It’s time to CELEBRATE our failures
On the way back from the gym this morning I turned on my TED talk app. The first video that popped up for me, was JK Rowling’s ‘The Fridge Benefits of Failure’.
The speech is quite incredible, and the way in which she explained failure really hit something inside of me.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies” — J.K. Rowling
That felt so powerful, as there have been so many times in life that I have failed.
My biggest failure but strongest lesson, was when I moved home and packed in my life in the Performing Arts industry; my dream since I was three years old and something I had spent billions of hours working towards. It was my life – inside and outside of school, sixth form, theatre school, dancing, three years at Stage School to get my degree, and goodness knows how much money my family and I put into it.
Failure in the performing arts industry is a strange thing, because no one really talks about it. There is always some ridiculous random reason why you didn’t get the job, and you tell yourself that reason (excuse is a better word I think) time and again if the job isn’t yours. This is where I learned to be tenacious, strong and built my sheer determination to keep going in tough times. There aren’t many industries I know of, where individuals experience the same hurt, upset and rejection on a daily basis as you do in Performing Arts – for that very reason, we learn to become INCREDIBLY strong human beings. You deal with rejection regularly but never admit defeat.
However, I did. I admitted defeat and felt my life; my mind and my body would benefit from walking away. I was right.
I moved back home to find a whole new world.
I look back now on my Performing Arts experience with some anger but mostly happiness. The love will always be there, but I am so happy I failed because it’s brought me to where I am today.
Without that failure and reaching the point where I said, “What do I want to do when I grow up?”, I wouldn’t be where I am now – living in Australia, termed an Entrepreneur (which I sometimes still don’t believe still).
I think what I’m trying to say is, that the failure I felt at that time was heart wrenching and I wanted the world just to swallow me whole. I hate giving up on anything but at that point in time I needed to do exactly that. The determination and effort I learned from having the courage to leave what I was do and ‘fail’, I would never have learned if I had stayed and carried on feeling unhappy and unworthy.
If you’ve never experienced failure, you’ve never pushed yourself out of your comfort zone.
What have you ‘failed’ at, that’s’ brought something even more incredible into your life? This is such an amazing way to think about failure. The FEAR of failure is something that holds us back. It stops people moving from that comfort zone and living our dreams.
What if we lived in a world where we not only pushed past our FEAR of failure? What if we embraced it as a way of learning and developing ourselves?
If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein said. He was considered a failure from an early age, as he didn’t speak until he was nearly four years old and didn’t speak fluently until he was 12. His teachers thought he wouldn’t amount to much.
Einstein didn’t prove them wrong overnight. It was a long journey that took dedication, perseverance and a willingness to fail — repeatedly. In fact, those failures were what made it possible for him to achieve what he did and become the genius he’s known as today. Why? Because he learned from all of them.
So, how can we get rid of this fear of failure, learn from our failure and start living our lives?
1. STOP SEEING FAILURE AS A MEASURE OF YOUR SELF-WORTH.
Failing can often lead to frustration or sadness. Perhaps you anticipated success or feel embarrassed that the situation didn’t pan out; however, failure is not a measure of your worth or value as a person!
Often your harshest critic is yourself. Try seeing that self-worth through your ability to keep trying and keep going than giving up.
2. FOCUS ON THE GOOD THINGS.
After failure, you may feel horrendous about yourself. But in truth, everyone has something unique to them that they do well! Use what you do well to your advantage in the future. Whilst important to improve things about yourself, it’s also important to keep those good things strong. Avoid overly negative thinking by focusing on the positive aspects of yourself and your life. Write a list of 10 things you are good at – big or small!
3. USE FAILURE AS INSPIRATION.
As I said before, my failure pushed me to work even harder, and gave me the motivation to push myself further. Use each mistake to build strength and courage. By embracing failure, you will become more comfortable with it as a part of your life and work.When you reflect on that in a week, month, or year from now, you may feel stronger for having faced your failures.
4. BE RESILIENT.
Have that bounce back ability (I’m sure that’s a football term haha). Being resilient means the ability to bounce back from failure. You might feel depressed or upset with yourself. You may feel like giving up, but with resilience, you look for the positives, you look on the brighter side. Have a recipe for optimism- strive to do better, be confident – believe in yourself and creativity – and have a plan for how to improve!
So, begin to enjoy the failure. Enjoy what it brings you.
If you have guts, resilience, initiative and tenacity you will see an incredible progress in your mind frame if and when you do feel that failure.