How To Deal With Mistakes And Failure
Do you beat yourself up over doing things wrong? Do you often feel like you're a failure and wonder if you're doing the right thing?
Awesome, join 99% of the population - (the other 1% are not human)
Let me tell you about my morning.
I spent all weekend putting together the webpage for the next intake of Belly Busters 8-Week online Bootcamp as well as creating a bunch of emails to send out to people who had been interested in my free stuff. I figured, hey if you like the free stuff ... WAIT until you see what I've got for you on this program!
Anyway, with every hour that went by I typed and typed.
And with every hour I had to face my own mind as it told me:
- This sucks
- People won't read this
- Did you say that properly? They won't understand
- Maybe you should just quit
But I completed the job anyway and this morning hit the 'go' button.
But it seemed like the universe hated me. Everyone got the same email THREE TIMES! (Geez, way to make people unsubscribe Stace). Not only that, I sent my normal weekly email up wrong and it went out today as well - with old news on it about Bodyfit Bootcamp which started 4 weeks ago.
So I sat at my desk ... crying (yes I actually cried), wondering what the point was. I gave myself a beating over how useless I was.
Just like we all do.
But then ... something cool happened. And then I did something else to pull me out of the shit and fix everything. And it's what I'm going to teach you today. But first ...
Why do we have these feelings of failure?
I like to call it the curse of two E's; Experience and Expectation.
Most of us enter into a situation with expectations. It might be a job interview or weight loss program. Or it could be an expectation about what it's like to be a new mum maybe. For me, today I had an expectation that my emails were going to go without a hitch. So, we have these expectations, but then we get reality.
Reality and expectations are not supposed to align. There is no universal law that says you can control reality when you've never seen what reality brings. Does that make sense? In other words, I can imagine or expect what it might be like to travel to outer space, but the reality will be much different.
So we paint this idea about what is 'supposed' to happen. And when it doesn't - it triggers a feeling that we have no control, and that typically leads us to feel like we're doing something wrong and failing.
which actually connects to ...
Experience Part One: If you don't have experience at something, you can't place an accurate expectation around the outcome. Let's take new mums for an example. You have no experience having YOUR own child. You don't know what their behaviour will be like and you sure as hell don't know what type of sleep patterns they'll have. You can read all the parenting books in the world, but it does not prepare you for the experience YOU are going to have. We might expect the ride to be perfect based on someone elses' experience.
I see this a lot - women believing they're not good mums. They feel like a failure because their kids are unruly and the house is a mess. And it's simply because your experience does not meet your expectation. We'll solve this in a minute.
Experience Part Two: We grow up having numerous experiences. Now, you may think I'm pretty smart (and that's true), but my experience is this - it takes me a LONG time to learn something. It also takes me a lot of energy and false starts before I get something right. This is how it always has been, even at high school. Sure I got good grades but the amount of meltdowns, tears and tutoring I had in order to get those was pretty intense.
I remember this time when I was a young kid (about 4 years old I think), I jumped on this canvas slide that was still being tied down. Nothing bad happened, but I got told off for not waiting.
So, these experiences make me feel like I'm not good enough because I see other people understanding things and doing things faster than I do. And when I make a mistake I automatically revert back to my belief that I'm slow or dumb. Weird huh.
You might have had an experience of not being able to lose weight or keep it off. Perhaps you did weight watchers and lost 40kg and then piled it back on (this is a typical story by the way). That experience might lead you to believe that you're a failure at weight loss.
Perhaps you were told you were big boned as a kid and that's how you'll always be. That experience might lead you to believe that no matter what you do "this is how it is".
Our experiences and our expectations shape our feelings of self-worth.
How to stop feeling like a failure.
First things first. Acknowledge that you feel like shit. Cry (like I do), rant and rave. But get it out of your system quickly and then jump into these strategies.
Sounds weird I know, but it's time to start looking at what you are thankful for. This is something that can really shift a negative vibe. Acknowledge what you ARE good at. It doesn't need to be world changing stuff, you might be grateful that you know how to ask for help, or that the sun is shining today. It can be anything. Be grateful for the things you have and the skills you have because there is someone out there beating themselves up that they're not good at the thing that you are. I completely suck balls at putting on makeup - are you taking that skill for granted? Be grateful for things.
2) BE OPEN TO LEARNING
You're not going to be good at everything, so suck it up princess and get learning. Today I had to contact the helpdesk where my email account is and it took me 2 hours to figure out the problem. It took that long because, well, I'm a bit of a slow learner. But I ended up figuring it out and now I know what to do next time. Simple, move on. If there is something you don't have experience in, get the experience. But just a note ... be prepared to fail at it while you learn. But keep going - because you'll get it.
3) REPLACE EXPECTATIONS FOR GOALS
You might have thought that motherhood was going to be all snuggles and baby powder. But right now, it might just be spaghetti and poop. If your goal is to have a well behaved kid, don't expect it - set a goal to achieve it. You will need to do some learning (see #2) and you'll need to start being grateful for life right now (#1). But guess what ... you'll get there. You can't fail if you're on the learning path can ya? Did you know that Thomas Edison failed 1000 times to make the lightbulb.
4) LET GO OF THE STORIES & REPLACE WITH A BETTER ONE
My story reads: "I am dumb and I'm a failure because I'm a slow learner". But it is just a story - it is not the truth. So I need to let that go right? The true story is - "It takes me a bit longer to get a handle on things, but once I've got it ... I've freaking GOT IT". So what story do you need to let go of? "I always fail at weight loss" ... "I'll always be fat" ... "I'll never get a boyfriend" ... "Nobody loves me" ... "I'm not a good mum because my house is a mess". They are just stories.
And anyway ... where is the evidence? I remember talking to a lady about how she thought she would always fail at weight loss. Turns out, she never actually had failed at weight loss at all, the true story was that she kept going back to her old ways - all she need to do was step #2 ... be open to learning why her old habits slipped back in.
5) STOP COMPARING
Mostly we compare our own experiences with others. I compare myself to the extroverts of the world - the video bloggers and the people with a million fans. But really, I'm a geek. I'd rather geek out behind a keyboard than try and insta-fame myself. Your journey is your journey and your life is your life. It's good to have role models, but don't try and be THEM. You can't be them ok - they have their own experiences, learning, and goals.
Someone may be stronger, fitter or slimmer than you. Cool - that doesn't mean you suck. My Personal Trainer was fit and buff and awesome, and he died of cancer aged 38. You don't know anyone else's story. Compare your yesterday with your today. Compare your attitude yesterday with your attitude today.
When we stop comparing, we can start to have realistic expectations and our OWN experiences.
I look at it this way, comparing myself to someone else only makes one person miserable - me.
Failure only happens when you quit. So, get out there and feel the fear of failure and do it anyway.
Even though I seriously fkd up my emails today I got two lovely replies: one lady telling me how much she enjoys my emails and how much they inspire her and another one who's going to join the last 4 weeks of bootcamp.
So I guess you could say, today, I'm pretty grateful that I was an idiot.
Oh yeah ... click here and check out Belly Busters 8-Week online Bootcamp