Failure is a powerful word. It’s hard not to be triggered in some way when we hear it being mentioned.
What is it about the word failure that makes it so powerful?
Some of the reasons may include:
- Success is much better than failure.
- Failure implies we didn’t achieve something we wanted.
- Failure has a stigma or negative connotation to it.
- Failure implies we weren’t good enough in some way.
- Failure can be mentally, emotionally and physically damaging to us.
We’ve all experienced some type of failure in life. What if we can reframe failure to our advantage?
I’m reminded of a quote by Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
My belief is everything is a learning experience and we only fail when we quit on something that’s still meaningful or important to us.
As human beings, we love to feel comfortable. Whenever we experience something that’s uncomfortable, it can generate a range of unpleasant emotions.
To even suggest that being uncomfortable can be a good thing may bring up a lot of resistance. We feel better when we’re comfortable. We all have a natural state or a comfort zone, in which we know we can cope with the demands of our lives.
The truth is resistance is what makes us stronger. If we reflect back on our life experiences, we learned more from our struggles rather than from our successes.
We strengthen a physical muscle by putting it under stress, which will allow it to increase how much resistance it can handle. Similarly, our capacity to cope with more things in our lives is developed by putting ourselves in situations which will cause us to grow stronger.
Things to Be Aware of About Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
- It’s not something that will get easier quickly. It will take time therefore, consistent action is the key to maintaining progress.
- Fear and doubt will always be present. It’s up to us to acknowledge what we’re feeling and continue taking action to move past our fears or doubts.
- Having someone like a mentor or a coach can be helpful if we’re trying to raise our comfort zone.
The good news is that even though we may feel uncomfortable when doing something that’s challenging us, we will always learn valuable lessons.
Whenever we’re in a situation that is unpleasant due to someone being difficult or uncooperative, it can trigger a number of emotions.
These emotions can include anger, resentment, discomfort, fear, embarrassment or disappointment.
While it can be easy to let others affect our emotional state, if we have adequate tools to deal with difficult people or situations, we’ll have a much better chance of managing our emotions appropriately.
Since we interact with people all the time, knowing what to do or what to say whenever we’re dealing with someone difficult, will allow us to focus on what we need to do without getting caught up in the other person’s drama.
In my previous manufacturing career, the company I worked for had a sales manager who would get angry whenever there were delays with customer orders. It didn’t matter if there were valid reasons for delays such unexpected machinery breakdown, or if there were traffic delays on the road while delivering products to customers.
This sales manager had a reputation of being difficult to reason with and he wasn’t the most approachable person in the company.
On one occasion, there was a delay with delivery to a major customer and resulted in the customer giving him a call to find out why their delivery was delayed. The sales manager called the delivery manager at the time to find out what was going on.
How we operate daily is a reflection of the habits we have. The more good habits we have, the better our lives will be.
As we all desire to improve and have better lives, sometimes we struggle to follow through and stick to doing the things we know will be beneficial to us.
While having an intention to make a positive change, such as exercising a few times per week, drinking plenty of water daily or getting enough sleep each night, is a good starting point, sticking to the new habits is challenging.
One of the reasons why people abandon their New Year’s resolutions is because they are not able to lock in their new habits over the long term.
The Costs of Not Sticking to Our Habits
- It generates feelings of disappointment, regret and resignation.
- We lose trust in ourselves as we’re unable to keep our commitments.
- It lowers our self-confidence.
- We’re reluctant to try something that requires a long-term commitment.
- We don’t progress as quickly as we’d like to.
It’s one thing to identify a new or good habit we want to have, but it’s much more challenging to actually stick with it.
Failure can be our greatest teacher in life. It’s inevitable we’ll have our fair share of failure as we pursue bigger goals in life.
It’s often said that if we’ve never failed, it means we’ve never tried anything new or stepped outside of our comfort zone.
If what we do or don’t do is driven by our desire to avoid failing, we will struggle to get to higher levels of achievement.
Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Reasons Why We Fail
- Lack of persistence.
- Lack of knowledge.
- Lack of effective plans.
- Lack of self-belief.
- Giving up too soon.
- Not learning from past mistakes or failures.
- Not taking personal responsibility for our results.
- Not taking effective action.
- Not being clear about what we want or where we want to be.
- Not willing to ask for help when we face challenges.
If we want to achieve more success, we have to embrace failure and view it differently.
The quality of our lives comes is related to the quality of decisions we make. The better our decisions, the better results we will create in all areas of our lives.
How to make better decisions is not something we are taught at a young age. We often learn to make right decisions from our experiences and mistakes.
Why is it Difficult to Make Decisions?
There are many factors that affect our ability to make decisions, which include:
- Doubt and uncertainty.
- Fear of the consequences by imagining worse-case scenarios.
- Fear of being judged by others.
- Fear of looking foolish or stupid.
- Fear of the costs of making mistakes.
We have to be willing to accept that there will be times when we will make wrong decisions, but we should always learn from those decisions.
We all experience fear, which plays out in different ways for each person. For some of us, it plays out as excuses we make for why we aren’t achieving the results we want.
For others, it may play out as justification, being practical or being responsible. Fear can be useful because it helps keep us safe, but all too often, that level of safety becomes our comfort zone.
How Does Fear Affect You
When we give in to our fears, it can:
- Create self-doubt in our ability to do something we’ve never done before.
- Stop us from pursuing our dreams.
- Put additional strain on our closest relationships.
- Lower our self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Lead to regret later on in life.
If we allow fear to control us, it will dictate what we will or will not do. We have to learn to overcome the fears that are holding us back from creating the outcomes we want.
There is a major shift happening in the world where certain behaviours that may have tolerated in the past are now no longer acceptable.
A global awakening is occurring where different biases that may involve gender, race, religious or cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation or preference, or political views are not excuses for behaving in ways that may cause harm to another person or violate their rights.
This is a good time to look at why certain behaviours may be tolerated, without any judgment, so that we can have more awareness of what is acceptable and what’s not, and be in a better position to make choices that will support us in accomplishing what we want, without putting ourselves at risk.
When I graduated from university and started a career in manufacturing and logistics, I worked for a packaging company that consisted of a site manager and a few supervisors who were responsible for different departments. My initial role was in planning and purchasing so I didn’t have direct responsibility for workers on the shop floor.
Have you ever experienced being totally motivated one day and then struggling to even get out of bed the next day?
It reminds me of a Zig Ziglar quote on motivation: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”
We all go through phases in life where we find it hard to get ourselves to do things we know we should do like exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, staying hydrated daily, or getting enough sleep each night, to name a few.
So we need to ask ourselves why we lose our motivation. Some of the common reasons include:
- Doing the same things over and over.
- Not feeling joy in what we’re doing.
- Doubting whether what we’re doing will make a difference at all.
- Experiencing higher than normal levels of stress or anxiety.
- Comparing ourselves to others and generating feelings of not being good enough.
While these are valid reasons, there are three other reasons that are at the core of why we lose our motivation.
Has this ever happened to you? You get to the end of a year and wonder, “What happened this year?” or “What did I actually achieve this year?”
You had started the year with a lot of enthusiasm and hoped that this would be “the year” in which you had big breakthroughs and moved your life forward in a big way. However, things may not have worked out the way you wanted and now you feel like you’ve not made any significant progress over the past year.
If you’re like me, then you know that feeling we’ve not made any real progress in our lives can be demotivating and cause us to question whether we have what it takes to achieve what matters most to us.
The bad news is unless we’re aware of what may have caused us to fall short in achieving what we wanted, it’s very likely we’ll do the same things again and achieve similar type of results this year.
The good news is things can be different. By becoming aware of certain mistakes that prevented us from achieving what we wanted this past year, we can make the changes necessary and achieve big breakthroughs this year.
What is a Big Breakthrough?
A breakthrough means achieving an outcome that will make a significant improvement or bring forth a major benefit in our lives. As we’re all different and have different priorities, what we consider to be breakthroughs may be different.
For example, for one person, earning an additional $50,000 in one year may be a significant breakthrough, whereas for another person, that figure may not be a big deal at all.
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