How quick are we to dismiss that which we don’t do well at or have even, God forbid, ‘failed at’? Imagine this scenario – you bump into an old friend whom you haven’t seen you in ages and they ask you how ‘x’ is going. ‘X’ could be a relationship, a business venture, job opportunity, home project, goal or whatever. Regardless of its nature, ‘x’ is caput. You fumble for your words, trying to spin your tale of white hot failure into one that seems less dismal, and try to hide your flushed and mortified face from their glare. The conversation gets awkward, your friend makes a feeble excuse about having to ‘rush home to feed the cat’ and you’re left with a raging ‘failure’ hangover. What if instead, we rewind the scenario and explore our downfalls a little more compassionately and curiously. Let’s see how that pans out?
Friend: How is the training going for that half marathon you wanted to do?
Us: Well, it was wonderful really, I realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t a priority for me and where I’m at in my life at the moment. And it’s been amazing because the times that I had put aside and scheduled runs for, I’m using to now explore more creative tasks that have been tugging at me! Did you know I can glaze a bowl like a mother flipper?
Friend: How is the new business going?
Us: At the time we thought it was sucky but fortunately it all fell through. It really forced our family to come together and work as a team to figure out the ‘where to from here’ and we became so much closer because of it. I’m taking time to really figure out where I feel most useful and passionate and I have a few jobs at the moment that are allowing me to explore that!
Friend: Oh, how is Mick going?
Us: We broke up a few months ago actually! The whole process made me realise what I wanted and what I definitely didn’t want out of a relationship. Now I’m just enjoying being on my own and having ragin’ hot sex.
Do you see what happens when we treat our failures as learning opportunities rather than our pitiful demise? Our failures are by no means the ending to our stories, they offer a ‘pause point’ and opportunity for conscious redirection. They are but mere stepping stones within our story. And, I’m feeling ballsy so I’m just going to say it, I actually believe they’re vital to our eventual successes. No one likes to fail, I totally get that. But people who fail are often the ones who have known what it’s like to want something and have it fall short, and they’re then consequently also the ones who work even harder and smarter to make it work next time. They are, with time and hindsight, able to see that what they thought was their ‘dream’ was perhaps misguided or inauthentic, and in its collapse a more aligned and energising path was revealed. People who fail are gifted with a huge lesson in ‘what not to do’ and that, my darlings, is just as (if not more) valuable as the ‘what to do’ list. And, if you don’t believe me, check out this list of famous failures (spoiler alert: they fucking kill it, post failure) Failures allow us to pause, evaluate, reflect and re strategise.
Because I’m a wee bit of a hippie and was brought into this world with a, perhaps too, hefty serve of idealism and optimism – I am lucky enough to have an unshakable belief in serendipitous and universally orchestrated timing. What appears to be a giant, eff off, slap in the face is actually often a loving little redirection that something better intended for us. Failures are less of a ‘stop sign’ and more of a last minute ‘turn right here’ or a more colourful ‘SURPRISE! U-turn bitch!’.
We often hide or downplay our failures, in favour of our highlight reels and wins. These too deserve to be celebrated, o’ course, I love me some wins. But don’t forget to celebrate, or at the very least honour, your failures and tribulations. They are just as important to your journey and these are equally as deserving of time, love and acknowledgement.
What have you failed at this week and (more importantly) what did it teach you?
I’ll start. Ahem. In no particular order, the following details that which I sucked ass at this week:
+ I failed to get up with my alarm on Wednesday morning. BUT it taught me that I need to get to bed earlier and it also taught me that if I miss a work out, I can still juggle my timetable and make it work in the afternoon. AB-fab afternoon workouts for the win.
+ I failed to carry the groceries in safely and smashed a giant glass jar on the driveway. It taught me to slow down, take a few trips if needed and don’t rush.
+ I failed to update the blog as often as I would like. It taught me that scheduling in regular ‘writing’ sessions within my week, with the same importance given to them as an appointment, makes me more accountable and pro-active.
+ I failed to keep my herbs alive. After declaring this a ‘nothing will die’ month, my indoor plants are thriving but my coriander and dill have gone to a better place. I’ve learnt that it is NOT the season for these babies to grow.
Blessings and a ‘hurrah’ for failure x