Just over a month ago, I challenged you to fail. (For those of you who are new to me, you can find the post here.)
I’m going to be honest with you. The thought of failure makes me uncomfortable.
I want to be successful. I want you to be successful too. I'm guessing you do too.
For me, failing isn’t easy.
This sounds entitled, but I’ve been successful a lot in my life.
I’m grateful. I’ve been fortunate. And I’ve worked damn hard.
But success has made me scared of failing.
(And duh, I’m a Success Coach. So what’s that got to do with failure?)
I realized a month ago that my fear of failure was killing my creativity. It was so strong that it was holding me back from the work that I love, and the mission I’m on.
I decided enough was enough.
My belief that we can have it all – success on our terms – is WAYYY more important than my fear.
So, I decided to shift my perspective about fear. In August, I committed – and I asked you to join me – to redefine failure.
Together (and with some inspiration from our friend Sara Blakely in her video here), we agreed to celebrate our failures for the next month.
We redefined failure together.
Here’s what I know to be true – and set out to prove:
Failure is not trying.
Failure is not putting yourself out there.
Failure is being too afraid to do something.
Failure is not starting the business you want to.
Failure is not trying out for the play you want to be in.
Failure is not applying for the job you want, even if you think it’s out of your reach.
Failure is not asking for the promotion or raise you believe you deserve.
Failure is not writing and sharing what you believe will help others.
So last month, I played to fail.
Because if I was failing, at least I was trying.
Truth be told, this is a bit awkward for me. But, in true celebration spirit, I can’t wait to tell you how I failed. Here’s just a few examples:
- I applied to sit on two separate committees for the development of a new Vancouver neighborhood. I was rejected from both.
- I tried to set up blogs to automate before I left for vacation and I didn’t. #vacationfail
- I sent out videos to you and one had a privacy setting so you couldn’t even watch it! Whoops.
- My very first Facebook ad was disapproved. Bah.
- When my Facebook ads were finally approved, they bombed. Guess there’s more than I thought to this whole marketing thing…
- My coach challenged me to get three new clients in a week. I only got one. #lovetheoneIgot
- My landing page was ineffective. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, my success rate was about half of the average.
- I was supposed to record three videos and I fully chicken-sh*tted out.
- I bought a lottery dream home ticket and really, truly, thought I could use “the Secret” to win. Spoiler Alert: We do not have a new dream home.
- I missed 3 “planned” workouts. Uhh… let’s just say my workout clothes got lost… uhh… in my bed… where I was searching for them, not sleeping… I swear… zzzz…zzzz.
Yup. That’s a whole lot of failure in just one month.
I’ve been reflecting on these failures. Working on extracting the lessons. Luckily, I have a coach (two actually!) so I got coaching on my failure.
I shared with my coach that focusing on failing was a bit drab to me and I was feeling more like a failure, than I felt like celebrating.
It was a bit depressing. I prefer to be positive, rah-rah-rah-ey and the like. I wanted a champagne-and-cake-kind-of-celebration, which is much more my style.
And my coach explained something extremely profound to me.
He said “Failing has made you.”
Suddenly it clicked.
I f-ing love that.
Failing has made me.
In just one month, I have changed. With every failure, I’ve evolved.
Failing has made me the tenacious woman I am today.
Failing has made me realize that being rejected hurts for about 20 minutes. Then I get over it.
Failing has made me excited to try because I never know what I just might get (like a dream home, or featured on the Huffington Post – which actually did happen!)
Failing has moved me forward in my business.
Failing has brought me new, inspiring clients to work with.
Failing has gotten me invited to speak at dream-team events.
And failing has taught me.
Failing has taught me about best practices with Facebook ads. With Youtube settings. With visualizations.
Failing has taught me about myself.
This Lisa is more resilient for trying.
This Lisa does make a difference in people’s lives, regardless of failure.
In fact, this Lisa makes a difference because of her failure.
My writing is being shared with people who need it.
People who believe in my mission are hiring me to speak to their groups to inspire them.
I am changing lives.
Even better than this just being about me and my journey? Having failure on my mind has opened me up to some beautiful conversations with others about failure.
Let’s be honest: no-one talks about failure voluntarily.
Most of us don’t share our missed targets, or rejected statuses on social media. Often, we only see the best, most beautifully curated version of someone.
But I’ve discovered, that all of us go through hard times (yes, duh). And even more shocking – sharing our own challenges opens the door for the person next to us to embrace challenges too.
It has been humbling and reassuring to be able to share my challenges with friends, clients and collaborators. In return, they have opened up to me and shared that the amazing business I see them running today had its share of struggles.
That the first few executive jobs they applied for, they didn’t get.
That sometimes they kissed a few frogs before they found their prince (who hasn’t?!).
There are always ups and downs.
Even the most successful people you see have had to overcome challenges.
You are not successful despite failure – you become successful through failure.
I agreed to try on this new definition and perspective of failure for a month. And I’m so glad I did.
I’m so ecstatic about the fact that I failed forward, that it’s not over for me! It’s a reminder I’m setting for myself each month to celebrate what I failed. (Literally, I’m setting a reminder in my calendar. You should too!).
Heck - maybe I'll start calling myself a "Failure Coach" instead of a "Success Coach"!
Then again. Maybe not.
If you also failed this month, I’d love to hear from you! Tell me what you failed at. Tell me what you learned.
Share with me (and the world) who failing has made you.
Because failing is not the same as failed or failure. It’s not permanent. It’s not tattooed to your forehead for all the world to see.
What is permanent is your growth.
And what the world sees is your courage.
Your brave, daring, audacious self that’s jumping back from challenges, and continuing to show the world who you really are.
Keep failing. Keep learning. Keep getting up.
Keep allowing failure to create the wonderful, driven, empowered human you are becoming each day.
The new and improved, failing,
PS. Ironically, as I made breakfast and finished writing this, I started listening to Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong (and I love it already!). I immediately realized it is ALL about failing! What?! Where was this book in August?!
I did a quick search and here’s what Google says about the book: “The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall.
This is a book about what it takes to get back up and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending.
Struggle can be our greatest call to courage and Rising Strong, our clearest path to deeper meaning, wisdom and hope.”
I’m on it. I’m reading Rising Strong this next month as I find ways to own my story and create a new beginning for myself. If you want to join me, check out her book Rising Strong or click on the book below.