Updated: 6 days ago
Have you ever set out to accomplish a goal? How did it turn out? Did you get there? Did you accomplish everything you tried to? Did you achieve your personal best and that was enough? Did you overcome great obstacles to become the best version of yourself for a moment in time? Did you reach the mountain top of success? Did you fail? Did you have missteps and roadblocks? Did you have moments where you wanted to give up, pushed through and failed anyway? Did you lose financially? Did you break a relationship? Did you break trust within your circle? Did you try your best and still mess it all up?
Most of us have experienced all of these things. We have tried our hand at the pursuit of goals and it not turn out the way we wished. We were there, and we showed up! We did our best and, despite our best efforts, we were left holding the bag of defeat and failure. We were left to question why we would try in the first place. We were left with the feeling of "somethings wrong with me". Even if we know there were so many variables that attributed to the failure, we personalize it. Since we are inherently selfish as humans, we make it about us, no matter how much it is not or how much it is. It is where we lay the shame.
That shame tends to stick. Shame is sticky: it's sticky and it's tricky. It comes in the form of self-doubt. It comes in the form of negative thought patterns that rob us of joy and bleed us of possibility. It comes with all of our memories, in full color, OLED display of how and why we are no good, worthless people. It also comes in the form of our "No's" and our "I Can't".
That's the trick - The shame sticks our failure directly to our future and calls it survival. The trouble is, it also limits us.
Our brains are wired toward negativity. In fact, 80% of our thoughts on average are negative and 95% of them are repeating. Actually thing. Look it up.
So 80% of the time, we are thinking negative thoughts. This is where that shame lives. It's sticky because our brains choose it for "our best interest". The beautiful thing is though, we can choose different. We can rewrite our thought patterns and choose to do what Jon Acuff calls "the flip".
Negative Thought about an action comes to your brain. Acknowledge it, and say BUT! Then, enter a new possibility directly after that BUT.
Now here is the tough part....Living out the BUT.
No this is not a bumper sticker you wish you didn't read at a stop light. It is real. It is true. Living Out The BUT gives you authority over the sticky shame, so it may INFORM us but not DEPRIVE us from the possibilities of a beautiful life full of failures and triumphs.
We work so hard as people to not fail. I would argue that FAILURE IS THE BEST OPTION. Why?
Because everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear. All of your dreams. All of your hopes. All of your wins. All of your proud moments. They all come with the inherent risk of failure! Guess what? You WILL FAIL. YOU HAVE FAILED. A LOT!
Now you are informed. The failure you experienced informs your future behavior. It shows us the holes in our bucket and it helps ask the right questions to FIX those holes. It is literally problem + solution = new problem + solution = new problem.
Fear is the product of something you are uncomfortable with and is often an indicator of a life-in-motion or sedation.
Here at FMG, we have a ton of adults who are learning to play an instrument for the first time. They are excited to learn, and they are investing their time and money into a skill that they have often put off their entire lives. We have hundreds of kindergarten-college students who have entered our community, and who place a high value on perfection - because it is all they have ever known. Both groups struggle with this for different reasons.
They only choose to do what they are great at from jump or near jump for fear of the un-comfortability that is failure. They lack the skill to flip the narrative and choose new behavior. They're so attached to the idea that their mistakes, whether big or small, are so hideous, so unattractive, so unacceptable that they are paralyzed to even try. Why? Because failure has been demonized instead of celebrated and directed.
Failure is the best option because:
failure is the only producer of resilience.
failure and recognition of it is the only path of personal acceptance.
failure is a propeller of progress.
failure is a permanent education.
failure births a reputation of grit.
failure gives the option of more.
failure gives the lens of possibility.
failure realizes the idea of best.
failure gives motivation of pursuit.
failure is the great equalizer of people.
failure is a giver of wisdom.
Failure creates far more than it takes. Our children, you, and myself - we all have the choice of what to do with our many failures. Do we learn? Do we flip? Do we let them define us or use them to define us. There is such a difference between being a failure and failing; yet, both are a choice.
In the picture above, you see two young ladies. The one on the left is Karsyn. She has been a student for nearly 3 years. The one on the right is Emmy, a new student with barely a few weeks under her belt. Karsyn was given the opportunity to teach her for her lesson. What happened?
A 13 year old girl, who does not like to lead, chose to overcome her own insecurities of what she thought she didn't know, and deliver. She chose the belief that if she failed, she could try again. Knowing full well that she has been taught for the last 3 years that there are no wrong notes. That there are only possibilities. That SLOW + UGLY = AWESOME. That as long as she Listened, Learned, and Loved the human in front of her, the rest would follow. Was Karsyn qualified? For sure. Was she ready? No. Did she do it anyway? Yes. Why?
Because she knows - deep down - that the opportunity for failure exists only with things worth doing.
One of my favorite moments of teaching Karsyn came this past year, when she dropped this truth bomb on me when I asked if she was afraid or nervous for a big performance....
"Being nervous just shows you care." Karsyn W.
I know she was nervous to teach. I saw it. I have seen that face a million times. But I looked at her, just like I have many times before and asked her to do something I knew she could - full-well knowing she could fail, but not to my surprise, Emmy asked to see her again.
Failure is the best option.
Living in it, identifying as it, being tricked into shame by it.... is not.
You. Have. A. Choice.
Zack Schuyler (biggest failure ever)
VP of Student Experience