Failure is the Best Medicine

“I’m going to sink into this couch, binge watch 18 episodes of The Leftovers, and glue myself to Instagram as the salty tears of failure flow down my cheeks while I try to block this whole year out of my head.”

Sound familiar? Ah – so an idea blew up in your face or you s**t the metaphorical bed.

Talk about punching yourself in the face repeatedly – jeez.

Say it with me, “Step 1: I will be kinder to myself and stop basing every damn thing I do on this abstract concept of #WINNING.”

YO! Failure – with all its sad panda connotations – is how we learn to be adaptable and resilient.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to stamp this sentiment into my clients’ heads like a letter seal. Just hold still, I promise this won’t hurt for the 6th time … (presses on forehead).

My dear friends, achievement and anything worth fighting for wasn’t created in a day, nor from only one attempt.

The most successful people I know have had more face-planting failures than you can imagine. I’m talking gut wrenching, heart falling out of your butt, “I can’t come back from this” failures. And yet, they rose above it like Gene Grey’s Phoenix from the X-Men movies, and are stronger now than ever.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a BIG fan of failure.

True success doesn’t come easy. It comes through getting knocked down like it’s going outta style and being forcing yourself to get back up and say, “Please sir, can I have some more?”

Our culture that’s constantly focused on “WINNING!” doesn’t allow for the most obvious and important elements of the change process: human error and the natural imperfection of humans.

I’m a reasonable, and most importantly, realistic person. Think about this. It’s a bit cray cray that being a #winner doesn’t allow for failure and doesn’t give much lag time to just crumble for a minute so you can lick your wounds.

Part of experiencing failure is owning your feelings, even the bad ones, but not letting them consume you and keep you from taking action.

Today’s ‘get er’ done’ mentality and our inability to be patient (I’m talking to you Millennials) has crafted our worldview to be: achieve now, with perfection, and on the first go. Only this can make you successful and a WINNER. Now go forth – and may the odds be ever in your favor.

I’ve never heard a bigger crock in my life. It’s ok – don’t blame yourself – it was probably your parents fault for telling you that you always deserved an immediate participation trophy.

Failure is an opportunity to take a step back from what’s in front of you, assess and learn, and make a carefully crafted 2nd attempt.

A wise dude once told me, “fail hard, fail better.” Those words have stuck with me like white on rice in how I navigate my own career and how I advise my clients when they get caught up in the, “coulda woulda shoulda” cycle. Say it with me everyone, “These three words are totally bananas and I don’t need to say them anymore.”

I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, the trials & tribulations I’ve experienced in my life would’ve been enough to knock The Juggernaut down.

I had two choices: turn into a pile of mush like Jabba the Hut and yell inaudible slurs, or, get up and try again.

I smile from ear to ear like a fat kid looking at cake every time I realize how hard I’ve fought to get to where I am now and how good that feels.

I’ve never looked back on those challenges and said, “It really sucks that happened, I didn’t learn anything.” If you find yourself doing that, we REALLY need to talk.

Own your failures. Own your experiences. They’re nothing to be ashamed of. Wear those times like a badge of honor. And remember – chicks dig scars.

So, reader, you have a choice. You’ve been knocked to your knees and your emotional tank is empty. Do you crumble, or, do you rise?

I’m thinking Option 2 – I dare you.