The Quest for Confidence: Embracing Failure
This is something I need you to understand. There is not one single human being that has not failed at doing things the first time, the first ten times, or the first fifteen hundred times they tried it. Not one. Think about babies fresh out of the womb. They often can’t even find the nipple to nurse from straight away. They have to learn how to do it.
Failure Is the Best Teacher
Failure is patient. Failure doesn’t care if you have to repeat the lesson two times or two thousand times. She’ll present that same lesson over and over again, and she’ll keep doing it until you get it right. She will not accept half of an effort. She will insist that you do it until you get it right.
Why We Hate Failure
Babies don’t hate failure. They accept it as part of the price of admission for learning to do what everyone else knows how to do. They don’t expect themselves to succeed the first time or the first 20 times. They accept themselves the way they are. Yes, they get frustrated just like we all do, but they keep at it because they know that if everyone around them can do it, there’s absolutely no reason they can’t do it, too.
What Failure Tells You
Failure tells you one thing and one thing only: You are learning. If you’ve ever been around an infant that is learning to walk, you know just how many times they fail at standing up before they finally get that mastered. Then, there are all the times they fail when trying to take that first step forward. Then once they do, it’s a good long series of failures before they’ve got walking mastered.
Rewriting the Story of Failure
You have been telling yourself a lot of negative things about Failure. You have a whole story about why Failure is hateful and Failure is the last thing you want to see in your life. You can’t get over your fear of Failure while that story is still playing in your head. You need to pull out every major instance where you can remember failing at something you tried to do and REWRITE that story with a positive ending. With an ending where you finally manage to defeat the dragon, learn the lesson, and accomplish something great with your life.
Look for the Lessons
Go revisit those moments where Failure appeared in your life and look for the lessons she was trying to teach you. What did you learn from that which helped you to accomplish greater things today than you were able to back then? What did that encounter with Failure change about your life that makes you a better person, a better parent, a better writer, or whatever you are today?
Develop Gratitude for Failure
Thank Failure for being there with you through all these years even though you didn’t appreciate her and kept trying to shove her out of your life because you didn’t understand just what it was she was trying to do for you. Write a letter of Gratitude to Failure and promise her that the next time she comes along, you won’t wait years to learn from her and you’ll accept eagerly the lessons she has to offer you.
P.S. Stop Labelling Yourself a Failure
Having failed to do what you wanted to do does not make you a failure. Refusing to try again, refusing to get back up again, refusing to push yourself – that’s what makes you a failure. So get up, dust yourself off, and go back to trying to accomplish incredible feats and do the things that others may dream of doing but never manage to do.
Join 40 Day Writers Facebook Group
If you are ready to start risking more failure and put your work out there so you can start developing the confidence you need to succeed, I encourage you to join the totally free 40 Day Writers Facebook Group. It’s a friendly, confidential place to get the feedback and support you need to start developing your confidence just by showing up, sharing what you have, and engaging with the other writers in the forum. I hope to see you there.