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Failure: Learn to embrace the suck

Updated: Feb 6

Stop and think for a minute about a time that you failed at something. How did it feel? Why did you feel that way?

Now think about a baby learning how to walk. They fail dozens of times before getting steady on their feet, but they don’t think anything of it, and they keep getting back up and trying again. Why?

So here is what I propose: You aren’t afraid of failure. You don’t hate failure. What you are afraid of and what you hate is the judgement that comes along with failure. It’s how you are perceived by others that bothers you. It is the fear that someone might laugh at you and it is the fear of someone asking you how it went and you have to admit your failure to another person. THAT is what sucks.

Let’s call this step 1 to embracing the suck. Begin to TRULY care less about what other people think. We all say we don’t care about what someone else thinks but that’s a lie. We all care. When we TRULY learn to care less and less is when we can finally start to embrace failure, fail more, and in turn, be more successful. Let’s be honest, most likely anyone who might judge your failure is really just jealous that you were brave enough to even try.

Why do we need to embrace the suck? Let’s chat.

1. When we embrace our failures, what we are doing is embracing OURSELVES. Embracing our situation, our limitations, and our possibilities. We are embracing our reality as it stands right now, and it gives us the immeasurably valuable opportunity to know exactly where we are so that we can formulate a plan to get to where we are going.

I will use a gym example to demonstrate this. I’m a powerlifter. I lift really heavy stuff all the time. My programming is designed using a percentage of my 1 rep max; the maximum amount of weight I can lift doing a given exercise only 1 time. The only way to really know what my 1 rep max is, is by attempting a weight that is BEYOND the max. In other words, in order to know how high I can truly go, I eventually HAVE to fail. If I am designing my training based off of a 1 rep max that is too low, all of my percentages will be too low as well and I will never make progress. The failure is what allows the plan to work. It is the blueprint for the plan to push farther, beyond the current limitation, and into things I never dreamed possible.

2. Your failures, and how you respond to them, are what inspire others. When you fail, take a minute to soak it in. Feel the pain, feel the frustration, and the disappointment. Then, take some time to look at what you can learn from it. Why did you fail? What went wrong? More importantly, what went RIGHT? How can you adjust? Formulate a new plan based on what you just learned and put it into action. This is where we embrace the suck. We are never inspired by the people who fail and then keep dwelling on it, never changing, making excuses. Those who inspire are those who look at the failure differently and let it transform them and in turn, transform their plan, and SUCCEED.

Look at Oprah. She was fired from her first TV job in Baltimore. She could have quit. She could have decided the failure was too much. Or she could go in to have the most successful talk show in history, her own TV channel, and give away hundreds of cars!

3. Finally, I want to leave you with this: Failure isn’t a personal thing. We all fail. The learning is personal. What will YOU take away from each individual failure to create that new plan of action? How many times will you be willing to fail so that you can succeed? How will you handle the failure so that you can go on to inspire those around you with your tenacity and positive outlook? THAT is what is personal; not failing.

So now go out to the world, fail and fail again! Embrace the suck of failing so that you can have success beyond anything you ever dreamed possible!

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