Admitting and embracing failure is a very on-trend topic at the moment, and rightly so, but our predominant culture is slow to catch up.
Even though we logically understand that failure is inevitable at times and that it often leads to the greatest growth, we still feel ashamed of our failures and instinctively try to hide them from others, who we feel will judge us and label us as failures for failing at anything.
With this in mind I went to a class at The School of Life in London recently called ‘How to fail’. It completely changed my perspective. As a coach, I’ve always had the mindset that anybody can achieve anything they want to, and this sits underneath so much of what I stand for. But what if this simply isn’t true?
The media guides so much of our culture and likes to present the world as a place where supposedly ‘normal’ people like Mark Zuckerberg etc. can achieve extraordinary things. The story goes that we can all do this, but statistically that’s incredibly unlikely. We still live in a time of great inequalities, where success is often judged solely on wealth and status, and crucially where competition is incredibly fierce.
So, here’s the nub: we need to expect less of ourselves. It may seem tantamount to treason to hear a coach say this, but everything of value comes at a cost. If you want extraordinary success in one area, you will need to embrace relative failure in another. Randi Zuckerberg (Mark’s sister) recently called out that entrepreneurs must consider work, family, sleep, fitness or friends, and pick three of them. Whilst that may be a harsh and defeatist way of viewing things, there is a truth within it.
There are limited hours in the day and however you cut it, you can’t give 100% in all of those areas, so you need to work out where you’re willing to compromise. Working on this principle, nobody will completely succeed and nobody will completely fail. At the risk of sounding like a politician, we’re all in this together.
And that is actually a huge relief. Every goal we add to the list can feel like another burden weighing us down – instead we need to look at our goals and decide which ones really matter and simply let some go. You will be amazed at how good that feels.
It’s not about giving up or giving in. It’s about weighing up what’s most important to us, and channeling our energies in the most positive way to lead a fulfilling and rewarding life.
If this strikes a chord and you want to clarify and develop your goals, contact me today.