Happy Summer Solstice!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new blog – almost a year. To be honest, I’m feeling really anxious as I’m writing this. And not because I’m nervous about it being judged, which is what causes my usual jitters.
I’m nervous because I’m feeling disappointed and frustrated with myself for waiting so long. It feels like I have been failing.
Failing myself, my family, my clients, my business. Basically, everything and everyone that is important to me.
Just the simple act of not posting a blog or sending out a newsletter when that’s what “every successful business owner” does was making me feel like I wasn’t good enough to be successful.
Of course, it’s not true that this is what everyone does; it’s just a story I was telling myself to keep feeling bad so I could keep hiding and not put myself out there where I might actually take an action that would fail (the brain is really sneaky when it comes to wanting us to stay safe!)
Yet, that thought was eating away at my confidence.
But I hadn’t verbalized it. Not to myself or others. Instead, I let it stay buried deep. And, I’m a mindset coach so this is definitely NOT what I preach to my clients. #impostersyndrome
But, two weeks ago, I was in Oregon for a live retreat with the Make It Work Online business mentoring program that I coach in. And the thought bubbled up, demanding to be heard.
Over the course of the 3 days, I led two different workshops and sat in on many others with 60+ compassionate, smart, funny, amazing women. I listened as they vulnerably expressed their own doubts and fears.
And I felt the thought pop up to the surface:
“It’s not ok to fail.”
As a trained scientist, I was programmed with the mantra, “failure is always an option”. So why the fork was this thought lingering about?
I really didn’t know. I just knew that the thought wasn’t going away and Jenny Shih, the creator of MIWO, imports on getting what we come for.
I hadn’t really been sure what I had come for other than the camaraderie and getting a few days away from reality. But this thought wouldn’t shut up and, instinctually, I knew I had to say it out loud. So, I shared it out loud in our coaches-only session.
And, the response was more than I could have hoped for!
First, some of the other coaches nodded in understanding. They got it! They got me!
Second, they gave me full permission to fail. Like, full on, intervention-style permission.
These incredible coaches – that I’m honored to call friends as well as colleagues – took turns telling me that it was ok to fail:
That I could fail and I’d still be loved by them.
That I could fail and I’d still love myself.
That I could fail and it’d suck but I’d survive. And even grow!
And it hit me: I’d accepted that was ok to fail at the little things. So much so that I tend not to let the small, daily things phase me.
- Like forgetting my wallet at home and not noticing until I’m at the checkout line and can’t pay for the food.
- Like buying the pork instead of chicken hot dogs my kids like.
- Like, even buying hot dogs at all instead of healthier foods.
The thought “it’s not ok to fail” was about failures on the BIG scale. The failures that I mentioned at the beginning: failing my family, my clients, my business, myself.
Being afraid of failing big was stopping me from taking even small actions to move my business and, honestly, my personal life, forward.
“Why succeed at the small things if I’m going to fail at the big ones?” That was the root of the deeply buried thought and it was really, really painful.
Talking it out brought up other conflicting stories and fears. Like, what if my business didn’t fail? What if it was so successful because of the hard work I put in, the newsletters I sent out and blog posts I published, that I couldn’t show up for my family the way I wanted to?
What if it was so successful that I couldn’t show up for my clients with the energy and attention they deserved because I burned myself out?
Then I’d REALLY be failing!
So, instead, I had chosen to sit with the guilt and shame and frustration that comes with not taking action. #selfsabotage
Being encircled with the warmth and compassion from my friends in Oregon made me realize that, even if the mega shit hit the fan – even if my business or family life imploded – I’d still survive.
And I’d still be embraced by the tribe.
So I took them up on a challenge: to notice my daily failures and what they meant to me. To actually even set out to experiment and fail in small ways each week.
I’ve been actively doing this since I got home. (And, they randomly check in on me to hold me accountable because that’s the kind of amazing people they are!)
Being more conscious of the darker moments, the little failures, throughout the day and how I’m responding to them instinctually has been so empowering.
I’m seeing the evidence that I am surviving/adapting everyday. Which is giving me more confidence to handle the next thing that may come up.
I’ve always known that being mindful and heart-centered means understanding that we need both the successes and the failures, the light and the dark, in order to be our best self.
Since coming back from Oregon, I’m practicing that belief wholeheartedly.
And I have crossed more things off my to do list in the last 2 weeks than in the 2 months prior!
Including sending out a newsletter and writing this blog post! #smallwins
So, if you have been feeling like you’re holding yourself back from taking action because you are afraid to fail, know that you aren’t alone. If you are afraid that succeeding in one area of your life means you may fail in another, know that I understand.
And I am cheering you on as you and I invite you to join my challenge. It just takes asking yourself:
How did I fail today? And what did I learn from it?
Leave a comment below and let me know!