#33: Re-define Your Relationship with Failure

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Show Notes:

Weekly Affirmation: “I fail forward. I am brave. I am honest with myself. I am patient.”

Hello, friends!

Today, we’re excited to introduce our theme for Season 3 of the podcast: Re-define Your Relationship with Failure.

Why Your Relationship with Failure Matters

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now – how our relationship with failure impacts our ability to love who we are and be graceful with ourselves and others and also how it impacts our ability to grow.

And yet, we usually try to avoid anything failure related, so we never get the chance to figure out how to make it work for us.

We avoid it, because most of us, myself included sometimes, view long-term, powerful change as a state of being.

One day, you’re a failure. You do everything wrong, and when you do get it right, it has to be a fluke! You wait and pray and hustle for the day that you suddenly become enough. A success.

A new state of being. 

Well, if you know anything about us, you know that one of our core messages is the message that you are enough right now, and that lasting change begins with grace.

The truth is, it’s not about becoming something you’re not.

It’s about tapping into the good that is already there, and facing the dark, uncomfortable pieces of who you are, long enough to decide what you really want.

And it’s an ongoing process.

In the 12-Step Program, one of the steps to addiction recovery is to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself. And, later, to continue taking that personal inventory, and to promptly admit when you are wrong.

Umm, amazing, right??

We can’t shove the darkness down inside of us and just hope it stays hidden. To know and love who you are is the secret to everything.

More confidence, less comparison, more peace, less anxiety, more connection, less shame, more meaning and roots and purpose, less crisis mode, or feeling hollow.

But that starts with a frank evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses, and learning to embrace the whole picture. 

Next, confronting our mistakes doesn’t mean we’re never going to make a mistake again. We need to be on the lookout for the times when we are tempted to, or do, veer off course, and regularly, fearlessly course-correct.

The key is that last part.

Which brings us to re-defining failure. If it’s not a state of being, what is failure?

Is it actually possible to fail forward?

Can we take a term that, by default, means “not enough” and turn it into a building block, or a learning experience, and part of the path to figuring out who we are and who we want to be?

How?

7 Ways to Re-define Your Relationship with Failure:

  1. Talk about it. Dispel the stigma. Sharing your story is one of the best roads to healing. And we can’t wait for you to hear the powerful stories of our amazing upcoming guests who are willing to show you what that looks like.
  2. Feel your feelings. Often, before we can move on, we need the validation that this is hard. We feel angry, hurt, frustrated, sad, uncomfortable, with others, and even with ourselves. Numbing out can be a useful tool for survival mode, but honest growth requires sitting with those feelings and becoming a student of your emotions. What message are they trying to send? What needs do you have that aren’t being met?
  3. Feel your feelings; but don’t feed them. Draw the line with your behavior. Validate your feelings, but don’t justify and perpetuate negative behaviors. Setting healthy boundaries helps you practice self-care, protect trusted relationships, and prevent emotion-driven reactions rather than intentional responses.
  4. Start fresh now. Whenever you need it. Don’t wait till the weekend is over. Don’t wait for the pandemic to end, or the flashy new job, or the forgiveness to be offered. When you mess up, and you will, ask yourself what now? Because positive action sends shame running every. time. I know that from personal experience.
  5. Learn something. Sometimes, we have to look ridiculous in order to learn. But we know that’s okay, because we don’t just get it wrong; we are willing to get it wrong, in order to eventually get it right.
  6. Get curious about your thoughts. Ask yourself, is this true? Maybe it’s all-or-nothing thinking, or justification, or a feeling that someone else is right to doubt you or mistreat you, or a feeling that everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. Practice questioning those thoughts.
  7. Understand that worth isn’t earned; it’s inherent. Failure and success are not an indication of your self-worth. Period.

One-Liner: Failure is not something to be afraid of!

Journal Prompt: Write down a frank and fearless list of your strengths and weaknesses. A few parameters – 1. Your weaknesses should not be a list of regrets or physical attributes, but of qualities that may not come naturally to you, or require a little extra work. 2. Your list of weaknesses should not outweigh your list of strengths, because I can promise you – they don’t. 3. You have an entire week. I challenge you to ask other people for their input, particularly when it comes to your strengths, but, perhaps, in the case of a trusted relationship, even a weakness or two. Sometimes, that outside perspective can be helpful.

Homework! Do something outside of your comfort zone – it doesn’t matter how big or small. You might even use your compiled list of weaknesses to help you choose. Maybe you learn a new skill, cook a new recipe, try a new sport, have a conversation about a topic you don’t usually talk about, extend an invitation, share a talent, let the house be messy for a day, clean the house… Something that introduces the possibility of “failure”.

Spread love!

❤ Jenny and Joe


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