I used to think that when I made a mistake or didn’t do something “perfectly” I was a failure.
In my mind, failing was not an option. It meant that I was not good enough, and therefore should stop doing anything that I didn’t succeed in immediately. If I didn’t think I’d be great at something, I didn’t attempt it because I thought it was safer than failing.
This trend started early on when my mom signed me up for multiple things as a child and I quit them all.
Ballet? No way.
Violin? Please kick me in the shin!
Sports? I’d rather have warts.
It seemed that I was of the mentality that a fixed mindset was the way to go: you either had it or you didn’t, and for most of my life I didn’t.
I had no idea what a growth mindset entailed. (I love reading about the difference between fixed and growth mindsets in the book, “Mindset“, by Carol S. Dweck)
As I grew, I learned that I couldn’t give up on everything simply because I didn’t understand it right away.
If I hated math and performed horribly on a test, I couldn’t just drop out of the class. If I didn’t know how to drive, I couldn’t just avoid getting a license. If I didn’t know how to feed my baby, there was no chance that I was going to give up on the first go-around.
Certain things you can’t quit at even if you appear to be failing. The funny thing is, most of the time when we feel like we are failing at something, we are just one or two tries away from really doing a great job, or from success
Why Failure Is Your New Best Friend
After years of being stuck in my comfort zone thinking “don’t try it if you don’t get it right off the bat,” I decided that I’d try to adopt more of a growth mindset.
I’m so glad I did!
Had I stayed in my comfy “cage” I would have never:
- Lived in Ecuador- yikes, it can be scary not speaking the same language as the people around you!
I lived and served in orphanages for 4 months and learned to speak fluent Spanish.
- Gotten married: with divorces being so prevalent, why even try to make one work?
My husband and I just celebrated 17 years together and are happier than ever.
- Had children: yah right, with all the “screw-up” parents out there? What if I became one?
We have six beautiful children that mean the world to me and have taught me so much about life and myself. I still screw up, but I’ve learned to love the lessons each screw-up teaches me.
- Published a book- Yeah right, with all the red marks from my college essays it would’ve been a disaster!
My recently published book, The 10-Minute Refresh for Moms: Less Stress, More Joy is now helping moms in over 3 countries and languages!
I am now of the mindset that “failure” is really like a good friend.
We all need the kind of friend willing to say, “Hey girl, you have lipstick on your teeth.” Or “Friend, you might want to put on some extra deodorant.” Or even “That outfit isn’t the most flattering on you, maybe you should try this one.”
Some people are too afraid to tell us these things- worried about how we will take it or if such things would ruin a friendship.
What I have found is that I cherish those friends wiling to “take the risk” and tell me the truth. When I find them, I keep them around!
I have come to see failure with the same admiration.
Every Single Time You Fail You Grow
We are given an opportunity to learn and become a better version of ourselves.
If we can look at each setback, mistake, or mishap as a step closer to our success, we will begin to welcome them rather than fear them.
Our failures are not our foes. They are our teachers. They are not there to beat us up or make us feel less than. They do not diminish our worth and need not dim our light. They are there to help us learn new things and become better people.
Some famous examples of “failures” that turned into triumphs include:
- JK Rowling being rejected for Harry Potter from 12 publishers before someone accepted it.
- Thomas Edison attempted to get a bulb to light over 1000 times before he succeeded.
- Walt Disney tried over and over again to have someone give him a chance to make a movie before he started his own company.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Can you imagine what our world would be like if these amazing achievers gave up the first time they were rejected or denied? What if they would’ve stopped after their first failed attempt?
There would be no such thing as Harry Potter World or mudbloods. We might not have electricity. No Disneyland. And many boys and girls from my generations would’ve missed out on an all-star basketball player to idolize and give us hope.
All of these examples prove that we should look at failures as our friends.
Each time someone fails they grow, they learn, they expand, and if they let it, they become a better person as a result.
Just as I did as a child, we often give up way too soon- even before we try.
Why not give failure a better rap and see it for what it really is? Welcome it as you would that rare friend willing to tell you how you can get even better, and I promise you won’t regret it!