So this week I got another disgruntled email from a parent letting me know how their child could not have possibly failed their assessment and through their words took away the responsibility for their child’s learning from themselves and placed it solely on me. (For those who didn’t know, I teach high schoolers when I’m not coaching).
Well, in my frustration I initially was going to write a rant about “To the parent whose child failed their assignment.” Then I calmed my farm down and had a look at why the parent was probably feeling that way and realised that this is probably something we as adults struggle with.
So today I’m writing to you about “Why failure isn’t a bad thing?”
FAILURE DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE A FAILURE
Hands up if you’ve ever failed something? It could be a subject, an assignment, a parenting fail or a business ‘flop.’
It’s so easy to judge what happened and make it about you personally.
Reality is failure is more about an area of weakness. It just means:
What am I struggling with? What didn’t I understand? Where could I improve? Who can I ask for help? Is this something I really want to pursue? Am I working with my strengths or against them? Where did the lines of communication go down?
Obviously, not all questions are going to be applicable to your situation but it’s not about you. It’s about a particular area that is not your strength.
What do you do then? Ask the questions, get help and either choose to work through it or to let go of it.
FAILURE AND OUR RESPONSE TO IT IS OFTEN A MIRROR TO SOMETHING WITHIN OUR OWN LIVES
It’s easy to jump in and be critical when you feel wounded. Brene Brown in her book ‘I thought it was just me (But it isn’t): “Making the journey from what will people thing?” to “I am enough” said that :
Using anger and blame as protection from shame makes sense when you think about shame as “being exposed” For many of us, shame is about exposure or the fear of exposure. This is why we work so hard to hide the flawed parts of ourselves that leave us open to being ridiculed or judged. Blame is often used to discharge overwhelming feelings of fear and shame: “This is painful-who can I blame? I’ll blame you! You are bad and this is your fault.” Inherent in holding ourselves or others accountable for our behaviour is expecting change or resolution. Like shame, blame shuts us down and is not an effective tool for change.
Ask yourself the following:
What type of personality/behaviour/attitude have you been judging negatively?
How does this represent something present within you?
How do you feel now about those you were judging?
FAILURE DOES NOT GIVE US PERMISSION TO BE RUDE TO OTHERS
Have you ever felt the need to attack the person that has ‘failed ‘ you? Do you start going into defensive mode? Do you send that nasty email to someone before checking the full details.
Take responsibility for your actions. Ask respectfully and find out the areas where you need to improve or get clarity on any miscommunication.
How have you felt when someone accused or blamed you for something?
I’m going to guess it feels not so nice.
Sit with your feelings first. You are allowed to be angry and frustrated, especially if you have worked hard on something. Find out why it is making you angry. What wounds is it triggering for you? The “I’m not seen” or “I’m not smart” mentality. Address it and start making steps where you don’t seek your validation in being seen but purely in who you are as a person.
I know, I know. Harder than it seems. (If you would love help get on a call with me: email@example.com).
FAILURE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW
It took me 10 years to finish my teaching degree. Having said that I had gone through some significant trauma and this led to me not being able to concentrate in class at times. I also had moments of anxiety where I would go into an exam and go completely blank.
I also remember one assessment I had worked hard on and I failed. I promptly made a meeting to speak with the lecturer. I explained how I understood the task and the lecturer explained how he saw the task. After discussing it, my lecturer passed me. Sometimes it just takes being a life long learner and asking for help and clarity.
This helped to grow me as a person.
I graduated with a G.P.A of 6.
I didn’t give up when life threw lemons at me and even after I chucked a temper tantrum I went and spoke to someone who could actually help.
Do you feel like a failure? Do you feel like you’re constantly running up against obstacles? You get to the next part of the mountain and you just can’t get your footing. You keep slipping and it feels a heck of a long way to the top. To victory. To that sweet feeling when you look out over the horizon and take in the majestic views and take a breath of that glorious mountain air.
Just keep taking one step at a time. Put your harness on (your support network) and keep climbing until you reach the top of that mountain.
And if that mountain view isn’t for you. That’s ok too. You had a go. Climb back down and find another mountain that is of your liking and make the ascent again.
Want help with getting to the top of the mountain? Get on a call with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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