Have you ever felt like a failure?
Sure you have! And that’s good!
Life just would not be life without failures to remind us how far we have grown.
Failing means that you are on the path to success!
But really! How do you feel about failure?
Do you view it as a humiliation or as a path to success?
Well, most of us are not comfortable with failure.
I certainly am not comfortable with failure, but over the years I’ve come to make peace with this really powerful emotion.
Let me tell you, I have had major big failures in my past.
I want to present the idea of failure in a new light, so listen up…
Prefer to Read it? (full transcript below)
Most recently I was learning a new skill, in phlebotomy. I was training to be a Medical Laboratory Assistant.
A big part of that job involves taking blood from people. So I went to school for 7 months and learned the skill of sticking a needle into peoples veins.
So, you can imagine, learning THAT skill, there is LITTLE room for error…. and you try to make the whole process as painless as possible for your patient! So don’t get nervous and all SHAKY!
Well, learning that skill was nerve-racking for me!
And believe me, while you are learning this skill you make lots of mistakes! And they are mistakes that people feel!
If you miss a vein and hit a nerve … well, there is no hiding from a mistake like that!
I worked for 5 weeks in a lab before deciding that that type of job was really NOT for me.
But the point is, I got to appreciate and see value in accomplishing something I was failing at again and again until I got good at it. And I was able to do that with something I didn’t even particularly enjoy.
(I have many other more personal failures too. Some would say I failed at my marriage, I’ve lost money, I lost the house of my dreams, I’ve had me share a failed relationships. I chalk it all up to ‘living and learning’.)
One of My Biggest Failures Ever!
(I still cringe when I think about this one!)
My all-time best failures ever, happened when I was training to be a teacher.
I was a student teacher and teaching a high school geography class that was known as the “class for hell”.
The main class teacher was sick one day and there was a substitute teacher filling in for him. I took over the class as was expected, but the students were a little more mischievous that day.
I had my lesson all planned out and had arranged for the class to watch a documentary, but we would have to move to another room.
NOW, being a newbie student teacher and not really reading the vibe of a class very well yet, I ploughed ahead with my goals of teaching this class as normal…ignoring how the energy level was rising.
Any other more experienced teacher would have ditched that plan and would have moved to more relaxed, calming activities.
So by the time I moved the class It was clear – I had totally lost control of the class! I felt so humiliated.
So I didn’t let anyone leave for lunch until they were all in their seats. The bell had already rung 5 minutes ago.
Can you imagine how long those minutes felt, standing there watching this class totally out of control, not listening to me…. it was CRAZY!!!!
When they realized I was serious, they finally settled down and I was able to let them go.
Afterwards, when I thought about this experience I was making everything that happened everything far worse in my head. I felt like every teacher in the school would know what a lousy teacher I was.
And I made things even worse by imagining that this humiliating even would be broadcasted everywhere throughout the school.
Then the worse part of that experience was the next day! I had to go back into that class and face them again!!!!
But you know I showed up and they were fine, it wasn’t the disaster I had thought would be, and I learned so much from that experience. Let me tell you I learned real quick to always have your finger on the pulse of the vibe of a class or group of people you are communicating with.
I wrote about this incident in my book, Journey Within, and I call it one of my greatest – successful – failures.
Oh yeah, I’ve had my failures, and they have all been VERY public, large audience and all, oh god those are the worse kind of failures are they not!
Well, the moral of these two stories is that in the end, I got what I really wanted and more. In my phlebotomy experience, I ended up realizing I didn’t want to
Work in healthcare poking people with needles…. and it really pushed me to finally do something I loved which is writing and talking about stuff that really means something to me.
And the teaching experience, well I went on to graduate and I ended up teaching in overseas schools in S. Korea, Singapore and Brunei for 14 years and I had an amazing experience doing that.
Failure is the Prerequisite to Success
Nothing is a failure if you follow through with it. If you CAN break through the awkward painful uncomfortable parts of it and just work through it, there truly is gold in every experience. Remember this,
“Failure is not final, fatal, or forever.”
Think about it! How did you learn to walk, ride a bike, play a game?
YOU FAILED, LOTS!
You also succeeded, but you failed many times over again …Now granted, back then when you were a kid it was ok, the audience was smaller or non-existence. You were so determined to accomplish your goal it never occurred to you that when you fell down or had to pick yourself up, that you had failed. It was a learning curve, that was all.
It is such a pity and a waste of an incredible learning experience when someone succumbs to the fear of failure, which effectively prevents you from owning your own personal success. If you are blocked time and again by fear you could be preventing yourself from doing something that people all over the world need and want. Failure just means you have to refine things a bit, tweak what you are doing until you do get it right.
Now, I want to share with you some interesting facts about other people who have failed miserably and yet in the end, they overcame all odds. And bear in mind that if ANY of these people had stop learning and growing simply because of a failure, our world would a very different place.
Examples of Historic, Iconic Failures
This information is from the Business Insider, in an article written by Rachel Sugar, Richard Feloni and Ashley Lutz, Jul 9, 2015, 2.45 pm.
Edison, when he was a young child his parents were told by teachers that he was “too stupid to learn anything”. He went on to become a great inventor. When he invented the light bulb, he failed at least 1,000 times before being successful.
Winston Churchill, the previous prime mister of Britain. During WW2, he said that. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. Now, Winston Churchill had failed miserably as secretary of the Navy during WW1, this was long before he became a powerful leader and prime minister of Britain, displayed amazing leadership skills which helped Britain get through WW2, plus he helped to conquer the Germans and win the war.
And. we all know Oprah!
Well…..did you know that she was publicly fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore, for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories”. I mean like THAT is now her trademark right! She has since amassed a media empire and she alone is worth a cool $3 billion dollars according to Forbes.
And don’t be thinking that age has anything to do with success because listen to this!
Colonel Harland David Sanders was a failure who got fired from dozens of jobs before starting his own restaurant … which also failed! He was broke at 65-year-old sleeping in his car! Begging run-down diners to work with his recipe and give him a nickel for each chicken! Eventually, he got a business deal in Utah and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born. It is now one of the most recognizable franchises in the world with over 18,000 locations.
There are so many more examples of incredible failures that ended up resulting in success beyond measure.
For example the likes of Walt Disney, Actor Sidney Poitier, Albert Einstein, Fred Astaire, JKRowling (she was a single mother on welfare when she wrote her first novel “Harry Potter”, I
And these people didn’t fail just once, they failed again and again. Yet, they never gave up and they actually incorporated failures into their road to success!
So the world wants what you have to offer. And you will likely fail, more than once in delivering that passion or service to others.
I know, I know, we have ALL been there….Failure doesn’t feel good, but hey feeling some discomfort is a small price to pay for the possible pay off of breaking through that discomfort and becoming who you truly are.
The fear of failing simply isn’t a good enough reason to quit or give up on yourself.
I will leave you now with this one last thought.
The purpose of failure is to learn from the experience, grow and never lose sight of your end goal.
Failure is not meant to keep you stuck or paralyzed. Failure trains you to achieve your highest potential.
Ok well, thank you for watching and tuning in. I love sharing insightful stuff that pushes the boundaries of WHO we think we are and what you thought you were capable of!
And please share with us, down below write a comment or send me a question. If the question speaks to a wider audience I may answer it here on our blog with your permission of course.
Perhaps there was a time when you failed miserably at something and got yourself back on your feet. You know just even talking about our fears is a great way to get them into perspective and it really takes the sting out of them. Either way, I’d love to hear about it!
Plus, your comments might really help someone who is feeling isolated and struggling with overcoming failure.
Alrighty, beautiful people… don’t let those challenges in life stop you from being and growing!
I hope to see you visiting my site and in the comments.
Please share below, any failures you had that seemed destined to ruin you… but alas you survived it and came out better for it.
Feeling you are failure as a mother, wife, father, husband… are particularly hard but the same ground rules apply. Don’t let failure consume you, let it do what it was always meant to do, make you a better person.
Or please share if you have any questions about how to get to the other side of a failure. Maybe you are stuck in feeling like a failure and can’t get over it.
I’d love to hear from you!