The trick is to embrace defeat, and do the hard work to get to the other side of it.
I get it – the idea of failing is gross.
But we should learn to run towards failure. Life is tough, ruthless and brutal at times. Most people won’t have your back, and some will even be actively gunning for you to drop the ball, especially if you’re succeeding.
Here’s the trick with failure, though.
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If you look at it through a constructive lens you will gain wisdom – learning more about yourself and how you can potentially succeed in the future.
Failing can do many awesome things:
- It can teach you who’s really there for you when the chips are down.
- It can teach resilience (you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for).
- It can help you to be way more flexible (if something doesn’t go to plan, it’s often just an opportunity to change your tactic or strategy).
- It can force you to be honest with yourself.
- It can give you an opportunity to get clear on your values.
- It can build your determination.
- It can reinforce the fact that you need to know your stuff.
- It can show you when it’s the right time to bow out (so long as you can get your ego out of the way, that is).
And finally (my favourite), it forces you to ask yourself: how bad do you want it?
Sure, at the time failure sucks balls. And it’s often all muddled up with fear, shame, pain and other confronting feelings. But (and as cheesy as this is going to sound) it also always comes with a huge gift – the silver lining, if you will.
Now that gift may be a lesson about self-worth, or it could be the call to place your attention on to something you’ve been ignoring. It may even be something that ignites something great inside you and leaves a huge impact on your life’s journey.
A little while back, I interviewed a guest on my podcast who had a brutal history – he was molested as a child and his father had died of a heroin overdose.
Now, as an adult, he had found that his calling and life’s purpose was to help men with their mental health and inspire them to thrive.
He told me, “Lola, I’ve turned my trauma into what makes me feel alive and passionate, and ultimately allows me to thrive.”
I don’t want to beat around the bush here. What I’m asking you to do isn’t easy, because here’s the catch: you’ve got to do the work. There’s no way around it; no cheat sheet. You must process your sh*t. Plain and simple.
We all process things differently. It may be through journalling, doing yoga, acupuncture, crystal healing, reiki, running, getting away, speaking to a friend or your mum, but know that once you do the work, you will find the gift or silver lining in that sh*tty, painful thing you went through, and that’s when the magic really kicks in.
That’s when you get clear; when you can use the trauma, heartbreak, pain or whatever it is you’ve been through in order to become who you’ve always wanted to become.
In your heart you’ll know exactly what and who that is, and when you do the work, that’s when anything is possible. That’s when you can make it.
My therapist and I call this “becoming bulletproof”. Failure is absolutely part of everyday life and something we all experience. What’s extraordinary is when we use that failure to do the work needed to make real, lasting changes that transform ourselves – and our lives – for the better.
This is an edited extract from Fearlessly Failing by Lola Berry (Affirm Press, $29.99), out November 1.
6 things to know about failing
- You will fail, and that’s OK (in fact, it’s good).
- Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Each failure is a chance to get out of your own way and change your perception.
- You should be grateful for your failures (run towards them).
- Learn to be open to the silver linings that come with each failure.
- Get help when you need it – never be afraid of asking for help.
How to deal with those really crappy days
You know those days when you feel like sh*t? Those days when you’re convinced that you’re a failure, you feel really flat and all you want to do is binge on chocolate and Netflix? They’re totally normal.
We all have crappy days. My trick for dealing with days like these is to embrace them and drop the guilt. Eat all the chocolate and watch all the Netflix, but also grab a notebook and write a quick list of what you want to achieve over the next month. That’s it.
And once you’re done, go back to your streaming and chocolate, but take a look at that list the next day and it may just help align and focus you a little.
Lola Berry is a TV presenter, writer and nutritionist.
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