How to not let failure stop you in your tracks

Failure is a really important one to get to grips with.  Getting things wrong is a given that you want to get used to.  You really aren’t going to please all of the people all of the time.  So how to get there?

When I was fourteen years old I was in our town on a Saturday afternoon, to meet up with the local ‘crew’ and hang out.  I had new shoes on and was wearing some fabulous teenage (80’s!) outfit.  I think I was there to try and impress a boy I liked, who I knew would be there.  You know how it goes.

I sauntered into the burger bar where everyone was waiting, swung through the door and tripped arse over elbow and smack onto the floor.  In front of the whole place.

When I remember this moment I want to rush over and give my fourteen year-old self a big hug, help her dust herself down, make it light and easy, take the horrible feelings of shame and crimson embarrassment away.  And then remind her that she’s still just as perfect and amazing, even more so because she’s fallen, because falling is just a thing that we do, it’s as normal and a part of life as watching the telly or eating a biscuit.  Think how you feel when you do those things - not such a big deal, right?

The only thing you can do when you fall is to get back up.  And the thing you want to become really good at is getting back up.  Become so well acquainted with how it feels to get back up that it becomes second nature.  How and when you get up will depend on how hard the fall was - sometimes it’s good to take a minute to lick your wounds.  But don't stay there too long, or it becomes self-pity, and that does you no favours.

Learning how to bounce back is one of the reasons why you want failure to happen.  How do you get to practice otherwise?  The bouncing back is the talent you want to cultivate.  When life is putting you on the floor, resilience is your capacity to make sure you don’t stay there.

We can all strive to be happy, but life is just life.  Stuff happens, it comes from nowhere, you can’t do anything about it, and you certainly can’t hide from it.  What you want to know is, when it happens, you’re able to deal with it.

Small failures in the every day are your opportunity to flex and grow that muscle of Resilience.  So welcome the disasters, enjoy the messiness, witness yourself as you gracefully untangle, and know that by being able to be here amongst it, you are giving yourself the gift of being able to deal with whatever life throws at you.