Why ‘Failure’ can be the greatest gift
‘Successful people are not standing on a mountain of successes, they are standing on a mountain of their failures’, so says this week’s guest, Britney AuClair.
Our society celebrates the successful and lauds them publicly but what is the story behind those apparently easily won laurels worn so casually upon their heads? How did they get there? What were their struggles?
Too often we only see the end product and measure ourselves by notions of ‘instant’ success and it can paralyse us. How do we move, like Alice in Wonderland, ‘through the looking glass’ and find ourselves in a different reality, one that gives us the right mindset to learn from and accept our failures not as a false step, but as the starting point on an ever-evolving journey towards the greatest prize of all – success by our own standards and unparalleled personal growth
A little bit about Britney…
Britney loves her career as the owner of a digital marketing business serving the needs of local businesses by managing their social media, reputation and review management but she started out in a very different place.
Growing up, Britney had to deal with the reality of substance abuse around her, family tragedy and feeling isolated. Fast forward a few years and Britney had a baby and a partner struggling with his own demons.
She was trying to figure out how to move forward in a way that could offer her emotional and financial independence and joined an affiliate marketing programme but quickly realised that it wasn’t working for her. Having spent time and money, and understanding she was not on the right path led Britney to feeling held back and filled with self-doubt.
She knew she had to take action and push past the mindset barriers to be able to define life and success on her own terms.
No experience is ever wasted
The path to success is never linear and is littered along the way with innumerable failures. Despite having invested heavily in both her personal life and entrepreneurial projects Britney came to understand that each time she failed, she gained.
Her breakthrough came when she realised that failure is just a perception. She had acquired digital tools and know-how, pushed herself to take risks, found a group of cheerleaders to support her on her journey and become a different, stronger and more empowered person along the way. There is no right way or wrong way.
Failure forces people to become more creative, to think up ingenious solutions to problems, to reach out, to build emotional resilience, to take risks and to move forward through the pain. It isn’t how many times you fall down but how often you get back up! We must learn how to learn.
Learning how to roll with the punches
People may reject your ideas or your services for any number of reasons but this is not a reflection of you. It is very easy to internalise the negative. It takes guts to put yourself and your ideas out there and it can feel incredibly personal if our business ideas are not warmly received or do not translate into the results we hoped for.
Failure can be embarrassing, disappointing and downright painful but it is also necessary for growth, innovation, maturity and discernment. Learning demands failure, progress demands failure but those bumps and bruises can hurt.
Britney shares her four-step process for dealing with failure and overcoming it:
Allow yourself to feel the pain
It is normal to feel a little crestfallen if things don’t pan out how we hoped. Acknowledge these feelings but keep them in perspective. Think about the process that led to this outcome and identify where and how you might have done things differently and why you are feeling this way.
Who can I share this with?
Now is the time to find your cheerleaders and rant! Get it off your chest and unload. It can be incredibly cathartic to have a friend, family member or colleague who can listen without judgement and yet can hold you to account. Perhaps they have something to share about their own failures that may be useful? Learn from those that survived and remember that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Be willing to ask for help
This can be a very difficult thing to do especially for guys who have been taught not to show any signs of ‘weakness’ and for women who think they must be multi-tasking goddesses in perfect control of their lives at all times. Sometimes it can be as simple as delegating household chores or buying in services or it could be asking someone within the digital community to share a skill with you or teach you a hack. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
How can I move forward?
Take a step back and see if, perhaps this failure was designed to get your attention, to stop you going too far the wrong way.
Give yourself a little space from an initial setback, allow your emotions to cool, and let your rational side regain control. Then, you can look at your situation with new eyes and determine how to proceed. – Do I need to do something differently? Do I need to grab some advice? Do I need to acquire new skills? Do I need to change course? Is this course of action going to take me closer to where I want to be?
Britney continues to use these four steps to guide her in her digital business growth and her personal decision making and now sees ‘failure’ as a way to get excited about the opportunity to innovate and transform.
The gift of failure includes building the fortitude to never say die, the humility to learn, change course and get onto our truer path. Every success story is littered with failures that acted as signposts to a better way of living, doing and being.
It is inevitable that you will fall down the rabbit hole just like Alice in Wonderland and find yourself in a different than expected reality but give yourself the credit and recognition you deserve because just by trying, you have accomplished more than most people ever will!
The last word this week goes to one of the greatest athletes who ever lived, the basketball player, Michael Jordan.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Britney’s Recommended Reading List:
Girl Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis
Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
Mindset by Carol Dweck
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown