expectations can feed failure, so how do we cope?
Gurus and life coach moguls talk about failure being not only a inevitable part of being entrepreneur, but something that ought be embraced. But who talks about the moments when you find yourself in the midst of failure and it’s not nearly as romantic as was ascribed. The disillusionment can either lead to self-loathing or distrust, perhaps even blame of others in some situations.
For me, it was struggling with blaming myself.
I thought I handled failure effortlessly as any one person could in my position and experience. I was a fearless tiger that bounded from one point to another and eagerly diving into every opportunity. But somewhere during the leaping, I found myself landing in a mud puddle and not the azure lagoon I had envisioned.
I had recently set myself an ambitious goal for an event and did everything I felt necessary to achieve this. I took out loans to help cover product expenses (which caused some mild anxiety and nail biting. Okay, I’ll be honest. It resulted in a melt down that was soothed with an ice cream, a friend and a long walk). I eventually settled in and began my mental ritual of preparation for the event.
I was confident that my gamble would pay off and I could reach what I had convinced myself as a reasonable goal. I knew it was going to be a difficult event and on the most part I had to dig very deep to give the performance required by myself and of the event. At the end, I made money, but I failed to even come within spitting distance of my goal.
I felt uneasy, exhausted and kinda ill. While I felt others were basking in the afterglow of the event, I was left trying to be zen about what I did accomplish, and yet be on damage control.
Everyone will experience failure differently and the intensity of those feelings will depend on the risk and the consequences of the failure. Allowing myself to sit with those feelings helped me understand some critical concepts and in that process I found resilience.
Check Your Goals
I had set myself up for failure from the start and that was the main mistake. My goal was based on someone else’s situation that was not my own. Comparisons like, “If X can earn that much, why can’t I?” can the death or a foundation of a dream. But it is a precarious road when not followed with a certain amount of awareness as you can easily find yourself at a dead end. I tried so hard to stay off that road of comparison, but ended up there anyways. I had neglected the reality of my own journey that may or may not have the same benefits of X. And when I didn’t get that immediate satisfaction, I was disappointed.
If X can earn that much, then I could stand do well! Do not expect to earn what X does. If you do, amazing! If not, only compare to your performance.
Asking The Right Questions
It’s important to ask questions. It is imperative to ask the right questions. And when I mean right, I am meaning in the sense what is authentic to you personally. This goes back to our own journey and staying true to that. And how do we know what that is when I we don’t ask the pertinent questions?
Instead of asking where I am, I need to ask where I want to go. Why do I want to earn what X is earning? Is earning what X earns the answer to success? If no, then what is my next plan of action to achieve my success. If I am wanting to achieve my success, what does that mean? So on and so forth.
Be Kind and Listen
Feel the Failure
From personal experience, it was far easier to be stoic and disconnect from everyone and the world. It was easier to disconnect from the pain.
Some risks have different affects. I can accept the failure of not being juried into an event because I know that I have a 50/50 chance and if I don’t make it in, its a bummer, but I then move on. But what if the goal was so lofty and you felt like you could achieve it and you fall flat on your face with the hurdle yards away? Perhaps it is best to honor yourself and that experience by allowing yourself the time to process those feelings instead of brushing them aside or placing blame either on ourselves or others.
By putting on “a brave face” despite what we may feel, we are missing out on an opportunity to connect with those around us. Within a proper place and circumstances, share the entirety of the experience.
Nurture emotional experience to enable future connection with loved ones and/or our professional audience. There is strength in both being critical and accentuating the positive. You don’t have to share ALL of your experiences in immediate succession, but feel free to share when you feel you want to make that connection or offer encouragement.
Be Kind and Love
Vulnerability cultivates its power from shared experience. We are all human and behooves us to embrace all parts of our mortality. We make mistakes and we all fall. In our moments in downfall, that is when we can find strength in each other through emotional connection. Such emotional connections can withstand time and trial, and is vital to living a richer and fuller life.
I challenge you, dear reader, the next time when you find yourself facing a moment of failure to take into accounting how you feel, why you feel and what action you are going to take. And also, avoid being self destructive and be kind to yourself. Even tigers have bad days.