Fail Forward

I am the kind of person that HATES to fail. I want to be good at everything I set my mind and energy to. This probably roots in the fact that I have never found something I am exceptionally talented at. Now please don’t take that as me bagging on myself; I believe I have some very positive assets and I have gotten myself pretty far in my #TwentySomething years of life. However, for most things I have set out to do, I have never ever been the BEST at them. For that reason, I have to try pretty hard to do well at the things I’m not so good at, and that typically takes a lot of energy.

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I always believed that if you didn’t try hard, you would never make it. And if you didn’t make it, you would never be worth anything. I equated this notion to never allowing myself to fail at anything. No matter what task I came across, I had to succeed. There is an enormous amount of pressure that comes along with that kind of mentality. One that had me stressed out from the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to bed, almost every single day of my life. Although the pressure kept me going, it also buried me very deep in my own feelings of not being good enough to be great at something.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to my very early #TwentySomethings for a minute: One night at one of my many jobs, I was very off and things just weren’t going right. The position I worked in was the kind that you had to be flawless at what you did and able to think on your feet, no matter how much planning had been done beforehand. A job like this is very hard for a person like me to do when I was not completely with it, and I was extremely frustrated. Backstory: My mom has this knack of knowing when I need someone in my corner. As I was on the verge of tears that night, my phone vibrated. I looked down to see a simple message from her, “I love you.” I ran to the bathroom to quickly text her back and let her know that I really appreciated the message and that I was not sure how she did it time and again, but that she always knows. I confided in her that I was really struggling that night and that I was worried that I was not exactly cut out for the job. Her wise response was simply this:

“nothing is wasted if you learn from it.”

I’m not sure why I had never taken this idea into consideration before, but at that exact moment, it spoke volumes to me. I had put so much pressure on myself to be good at that job, that position and I was letting my success in that small, insignificant position in my life define my value. Clearly, my vision had been a little cloudy and that simple notion that my mom put in my head lifted an incredible amount of pressure off of me. It allowed me to look at the situation differently. I didn’t have to be good at the job, and I definitely didn’t have to be great. I just had to learn from the experience.

I think this is incredibly in line with how I quickly learned to look at every other aspect of life. This simple change in perspective allowed me to go after things I wanted in life with all the will I had in me, but without the incredible stress and immense pressure. It is okay to go to incredible lengths when you really want something, but not for a fear of failing. Failing at something doesn’t mean you are a horrible person, it means you tried and it just wasn’t your thing. The important thing is that you tried, and as long as you learn from the experience, the time you spent trying is NEVER wasted.

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If there is one 4-letter word that that still to this day makes me cringe, it is “FAIL.” I have never been able to accept failure; it simply was never an option for me. I hate feeling like I let someone down but even worse than the feeling of letting others down was feeling like I let myself down. I think this theme is a fairly common one among us #TwentySomethings. We want to do so well at everything we try our hands at, but it’s just not always the right fit for us. The difference is all a matter of perspective. You don’t have to think of it as “failing” and get down on yourself with all that negative connotation. When something just doesn’t work the way you wanted it to, you have another option of what you take out of that experience. So in case you missed it, the secret is out: It’s totally okay to fail at something, as long as you learn from it.

This is what I like to call Failing Forward.

Share your #fail story with me on my Facebook page! But don’t forget to include what you learned, because nothing is ever wasted if you learn from it.

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2 thoughts on “Fail Forward

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