If you’re not making mistakes or failing, then you’re living in a lukewarm comfort zone. It is impossible to be successful, creative, productive, or contributing without error or failure.
I’ve never known a successful artist, athlete, chef, composer, scientist, engineer, designer, carpenter, salesperson, supervisor, or teacher that hasn’t tossed out numerous attempts until they got it “right”. And then . . . what a sense of accomplishment. It’s that “yes!” moment that feels SO good. Each of them will tell you that it’s well worth the process of “using mistakes as a platform to view your horizons”.
We love to talk about our success, because it feels good. It affirms our abilities, skills, and gifts. We feel proud and satisfied. This is what brings us pleasure and lights up our brains.
Failure and mistakes, however, create a different biochemistry in the brain that may be toxic – particularly when mixed with shame, self-punishment, abuse, and internal criticism. The loss(es) alone that we experience in failure or mistakes, activates grieving. This pain is normal and healthy. It is not failure or mistakes (or grieving the loss) that do us in – it’s our own internal critical voice, berating and screaming, “Shame on you – you’re so stupid!” that will stop us dead in our tracks.
Not productive, in the least.
Consider, just for this moment, NOT judging your mistakes and failures, rather . . .
Imagine celebrating the opportunity of having the freedom in uncertainty to make mistakes and to fail, without being immobilized or diminished in your sense of worth.
Imagine celebrating how you’re gleaning absolutely every possible option of improvement from a failure or a mistake and transforming that knowledge into success.
Imagine your mind ready and eager to use the failed experience or mistake to expand your options and create something even better than you imagined prior to the failure or mistake – a truly satisfying relationship, better career, more financial assets, or improved health, for example.
Imagine being able to look at errors for the purpose of problem solving, re-defining a goal, or refining a strategy; then anticipating the positive outcome of that shift – knowing that in uncertainty, you have the resilience to stay the course and accomplish what is most important to you.
Imagine speaking to your Self with honesty, sincerity, encouragement, patience, support, and humor, thus activating your creative internal resources to problem-solve and create a new, more effective and satisfying alternative.
Imagine coming alongside your Self as your greatest best friend, offering support and comfort; holding you lovingly accountable for your choices, and pacing with you to the finish line.
As you’re reading this, notice what happens inside your body – to your energy – as you begin to see your mistakes and failures as foundational to becoming more of the person you desire to be. Right now, as you feel an ever-so-slight relief of the burden (of shame and self-criticism), notice that you feel more hopeful, energized, believing in your Self, ready to examine your choices, to learn, and to create a new plan.
Your mind – consciously and unconsciously – functions more effectively, conserves more energy, and produces better results when you see failure and mistakes, not as pitfalls, but rather as positively essential and foundational to seeing and reaching for new horizons.