Failure Is Your Friend
You have failed.
I have failed.
For most of us, failure is a tough thing. The arrows in this photo show success is a different direction than failure. That’s wrong. Those arrows should be pointing the same direction.
Fear of failure paralyzes people and discourages the desire to try. And why? Because failure is powerfully negative. We believe someone may think less of us. And we might think less of ourselves. A lot less.
But failure is good for us. With failure, there is learning, growth, success.
As a newbie writer, I struggled with the idea of putting myself out there, telling the world (at least my world) that I was pursuing a writing career. What if I failed? Crashed and burned and ended up a pile of burning nothingness? Everyone will know.
I fell back on a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that I’ve long loved: You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
And so I announced that I, Wendy Terrien, am now a writer. That was several years ago and I’m still standing. No scorch marks, no smoke. And I’m learning and growing and loving every day.
So what is the point of this? Some sort of “rah rah go get ‘em” blog post? Yes. Exactly.
Yay – you’ve failed! You’re learning and growing!
I’ve met many a writer who doesn’t join a critique group, who doesn’t query, who doesn’t share their work because they’re afraid of failure (though many won’t actually admit that). And some do join critique groups but reject the feedback they receive – because they are “that good?” Maybe.
Or maybe the constructive criticism is tied to their fear of admitting they’re not “that good” (not yet, anyway), which means they might not make it at this writing gig, which means they’re a failure.
But the real failure is in not learning, not risking, not opening up to being better.
Don’t take my word for it. People much smarter than me have addressed the benefits of failure. Success Magazine published Why Failure is Good for Success. And you can read Failure is Good on Psychology Today’s website. Want to help your kids deal with failure? Check out this article: Helping Kids Overcome Fear of Failure.
So how about you? Have you failed? Are you better for it?