Why I’m Celebrating Recent Failures

We’re a little over three weeks into the year… and by now many “New Year’s Resolutions” have been abandoned… great plans have been filed right in that round bin labeled “trash”…

But does that mean failure?

Do you think of success and failure as two opposite things?  Two different roads to be traveled like that image on the left?

I used to.

A failure means I’m a failure.  I went the wrong way.  I did the wrong thing.  I made a poor decision.  I’ve got to back waaaaay up and find that path to success.

But I don’t think that way anymore.  Or, I try not to.

Failure happens on the pathway to success.  It’s the same road.  And it’s in the pushing forward through the failures (not giving in, giving up, and going backwards) that we achieve success.

I’ve been working to re-frame failure in my own mind as discovery.  It’s only failure when I give up without having learned something about myself or the process.

Send out an email to your list that gets a dismal open rate?  You didn’t fail.  You just discovered what time/day or subject lines may not work well for your audience.  Try again.  “Fail” better.

Write a blog post that gets zero traction?  It’s not a failure.  It’s an opportunity to learn from it and try something different next time.  I go from a post that gets 50 comments one day to one that gets 0 the next.  Whoops.  It’s feedback.  I’ll work to do better.

Have you tried to write every day as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and are discovering it didn’t work out or that you’re a few posts behind?  What’s the lesson?  Could be that you need to discover what will motivate you to write more, or find the tools to make it easier, so you can push through and make it happen and celebrate a huge success.  Or it could be that writing daily isn’t the best plan for you because something else works better or is a bigger priority for you right now.  Either of those discoveries (or the thousand other lessons you could be learning from the process) are valuable!

Knowing yourself and being brutally honest with yourself takes courage–and it takes “discovery” that can come through challenges and failures.

My blog, my business, my life — they’re all works in progress.  Others might look and see failure (or success).  But really it’s just a process of discovery.  Of finding what works and what doesn’t and doing a little better every day.

Last week I learned I could survive something I didn’t think I could.  I wasn’t perfect.  I could have kicked myself for one particular moment.  I’d love to go back and do it again and do better.  A year ago, I would have cried my eyes out afterwards for the failure to be perfect… but I am choosing to celebrate the good parts and learn from the mistakes.  Next time I’ll do better and now I know where I need to improve.  That’s awesome.

Celebrate every success, big or little.  And celebrate the lessons you learn from the less than successful moments, too.

Jump off more cliffs.  Say yes more often.  Know that sometimes you’ll crash and have to get back up and try again.  But you just might soar.  Isn’t it worth the risk?

So me?  I’m celebrating that in recent successes and failures I’m learning more about myself, discovering what works, and that I can step beyond my comfort zone and even when I fail, it’s okay, because I’ve found a soft place to fall where I can be gentle with myself and I can always try again.  And again.

Let’s celebrate together.  What have you learned lately from a success or failure in your blog, business, or life?

Image Credit: borysshevchuk/StockFresh