As an executive I often tell my team that it is ok to fail. Not a catastrophic failure, mind you. Yet, a failure doesn’t make you a failure in life. It means you’ve had an opportunity to gain knowledge in a difficult situation. That is, if you allow yourself to do so. You have to be comfortable in the discomfort that comes from failing. Yet, not too comfortable as failure shouldn’t be repeated. It shouldn’t become something you can easily shrug off. Yet, failure can jumpstart your mind and heart engines.
Of course, despite my advice to others, I do find it hard to accept my failures. But, I have come to learn that there are times when things have to go wrong so that they can go right. Sometimes they have to go very wrong. A month or so ago, I experienced a day where I kept experiencing things going wrong. It was one thing after the other. People who had never let me down before did so that day. It seemed I couldn’t catch a break. And, that day was such that I needed a major win. A lot was riding on one thing going near perfectly. But I knew it wouldn’t if I got bogged down in all the wrongs.
In the middle of being upset at this person who let me down, I shook myself up. I gave myself a pep talk. I encouraged my mind to compartmentalize and that I did. I took that anger and used it to motivate myself to give it my all therafter. But, I didn’t allow myself to focus on the “why” behind my anger. I compartmentalized. It’s a nice jedi mind trick. I highly recommend honing such a skill. It worked for me that day and, as a result, the one thing that had to go perfectly did.
Today I got to share the details of that story to try to help someone through a rough patch. They had to pierce their veil of defensiveness and let themselves be vulnerable. It’s ok to fall. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to flail for a second. Just breathe and take a step back and turn failure into fuel.