I begin with an admission. The first of a few, actually.
This admission is that there have been plenty of stomach rumblings and tumblings going on inside this body of mine lately. They haven’t felt good.
The reason for them, though, is good. Because they have to do with a new side hustle project that Hubbie and I recently launched…a product we created called MagicWrap.
I won’t get into MagicWrap here, except to say that I’ve been super excited about it…especially when we have a day with lots of orders…
…and there’s a link to info in the PS below. (Don’t go there yet, though, please. There’s more to do here.)
Back to the rumblings and tumblings.
Doing a new thing – whether a product or a relationship or a recipe – naturally brings some excitement. It also naturally brings fear.
For me, those fears have come hard and fast. Though those orders have been coming with the launch, my idea might still ultimately be rejected…I might lose credibility with my peers…the money we’ve invested might go down the drain.
I might fail.
Admission #2? These fears nearly got the best of me.
Recently, as Hubbie and I considered doing another batch of MagicWraps…as we debated the money and the risks…as we talked about the potential for failure, I considered ending the whole thing.
But, because I believe in this project so much, I continued to debate it. Which is when, as the project’s potential failure came up yet again, the following thought (and admission #3) dawned on me:
Yes, this project might fail.
The second I said it, the most interesting thing happened. The rumblings and tumblings eased up, and I felt myself relax.
Here’s the thing.
We’ve all gotten accustomed – if not addicted – to the phrase “failure is not an option”. It’s used in sports industries and company slogans and personal self-help books.
The problem with this phrase? Failure actually is an option.
It’s not an option we’d choose. It’s not an option we like. But it is an option. Things go wrong and the unexpected happens and sometimes, no matter what we do, failure happens.
Now, we’ve talked about failure before…when I called it the dumbest word on the planet.
I’ll say to you now (admission #4) that I was wrong when I said this. Yes, we give the word failure way too much power. Yes, we let it make us feel like garbage. Like we want to hide from the world.
But the real problem, it turns out, is not the word itself. It’s the fact that we think we can prevent failure from being an option at all costs if we just fight hard enough…which sets us up for all kinds of extra pressure going into a new thing, and then all kinds of heartache and self-loathing if it doesn’t work out.
And then what do we do? We take the words “it’s a failure” and turn them into “I’m a failure”. Because we think we should’ve been able to stop it. And sometimes we just can’t.
How about this? Failure can actually be a sign of a great success. It means that we tried something. It means that we put ourselves out there in some way. It means we were brave. And, also, it means that things didn’t work out as planned.
When we recognize that failure is an option – one that exists in pretty much any situation – we won’t get so freaked out by it. We know it’s possible. That it happens to everybody.
We still do everything we can to avoid it, but we know we might fail anyway. And, if we do, that doesn’t make us bad people
I will say now, as admission #5, that I was a “failure is not an option” person for a long time. And you know what it made me? Super intense. Stressed out. Anxious.
Yes, it may also have led me to push harder and perhaps even get more done. But the ride was no fun, and I was no better for it as a person. And I certainly didn’t take a moment to celebrate before moving on to the next stress-filled project.
So today I am going to not just admit – but embrace – that failure is an option. And I invite you to join me. Not because either of us want it, but because we deserve to know it.
We deserve to ease up on the pressure, heartache and self-loathing that believing otherwise causes us.
We deserve to enjoy the ride.
And, in what might just be a blatant plug (admission #6), we deserve to enjoy the wrapping.
PS: Okay, since I clearly believe MagicWrap is pretty awesome, here’s the promised link to more info. Take a looksie! www.sharesomemagic.com
8 thoughts on “A Few Things I Need to Admit to You”
I found this statement very empowering: “ Failure can actually be a sign of a great success. It means that we tried something. It means that we put ourselves out there in some way. It means we were brave.” Very well said!
Thanks very much, Kevin. I’m so pleased you liked that line – it’s one of my favorites as well!
Great advice and nice example. Being mindful and gaining insight into the thoughts and feelings we have assigned as ‘bad’ is so important. If we don’t raise this level of awareness, our brains will quickly link these ‘bad’ things to experiences and potential experiences and viola we will begin to avoid at all cost. This limits our whole experience of life. Switching fear and anxiety to being okay and just part of the process, reduces our need to avoid experiences to save us from these feelings. Instead we can accept the feelings and thoughts as just feelings and thoughts. They no longer guide our choices or motivate avoidance. Acceptance can help us stay on course to meet our commitments to ourselves.
Wonderful insights, Leanne! Thank you for your wise thoughts. It really is about mindfulness, and trying not to be so dualistic about what is “good” and “bad” in our life. If we don’t create so much “bad”, life is a lot less scary.
Thank you Deirdre for a wonderful explanation of success vs failure. Acceptance is the key word – no one is perfect and gets it all right . But DON’T BE ASHAMED OF IT!!!
Absolutely, Patty! It’s definitely that pesky perfectionism that can really mess us up. Thanks for the great comment!
I think this line hit home for me: “But the ride was no fun, and I was no better for it as a person.” We can live with intensity, stress, and anxiety, but why? Or health could be our most important commodity and you explain how to protect it. Thank you!! Off to embrace all options and experience life fully!
Thanks, Meg…I didn’t add this line until a pretty late draft, when I realized we needed to truly realize the toll that the “failure is not an option” mindset can have on us. Especially for those of us who have spent so much time convincing ourselves how great it is. Glad it resonated with you!