Our Favorite F-Word: Failure and Why You Need to Fall Before You Fly
There's one F-word we all love to hate: Failure.
Yet whether it's in business, relationships, or mastering the perfect wing, failing is impossible to avoid.
While setting high standards for ourselves can push us to be our best, it's easy to forget the silver linings our "perfectly imperfect" failures provide.
More often than not, it's actually perfection that we should fear. If we're only trying things we think we'll perfect, it will hold us back from accomplishing anything significant at all.
The truth is, we learn more from our failures than from our wins, and the mistakes we make along the way make our eventual success sweeter. No matter how bad our fails feel in the moment, they teach us important lessons that enable us to grow.
Failure can be challenging and messy, whether it's a bad break-up or your first time contouring your nose, but it doesn't have to be. By changing our perspective to make failure our favorite F-word, we can escape its cage and find the courage to do things that scare us.
Easier said than done? Here are three tips to get you started:
- Separate your identity from your bad outcomes.
It's easy to get wrapped up in our failures, but we have to remember that we're worth more than our mistakes. Of course, failing is disappointing, but that doesn't mean our identity is forever bound to our bad outcomes. Instead of saying you are a failure, shift your perspective to attach the error to a specific project, task or venture - leaving you room to move on, evolve and grow.
- Failure is the best teacher we have.
It's impossible to succeed without making mistakes. Our failures, like the dozens of brow-shapes we pencil on before finding the perfect fit, are the stepping stones we use to reflect, assess and learn from what doesn't work. When we think about failure as an opportunity for growth rather than a death sentence, it doesn't hurt as much when it happens. Being open to experiencing failure makes us adapt and learn, gives us greater resilience and problem-solving skills, and exercises our courage to keep going.
- Practice good emotional hygiene.
Do you know what's worse than failing? Those moments, days, weeks and years after when we insist on making ourselves feel worse than the initial mistake did. Emotional hygiene is a lot like remembering to apply a smoothing primer before you put on your foundation. It just takes a second of our time and seems like it's easy to skip, but it keeps us looking and feeling better throughout the day.
After a slip-up, take the time to do the things that make you look and feel your best Go for a walk, call a friend, put on a bold lip, and check in on yourself. And don't forget to congratulate yourself for having what it takes to pull yourself up again.
So rather than letting your fear of failure dictate your life, create your own definition of success and be the best, non-perfect version of yourself that you can be.