustration, and defeat, I have used the failure as an opportunity to learn and practice something different. And that is still happening to this day.

If I do something in my business and it doesn’t work, I do something else until it works.  I have had program launches that didn’t go the way I wanted them to. I have had rewrite after rewrite of my book that’s coming out next year. I have had rejections from publishers. But it doesn’t mean that none of this worked.  

You get to choose the meaning you assign to it.  You can either choose an interpretation that is empowering or disempowering.  If your Inner Critic chooses your interpretation, you are going to feel an uncomfortable emotion. And really, that’s the worst thing that can happen.

Remember that emotions are just vibrations in your body. When you are separate from your Inner Critic, you can feel ALL of your emotions.  You can feel an uncomfortable emotion on purpose. It won’t kill you.

As I continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone, I am constantly feeling discomfort. But I would recommend choosing one that is empowering.  In order to do that, you have to be able to distinguish between the voice of your Inner Critic and YOU, your authentic self.  

When you stay stagnant, you can’t move forward.  The only thing that can propel your life to where you want it to go is your willingness to fail over and over.

Failing is learning and growing.  And that’s what moves you forward.  Not quitting, and continuing to take action no matter what is what moves you forward.  It is your attempts, not your success, that propels your life forward. Be willing to do what you think is the best way to get your result, but it doesn’t have to be the perfect way. 

Because you really won’t know ahead of time what the result will be. Many of you want to have a great relationship, or lose the weight, or create your dream business, but you don’t want to be uncomfortable in the process of getting there.  

Culturally, we celebrate successes rather than highlighting the epic journeys towards success that are filled with upsets, setbacks and failures.  It’s not glamorous to talk about those things. When describing his success, Michael Jordan says, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed." 

What I have learned is that in order to get the big goals, we have to be willing to take the journey to get there.  Rather than keeping your focus on the result, you can look back at the journey and marvel at how far you’ve come. When I look back at my journey, I feel incredibly proud of myself.  And when I feel that way, I can surrender my attachment to getting the result, and just stay on the journey and see where it takes me.

I do this with my business, I do this in my parenting, I do this in my relationship with my husband, I do this all over my life.  I have a vision for what I want to create, and then I have failures and setbacks along the way. It is hard! But no one said life was supposed to be easy!

I want a life of growth, not ease. Growth is what creates excitement for the possibilities to come. I have many goals in my life that I am working towards.  And I will continue to be on the journey to achieve them. But if I never achieve them, that will still give me a really powerful life.

I don’t have my focus on the result. I have my focus on the steps I am taking along the journey. The result will be whatever it will be. But what I know is that all the steps will definitely continue to move my life forward. 

My ability to tolerate failure over and over has already lead my life to places I couldn’t have even dreamed were possible. And that is all because I have had to separate myself from my Inner Critic along the journey for the last 20 years. I assure you, if my Inner Critic were in control of my mind, I would have stopped a long time ago. I wouldn’t have pushed myself, and I wouldn’t have developed any tolerance for failure and would have stayed small.  I would have been just surviving life, instead of thriving in my life.

And as I continue to grow, my confidence grows too. I can do things now that I never thought I could do. And now I am willing to fail more than I ever have before, because I know that the road to success is all about tolerating failure. I encourage all of you to take one area of your life and do something that really scares you. I invite you to see failure as something to celebrate so that when life doesn’t go the way you wanted or expected it to, you can continue to align your thoughts, feelings, and actions with the life you are designing.  

Is Your Inner Critic Keeping You From Success?

Find out what your Inner Critic is saying to sabotage your success and how you can move past her limiting beliefs. 


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