Lessons From Failure
Before I can talk about the things I have tried to learn from my recent failure I probably have to tell you guys a little about what has been going on with me for the past couple of years. I won’t bore you with the gritty details but will say that I have set some rather large goals for myself that covered a wide range of areas in my life including ambitious career objectives and a desire to lose a significant amount of weight.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a passionate goal setter and firmly believe that writing it down and making a plan will get you to almost anything you want to achieve. As I watched my continued failure to meet the goals that I set for myself some of my confidence in the process wained. I’m fact, The more I met with failure the more that I lost myself and my confidence. I had been working harder than I ever had in my life and still was not getting anywhere near the results I had been hoping for. Now it has been many many months and i am still not close to where I want to be. I am about to come up on another missed deadline I will tell you guys that it would be really easy to curl up and cry.
The other night, laying in bed not sleeping (sadly another pretty normal thing for me), I came to the conclusion that I had to get something from the massive amount of failure that I have experienced. It would be far to easy to sink into a total and complete melt down if all this work and time amounted to zero results. I can’t say that it eliminated my frustration but making a mental list of the things that I have learned over this time period did help. Maybe, if you are going through something similar, they can help you too.
1. Who I can rely on
When you are having months worth of bad days, where you are in a bad mood and on the verge of a breakdown you find out pretty quickly who is willing to hang around and listen and who is not. In the past I would say that I have not really been the type to share my struggles, but as my discouragement increased my need for comfort went up also. I think, historically, I was worried that I would seem weak if I leaned on other people but instead I learned the great strength that come from having people to turn to.
2. The power of distraction
If you are anything like me you will firmly believe that when the going gets tough it is extra important to throw all your energy at the problem. Something that I have come to realise is that stepping back for a couple of days and thinking about something else is not just refreshing, it is often when the solutions will hit me. Giving myself time to get lost in a craft project, packing the freezer with baking, or enjoying a holiday with no work is something I don’t feel guilty about anymore. During the times when I let myself put my challenges aside have helped me come back more clear headed and often with a solution I wouldn’t have found hammering away at it without a break.
3. Outsiders can often see more clearly
A happy side effect of being more reliant on people is that I get to hear their prospective on my various situations. Not being as close to it or as invested in the outcomes means that they aren’t as impassioned about your choices either. They can often point out what is not working that you should step away from or something to try that you may not have thought of. Some idea that you feel married to could be exactly what is holding you back and having someone who has a detached view talk you through it could be what you need to move on.
4. I love to crochet
One of the things I used as a distraction over the last year or so was teaching myself to crochet. I found that not only did I enjoy doing it but that I wasn’t bad at it either. Something that started out as an avoidance technique has become one of my favourite passtimes and I regularly have to go through my pile of finished products to donate or gift so that it doesn’t take over my whole house. Just recently I even started a tiny Etsy shop in the hopes that I can make this obsession a little more productive. You can check it out here.
5. Failure shows me what is not working
Truthfully this is not my favourite of the lessons but I have to acknowledge that sometimes failure is only good for teaching you what is not working. It has shown me some of the areas that I can stop throwing so much energy into because they just don’t yield results and areas that I really need to put more attention into. When I try to detach myself from the heartache from not getting the results I wanted I can remind myself that it’s one more thing to cross of my list to try. Every time I can do that it must mean that I am one step closer to find what is working, right?
6. Failure is not the end of the world
It can feel frustrating and traumatic to fail at something that you pour your heart and soul into but at the end of the day it won’t kill you. I am not ready to be one of those people that say how great failure has been for them but I can honestly say that I am still standing and I still have a lot of things I am grateful for. I have learned a lot through my continued lack of success and with the help of friends and family I am sure that someday soon I’ll have some of the breakthroughs that I want. Failure sucks, I am not going to lie about that, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact it isn’t! Thank goodness for that because that means tomorrow we can try again and this time we will be a little wiser.