The Benefit of Failure in Shaping Your Ideal Life
To say it’s been a little tough this last six or so months is like saying “babies are kinda cute.” Babies HAVE to be cute (ask any parent of a colicky baby).
Undeniably, indisputably, undoubtedly, our work or life has been impacted in many not so great (and maybe some great) ways during this pandemic (just like life throws us curve balls when there’s no global health crisis). The benefit at least is we’re all in this together. We have a shared understanding in this worldwide situation.
Even if we are in this together, it still begs the question, how do we manage this protracted period of stress, frustration and strain? Here are four lessons I pulled from podcast episodes over the last year. If you are looking for insights to help your health and wellbeing, or that of someone you care about, read on and forward.
Failure Empowers You to Stop Settling
Resiliency Expert Mark Black could have looked at his life of being born with a “defective” heart (and having had to have two major heart transplants before the age of 20 as a result) as a bad lot in life. but he didn’t. In our conversation on his podcast Level Up your Life, we dove into how our greatest obstacles in life turned out to be the very thing that allows us to follow our path, level up our life, and set bigger goals than we ever would have otherwise. I really mean it when I shared with Mark: “Once you truly start to look around at your life, and all of the things that you have been putting up with, you actually realize that you’ve been settling.” Key points in our conversation:
- A crisis moment that leads to a massive life transformation.
- A wacky idea that ended up being a great one.
- What’s conditional, what’s optional, and what’s not
- What does levelling up look like to you?
- What is the Flipside of Failure?
Failure Enables You to Reflect on Why Things Aren’t Worse
Psychotherapist and Mental Health expert Roxanne Derhodge has seen a spike in her practice during COVID. Although we recorded this episode on Authentic Living with Roxanne pre-pandemic, the advice is still relevant. We talked about how failure and disappointment may make you initially think things like “why me”, “why bother”, “why this is happening” and the link, it also enables you to ask “why aren’t things worse?” If you are looking for perspective, lean into what’s irking and roadblocking you to consider if there is an even worse case scenario. Here are key points in our conversation:
- How my latest book almost failed. 2:30
- Sarah’s journey. 8:25
- The theme of failure. 17:30
- Dealing with failure as a leader. 24:45
- The failure resilient mindset. 29:45
- Why aren’t things worse? 40:50
- The “gift” of failure. 43:30
Failure Can Bond Us (Better than Success Ever Can)
On Beth Buelow’s podcast How Can I Say This, we did a dive deep about the misconception that failure is divisive versus unifying. Who among us hasn’t experienced deep frustration, heartbreak, humiliation? Yet we often keep it to ourselves. We don’t ask for help. We think people will judge us if we show weakness or need help. In the midst of this global health crisis, maybe we finally have a chance to let down the wall and connect through what’s tough and what’s working. If ever there has been a failure tolerance (in ourselves and others), it should be now. Listen to part one and part two for tips on how to have failure-resilient conversations. Here are key points in our conversation:
- What we can learn from authors like Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert & Anne Lamott
- The importance of knowing how failure resilient versus failure resistant you are right now (quiz here)
- That our failure mindset impacts the types of conversations we have
- How healthcare has made strides because it acknowledged that it’s the highest incident rate industry (and put legislation in place like the Canada’s Apology Act of 2009)
- That there is a movement of embracing and learning from failure (e.g., FailureCon, Museum of Failure, Failure Lab
- That any organization wanting to truly embrace a continuous improvement culture values the surfacing of issues so they can be fixed (this is the Toyota Lean way)
Failure Can Clarity What you Love (and Don’t Love) About Your Life
On the Charge in Business and Life podcast, Gary Wilbers and Sarah talk about their shared experience that if you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it as well as you can. Sometimes that means trying some things that don’t work and realizing, “hey, this isn’t for me.” We need to not judge ourselves when this happens. This realization allows you to clarify the value you uniquely offer. If you charge forward without a direction, it’s like running around in the dark.
- Sarah McVanel’s success habits include getting up early to make a cup of tea and reading before she starts work; setting a priorities list; creating vetting criteria in which to make decisions.
- Charging into the things you love (and how for Sarah that was specializing in recognition)
- Why Sarah sold everything and quit her career
- “I do everything” = I do nothing
- You’ll be further behind if you don’t make mistakes and try
- Failure is not necessarily problematic. It’s only problematic when you don’t get a lesson and don’t learn from it.
- Every person needs to feel valued, appreciated, and heard (even when they fail)
If you know someone who would benefit from listening to one of these podcasts, please forward this to them as say, “you are worth seeing the value I see in you.” We are #inthistogether as we find the #flipsideoffailing.
In case you missed the past couple of weeks and want more great ideas for flipping failure into something fantastic, check out the links below:
- What You Focus On Grows (So Choose Wisely)
- The Benefit of Failure in Your Career or Business
- FLIPing Failure into Resilience