A year ago, I would have considered picking up my daughter from karate class just another parental obligation in the midst of another hectic week juggling work travel and family life.
Today, one year into the pandemic, I couldn't be more grateful to be picking my daughter up from a "in person" karate class. It is small sign of life beginning to feel human again.
When she got into the car, like most parents, my first question to her was "tell me about your failures today during class." Huh? (what kind of parent asks that?)
She paused a brief moment and confidently commented that her instructor noticed she was struggling with a certain move. "Awesome!" I replied. "What are yo going to do with that feedback?" I replied. "I'm going to work on this week and be ready for next week's practice, " she replied. For me, that was a proud Dad moment.
Most kids, heck, most adults, might look cross-eyed if asked a question about failures. I realize it's not conventional, but I have always believed conventional ideas bring conventional results. My wife and I want to raise our young girls to be strong, self-confident and have a strong sense of self-esteem and failing is not only part of life, but is essential in order to succeed. Get comfortable with failure.
"Smooth seas don't make for a strong sailor". - unknown.
We don't succeed despite our fears and our failures, we succeed precisely because of our fears and our failures. In fact, I will take it a step further and make a claim that there is no such thing as a failure. The only thing that exists is believing that you can fail (it's all mindset :)
Over the years, I have come to learn, believe and embrace the idea that life is always working for me. Life, in its purest form is about expansion, growth, abundance, goodness and its always in my corner if I allow it to be.
Fear of failure has prevented the execution of many brilliant ideas and plans yet the specter of failure is that it is an illusion. Think of all the brilliant ideas you have come up with while in the shower that you never followed through on because you felt they would be failures. When you take action on something and it doesn't work out the way you expected, something really cool is happening. Unfortunately, you call it failure but really it is a blessing.
Blessing #1- Learning
The first blessing is that your perceived failure is a learning opportunity. Your "failure" is simply a result of the fact that life knows exactly what you need to learn.
There is no failure.... only feedback. A opportunity to learn a new skill or develop new character. We learn through the experiences we have but far too often we call them failures.
Blessing #2- Redirection
We are in a constant redirection from one relationship to another, one job to another, one geography to another. Things always get better. In the moment, even when it may not feel that way at the time, when what we think what we are experience is a failure, it's simply a redirection.
Blessing #3- The Setup
We are always being setup for something greater. I want you to try on the idea I mentioned earlier, the idea that "life is always working for you." There is a "higher-self" that has a future-oriented vision for you and your life. It is always setting up the plan for you to accomplish your ultimate goals, ultimate vision, ultimate dreams. Often, the setup will redirect or teach us something that might be somewhat longer term, and thus in the moment, very difficult to understand how this is working for you in the moment. Often, we look at the setup as a breakdown, and neglect to see the opportunity.
As you look back on your life and think about the various cross-roads you encountered, do you find yourself better off the path you travelled? That bad break up, the job transition.
What did you learn from these experiences?
How were you redirected to something greater?
How has life set you up for success?
What is happening in your life today that you can recognize as life "having your back" even if it doesn't feel like at this very moment?
Find the blessing in every failure...
With happiness and success,
Shawn M. Carlin
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