Allow me to open with a brief, relevant rant:
The conventional education system in North America frustrates me. We teach children to be good at fact-recall and passing tests, not critical, creative thinking. We value and reward being a good follower, and don’t have a curriculum for being a good leader. If you were very good at coloring inside the lines, you were likely fearful to ever step out of bounds. After all, you were a “good girl”.
If you wanted to paint your ponies purple and have them live in the deep yellow sea, you probably felt like a failure for not being good enough. “Bad girl”.
Generally speaking, I tend to be a challenger. I challenge assumptions and test limits and wonder “is there a better way?”. I synthesize to make sense of things, then wonder if any of it makes sense. I am a reformed good girl who likes purple ponies.
When I became an entrepreneur, though, I became extremely narrow-minded about business. I was desperate for a “blueprint” or “strategy” or “formula” for surefire success, so I could relax and trick myself into believing that if I just followed this tried and tested path, I’d win.
The problem with that thinking is that every time I stumbled or tripped, I felt like I was failing. Every time I felt like I was failing, I felt like I was a failure.
Have you ever been anxious because things in your life, your business, your relationship or your bank account are “going wrong”… like you’re on a single lane highway to failure?
When I ran a survey a few months ago, the #1 thing people reported being afraid of was: FAILURE. Not just failing, but being a person who fails.
Being a failure.
I get it.
The last 2 years have served up some serious failure:
:: an 18 month website birthing process (yes, it’s still gestating)
:: an existential meltdown
Too bad I was so anxious about my failures.
If only I knew the future outcomes of all that “bad”:
:: falling in love again (with myself, too)
:: a way more fabulous website (you’ll meet her in a few weeks!)
:: radical clarity
Indeed, failure is part of life. Babies learn to walk by falling over and over and over again. When seeds are sown, they don’t all sprout. Heartbreak teaches us what a tender heart feels like.
Eventually, with patience and persistence, we walk, the flowers bloom and we open to love. Hallelujah, success is part of life, too.
Live in these 4 questions for 1 week and notice how life feels…
1. What if I abandoned the concept of failure?
“Everything is progress” – Danielle LaPorte
2. What would I do if I weren’t so afraid to “fail”?
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs
3. What if I stopped worrying and channelled that energy into taking care of business?
“Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” – Unknown <tweet it!>
4. What could “go right”?
“Anxiety is the mistaken belief that something could go wrong. But the concept of ‘going wrong’ is meaningless, if you are committed to making sure every experience you have – no matter how miserable in the moment – eventually contributes to the fierceness and openness of your heart.”
– Michael Ellsberg (download his manifesto here)