Take a moment to consider the high-impact events in your life. Reflect on (or write down!) the high-impact events from your childhood, your teen years, your early adulthood. Capture these events from every 3-5 years of your life, or consider “chapters” from your life based on life changes. These life changes can include a relocation, job change, or any event that makes sense to you to define a season in your life.
As you reflected on or wrote down your high-impact events, how many of those experiences would you categorize as failures?
When you don’t perform to the level that you or others expected, and when you make decisions that aren’t aligned with your values, you might think of these experiences as failures.
You may struggle with regret, shame, guilt, and low self-esteem as a result of failure. Regret can be absolutely crippling. I know this from personal experience, and from observing how regret has impacted people close to me.
Is that definition helping you grow? Is it helping you to move in the direction of the impact that you want to make? Is it pushing you towards alignment, or pulling you away from it?
What if you took a different approach to “failure,” and instead used those experiences as learning opportunities?
What do you believe?
Here’s the thing: you hold certain beliefs about yourself, other people, and the world. These beliefs make up your world view, and they shape your thoughts, feelings, opinions, behaviors, habits, and actions.
These beliefs have created your current life – your relationships, your health, your job – literally everything about who you are and the results you have created and are creating.
These beliefs might sound something like, “life is unfair,” or “people can’t be trusted – eventually everyone will let you down,” or “I don’t belong,” or “I’m too much,” or “I can’t do anything right, why even try?”
Where did you pick up these beliefs? Where did they come from?!
They came from those high-impact events. They even came from the events that weren’t particularly high-impact – the everyday interactions and experiences that conditioned you.
But here’s the challenging thing about these beliefs that are shaping your life: they’re subconscious. You hold these beliefs without being aware of them.
You can’t accept them, work around them, or change them unless you know what they are – unless they move from your subconscious mind to your conscious mind.
Reframe Failure - the Ultimate Opportunity for Awareness, Learning, and Growth
The only way to learn about your subconscious, life-creating beliefs is to observe and reflect on your current conscious thoughts – and your actions.
…which is where failure comes in.
Think about what you say to yourself when you’re disappointed, discouraged, or frustrated.
What comes to mind when what you expected or hoped for doesn’t work out? What do you think of when you’ve “failed” in some way?
Failure provides you blinding and potentially life-changing insight into what you really believe about yourself, other people, and the world.
So let’s use that!
Here are three ways to reframe the way you think about failure:
1 – Use failures as an opportunity to learn more about your subconscious beliefs.
If you are experiencing “failure,” it provides you the perfect opportunity to examine what you believe, and how these beliefs are shaping your life.
For example, what if you’re doing a task that isn’t in your zones of excellence or genius, but you’re doing this task because subconsciously you believe that you should?
If you are chronically making mistakes at these tasks, and these mistakes aren’t leading to learning or improved performance, it may help you to become aware that you have this belief: that you “should” this or that.
This new awareness may help you to delegate or stop doing these tasks, and to be at peace with that decision.
2 – Use the scientific method to reframe failure.
Here’s another way to reframe failure: you’re just a life scientist conducting research. You’re just an investigator finding the who-done-it.
Remember the scientific method from middle school science class? Oh yeah – it’s still relevant.
What if you thought of your experiences as being experiments? Think back to when you were a child – you were willing to TRY things. As adults we’re so constrained by expectations that we’re unwilling to try new things. When you try something new, you’re simply conducting an experiment.
Life becomes a series of data-collecting experiments upon which you can create and establish new, more supportive beliefs that are actually true (and not made up or influenced by your upbringing, conditioning, or high-impact experiences.)
3 – Separate your self-esteem from your self-confidence.
Self-esteem is how you value yourself independent of what you have accomplished or how you have failed. It is internal and intrinsic.
Self-confidence is how you value yourself based on what you have accomplished or how you have failed. It is based on things that are external: your achievements, status, position or title, income level, or other external measure of so-called success.
When you think of failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, you separate it from your sense of your innate value.
Making mistakes is a natural, normal part of the learning process.
When you know that your value is innate, that you are loved and worthy of love (and you are!), then your sense of self-worth isn’t influenced by “failure.”
What You Do - and What You Think About What You Do
Your actions can provide you tremendous insight into what you believe.
This is especially true when you’re experiencing failure, disappointment, discouragement, or frustration.
Use these experiences as insight into:
- How the high-impact events in your life have shaped how you are behaving now
- What you believe about yourself, other people, and the world
- How you have been conditioned to believe these things
- Whether these beliefs are actually true or aligned for you
Here’s the fun part: as you are using disappointments as an opportunity for learning, as you become aware of what you really believe, you can take action.
You can consciously choose to believe something different about yourself and the world.
You can redirect your mind away from those previously held, unsupportive beliefs by focusing on the life you want to create, instead of staying stuck in the life your currently held beliefs have created.
Reframing failure is rad. To reframe failure is to create an aligned life!
Want to know where you are on the exhausted to energized spectrum? Take the Alignment Assessment!
Alignment is the path to energy, purpose, and a lit-up life!
You can transform exhaustion into energy – go from burned out to LIT UP – by creating an aligned life.
You can stop missing your life and start living aligned!
This assessment is for YOU if…
- You are ready to have the energy you need to live with purpose
- You are willing to engage in a process of alignment investigation
- You are committed to creating lasting, sustainable change
- You are committed to creating an aligned, fulfilling, purpose-driven life
Grab your magnifying glass and don your fedora – it’s time for some initial alignment investigation.
Take the Alignment Assessment now!
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