Let’s face it. We all make mistakes.
Most of us know that failure is a reality of life, and at some level, we understand that it actually helps us grow. Intellectually, we even acknowledge that the greatest achievers — past and present — also routinely experienced colossal failures.
But still, we hate to fail. We fear it, we dread it, and when it does happen, we hold onto it. We give it power over our emotions, and sometimes we allow it to dictate our way forward (or backward). Some of us go to great lengths to avoid failure because of all the pain and shame associated with it. Why is it so hard to let go, forgive ourselves and move on? And how can we keep failure – or the fear of it — from derailing us?
Here are five strategies:
1. Don’t make it personal.
Separate the failure from your identity. Just because you haven’t found a successful way of doing something (yet) doesn’t mean you are a failure. These are completely separate thoughts, yet many of us blur the lines between them. Personalizing failure can wreak havoc on our self-esteem and confidence. There was a man who failed in business at age 21; was defeated in a legislative race at age 22; failed again in business at 24; overcome the death of his fiancée at 26; had a nervous breakdown at 27; lost a congressional race at 34; lost a senatorial race at age 45; failed to become Vice President at age 47; lost a senatorial race at 49; and was elected as the President of the United States at the age of 52. This man was Abraham Lincoln. He refused to let his failures define him and fought against significant odds to achieve greatness.
2. Take stock, learn and adapt.
Look at the failure analytically — indeed, curiously — suspending feelings of anger, frustration, blame or regret. Why did you fail? What might have produced a better outcome? Was the failure completely beyond your control? After gathering the facts, step back and ask yourself, what did I learn from this? Think about how you will apply this newfound insight going forward.
Thomas Edison reportedly failed 10,000 times while he was inventing the light bulb. He was quoted as saying, “I have found 10,000 ways something won’t work. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” The Wright brothers spent years working on failed aircraft prototypes and incorporating their learnings until they finally got it right: a plane that could get airborne and stay there.
3. Stop dwelling on it.
Obsessing over your failure will not change the outcome. In fact, it will only intensify the outcome, trapping you in an emotional doom-loop that disables you from moving on. You cannot change the past, but you can shape your future. The faster you take a positive step forward, the quicker you can leave these debilitating, monopolizing thoughts behind.
Don Shula is the winningest coach in the NFL, holding the record for most career wins (including two Super Bowl victories) and the only perfect season in NFL history.
Shula had a “24-hour rule,” a policy of looking forward instead of dwelling on the past. The coach allowed himself, his staff and his players 24 hours to celebrate a victory or brood over a defeat. During those 24 hours, Shula encouraged them to feel their emotions of success or failure as deeply as they could. The next day, it was time to put it behind them and focus their energy on preparing for their next challenge. His philosophy was that if you keep your failures and victories in perspective, you’ll do better in the long run.
4. Release the need for approval of others.
Often our fear of failure is rooted in our fear of being judged and losing others’ respect and esteem. We easily get influenced (and spooked) by what people say about us.
Remember, this is your life, not theirs. What one person considers to be true about you is not necessary the truth about you, and if you give too much power to others’ opinions, it could douse your passion and confidence, undermining your ability to ultimately succeed.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job because someone thought she was “unfit for TV.” Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected by 30 publishers. Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job because he “lacked imagination and good ideas.” Winston Churchill failed sixth grade and was considered “a dolt” by his teacher. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off the stage the first time he tried comedy. Soichiro Honda was rejected by an HR manager at Toyota Motor Corporation when he applied for an engineering job, leaving him jobless until he began making scooters in his garage and eventually founded Honda Motor Company. ’Nuff said.
5. Try a new point of view.
Our upbringing – as people and professionals – has given us an unhealthy attitude toward failure. One of the best things you can do is to shift your perspective and belief system away from the negative (“If I fail, it means I am stupid, weak, incapable, and am destined to fall short”) and embrace more positive associations (“If I fail, I am one step closer to succeeding; I am smarter and more savvy because the knowledge I’ve gained through this experience”).
Indeed, one can hardly find an historic or current-day success story that isn’t also a story of great failure. And if you ask those who have distinguished themselves through their achievements, they will tell you that failure was a critical enabler of their success. It was their motivator. Their teacher. A stepping stone along their path to greatness. The difference between them and the average person is that they didn’t give up.
Michael Jordan said it best: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Find Susan at www.authenticleadershipalliance.com or follow her on Twitter @susantardanico
In one week, I am starting my LifeWork Community program. If you relate to my blog, workshops or book and you are not too far a drive from Providence, you really need to talk to me about this program! LifeWork Community is about creating a fabulous, intentional, creative and impactful life. It is going to be amazing and I know you will want in.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
The first workshop in this new program is about being more intentional. Until we know just what we want to create and some of the steps we know we need to take to consistently to make it happen, we tend to be less satisfied, have less of a sense of meaning, and get hit or miss results.
There is this great question that I read somewhere, I can’t remember where right now. It is: What would you want if you were absolutely certain you would get it?
Take a moment to think about that.
Is your answer any different than what you are going about creating on a regular basis? If it is, this is a perfect place to employ the practice of intention.
What if your intention was to create what you really want instead of what you have convinced yourself that you can have?
What would you need to do on a regular basis to be as likely as possible to create what it is that you truly want? And, who would you need to be in order to reach that desired goal for yourself?
These questions are at the heart of intentional and fulfilled living.
If you have gone into business for yourself, chances are you were in some way lured in by this promise of freedom –the freedom to work when you want, where you want, and how you want.
To create business in line with your values and have the money to support the things you believe in. What you likely learned is that creating that level of freedom, quality and profit is far from easy. In fact, you can end up running on an even faster treadmill or swimming with even more vicious sharks than you would if you were working in corporate.
So, is this promise land of freedom and riches even possible?
But big secret is that who you are on the inside makes a huge difference in your success. In fact, psychological research is showing that our perception is key to whether we feel like we have what makes us happy regardless of what it is that we have.
In other words, you can have all the riches in the world and your mindset will dictate whether or not you feel wealthy. So, if you are thinking that if you increase your income, or lower your work hours you will feel successful or happier, you may be chasing the proverbial carrot.
Having a Ph.D in Psychology and having worked in one way or another in the health and wellness industry for the past 20 years, I believe that business can be healing. It can improve the quality of life of the entrepreneur, the customer or client, the community, and the larger world. It can support things that have value and decrease the value of harmful practices and products in the world.
But, what is it that makes a business quality driven AND profitable? It is the character, values, and general consciousness of the entrepreneur themselves? Without engaging in self-reflection, gratitude, creative practice and personal development, it is impossible for the entrepreneur to create a business that has both a positive effect and a profit. Our perception restricts us from seeing the opportunities that would allow us to create positive alternatives.
My suggestions for would-be and seasoned entrepreneurs alike is that they make sure that their own personal development is part of their business plan and that they use this self-reflection to create businesses and lives that are healthy, wealthy, and happy.
The elusive goal of balance keeps us teetering on a tightrope of insanity as we frantically juggle the plates of our compartmentalized lives.
Balance may be the big buzzword in corporate America, but parceling yourself out in the quest for perfect balance often makes you so worried about the moments you’re missing that you forget how to enjoy the moments you’re actually in.
The problem isn’t lack of balance. It’s that we’ve sub-divided our lives into a series of endless to-dos that hold no meaning for us whatsoever.
The truth is, balance isn’t a strategy; it’s a tactic, and a reactive one at that. And you don’t create success or happiness with tactics. Think about it. Do you know anyone who achieved nirvana by mastering the art of the Franklin Planner?
It’s no coincidence that when people talk about balance they’re usually lamenting their lack of it.
I should spend more time with my kids. I should take more vacations. I should get to the gym more often. I should call my folks. The list is a mile long, and we’re convinced that true happiness will descend upon us when it’s all checked off.
But the real secret of happiness isn’t balance at all; it’s two very simple things: We’re the happiest when we’re connected to others, and we know that what we’re doing with our time makes a difference.
That’s it. Not new cars, not big promotions, not even more sex, the perfect life partner or photogenic kids. It’s been proven time and time again, by everyone from the researchers at Harvard to religious leaders; we human beings need both pleasure and purpose to be happy. And we need to experience them both at the same time.
All the angst around balance is merely masking a larger issue which is lack of purpose and an inability to experience the pleasure of fully engaging in the present moment.
Our culture has perpetuated the myth that our work is over on one side of the equation and fun is on the other, two competing arenas that must be carefully balanced against each other at all times. Spread yourself around in the right proportion, and life will be bliss. But in reality, our challenge isn’t trying to balance out the drudgery with the fun; our challenge is to learn to how enjoy every aspect of our life while we’re actually living it.
Meaningful work – be it parenting, PTA or powering your way to the top of P & G – is the cornerstone of a happy and successful life.
Exhaustion may make you crave more pleasure. However, as the angst ridden botoxed ladies at the country club can attest, you can spend every day of your life at the spa, but unless it’s connected to a larger purpose, at a certain point you’re going to get tired of exfoliating yourself.
On the flip side, you can selflessly spend hours scooping soup for the poor, but until you learn to be fully present and experience the grace while you’re ladling, there won’t be a big serving of joy waiting for you at the bottom of the pot.
We human beings are hard-wired with an innate desire to create meaningful connections while we’re on this planet and to make a contribution that outlasts our stay on it.
Yet, despite the lofty yearnings of our souls. we often get ourselves so mired in our own muck that we’re not fully engaged with the people around us, and we completely miss the potentially larger purpose of our daily grind. There aren’t too many world leaders, kindergarten teachers, or jingle writers who create fabulous results by distractedly going through the motions.
Trying to balance out your priorities by employing superb scheduling tactics will always feel like a rat race if you don’t have a meaningful strategy or goal. If your true objective is to become happy, you’re going to have to spend a little time thinking about what that actually means to you.
Whether you know it or not, you do have purpose on this planet – we all do – and I suspect that much of our angst over balance comes from the gnawing knowledge that we’re not fulfilling it. But before you quit your day job, you should know that you don’t have to create world peace to give yourself a reason to get out of bed. Sometimes your life’s purpose is something as simple, elegant and meaningful as being a great friend or boss.
I have no idea what your purpose is; it took me the better part of 44 years just to start getting an inkling of my own. But I do know that the meaning and joy you get out of your life is in direct proportion to the meaning and joy you put into it.
You can’t make good decisions about where to spend your time until you know how you want to share your heart. Guiltily parceling out bits and pieces of yourself in the name of balance never makes you happy; it just makes you tired. So forget balance. Figure out your purpose, get present in the moment and decide to be happy instead.
reblogged from bnetworking.info
I have worked with thousands of coaching clients over the years. Together, they have given us incredible insight into what the average human being needs to do to go from “loathing” to “loving” their life. And, of course, we’ve successfully helped the vast majority of them gradually get from point A to point B.
What most of these people never suspected is that they would have to learn how to do lots of little things differently. Because the truth is, there are specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world that we all have to master before we can awaken to a simpler, happier, more fulfilling life – a life worth loving. And that’s precisely what this post is all about.
No matter what part of life’s path you’re traveling on, the list below will always be applicable. These are simple, positive habits that thousands of people who have learned to love their lives, now live by. Here’s what they do differently…
Do the best you can to smile. Be so busy loving your life and the people in it that you have no time left for hate, regret or unnecessary stress. In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience. It’s a long-term journey. You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way.
Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds – struggles and all. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.
reblogged from Marc and Angel Hack Life.
I know that my thoughts and emotions are a key ingredient in manifesting what I want in my life. That being said, I’m wondering if you know a strategy to keep myself at a high vibrational level? I find I get sucked down into the negative more than I’d like.
The true key to joy and happiness is through gratitude. Sounds simple, yes? Just be grateful for everything, and you will live in a state of bliss. Easy…
Let me break it down for you a little more.
The key to joy and happiness is gratitude, BUT, the key to gratitude is to be a master of your thoughts and emotions.
Let me give you an example…
You are driving down the highway and someone is driving exceptionally slow in front of you. You are heading somewhere and really just want to get home from wherever you were.
Now, you have a choice of how to respond to this.
You can choose to be annoyed, irritated, and begin the self talk of, “Why does this always happen to me? Look at this idiot in front of me, someone needs to teach him to drive. I wish this jerk would get over so I can pass him!” At this point you’re not feeling very grateful for this experience. And you certainly aren’t filled with joy.
You can choose to see this person in front of you as a gift. You can say to yourself, “Maybe I should slow down a bit. It is a beautiful day. Maybe this speed is a link in a chain of events geared toward helping me avoid an accident.” Now you’re feeling grateful and probably a little bit joyful as well.
The situation is the same in both scenarios, and you have the power to CHOOSE how you are going to respond to this experience. You have the power to choose to be joyful and happy.
This example can be replayed in ANY event in your life. You always have the power to choose your response. And your response is the key to your positive or negative experience.
THIS TAKES PRACTICE. And sometimes you may even need someone to remind you to stop and think about how you are reacting.
About the author: David Neagle’s core mission is to bring expanded awareness and Wealth Consciousness to as many people as possible, and to find greater ways of helping entrepreneurs and corporate sales professionals create massive cash injections more rapidly so they can lead their greatest possible lives and serve the greatest number of people. Learn more .
Many of us have been believing in a lie. We’ve bought into the myth that happiness is something we achieve when everything in our life finally looks the way we’ve been thinking it should. Cue the relationship, ring, job, country house, wardrobe, vacations, beauty products, weight loss. But here’s the challenge: These things alone don’t create lasting happiness, so happiness becomes this elusive thing that we desire but don’t know how to achieve.
The truth is that happiness is not circumstantial. And this is really good news. It means we don’t have to wait for everything to be perfect, nor do we have to control anything outside of ourselves in order to feel a certain way. Becoming aware of this truth is a total game-changer, because it means we can choose happiness in this moment. And something beautiful happens when we do this: When we feel happy first, our outward experience begins to shift in ways we’d only dreamed of.
In this article, I’ll discuss how people can reset their attitude toward happiness and share three tips for cultivating happiness from the inside, out.
Searching for Happiness in all the Wrong Places
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we will be happy as soon as everything in our lives is exactly the way we want it to be—and that the solution to happiness is that we must keep working harder to control these external situations in order to make them “right.” But when we make things happen (lose the weight, get the relationship, get the raise) in a condition in which we are needing them to fill us up, validate us, or make us feel whole and complete, these changes won’t be sustainable. We might even realize these outward things don’t make us happy after all.
In reality, self-love is the baseline of happiness. When we live from a pure space of self-love, we are able to achieve sustainable happiness, because our internal feelings of abundance will reflect back to us in the form of beautiful relationships, purpose-driven work, and financial freedom. In short, self-love puts us on the fast track to healing. Our work is to clear out our fearful perceptions and shift them back to a loving perspective on life, which reveals our perfection and wholeness.
We don’t need to be fixed and nothing is wrong with us—these are just the stories we’ve been telling ourselves. When we let go of our limiting beliefs, we can finally experience freedom, happiness, and our highest potential.
Learning to Feel Happy Within
Here, I share three practical ways to cultivate more happiness within and create a life beyond your wildest dreams.
1. Connect with Yourself
Slow down and get quiet enough to listen to your inner guide (a.k.a your intuition or your truth), and spend less time listening to other people’s opinions or the loud, critical voice inside your own mind (which often manifests as racing thoughts or 3a.m. panic). One of the best practices for cultivating the ability to hear your inner guiding system is meditation. If finding the time to sit quietly is not realistic at the moment, an even simpler life-changing practice is to make daily mundane activities—such as brushing our teeth or standing in line at the grocery store—a time for quiet reflection. In these moments, ask for guidance and listen for some clear answers.
When we flex our spiritual muscle and connect with ourselves, it gives us access to an inner abundance of wisdom and knowledge (you’ll recognize it as a quiet, calm knowing voice). This inner source of wisdom will always guide us to our best right actions.
2. Set an Intention to Be Happy
Despite what we may have been taught, happiness is as simple as just choosing to be happy. When we truly realize this—that happiness is a choice—we instantly empower ourselves in any situation, whether it’s a relationship, job, or pattern of thinking that’s been creating judgments, worry, doubt, fear, or confusion. The moment we choose to perceive things differently by choosing a loving perception of ourselves, others, and our circumstances, we not only strengthen our capacity to feel happy—we also open ourselves up to limitless possibilities where there once was seemingly no solution. A creative flow reveals itself, and we’re able to experience more ease and less struggle sometimes instantly.
This is a lifelong practice, because when we’re not monitoring our thoughts, they have a tendency of veering back into fear and worry. One of the simplest and most profound ways we can align with loving perceptions each day is to practice setting an intention every morning when we wake up. This intention can be very simple: Just say to yourself, I choose happiness—and feel it.
Most of us don’t know what “surrender” means. It’s the opposite of the way many of us operate, which is by attempting to control outcomes and situations and to make things happen. In contrast, surrender occurs when we release our need to control things, and instead choose to place a higher level of trust and faith in the process of life.
When we tap into this relaxed energy, we allow that which we desire to flow to us in a miraculous way. The job, relationship, or whatever we are envisioning and desiring for our lives is all on its way—and when we surrender our plans for the timeline and the form in which we think it should arrive, we allow an even bigger and better outcome to take place. When we are not fearfully boxing ourselves in, we are able to fearlessly say YES to limitless opportunities for joy to enter our lives.
Being Happy—The Takeaway
By connecting with ourselves, setting intentions to be happy, and surrendering to the natural flow of life, we can breathe a sigh of relief, trusting and knowing that everything is unfolding in perfect, divine timing—and the only work we need to do is to get out of our own way and let life happen. Because happiness is our birthright.
Jennifer Kass is a holistic happiness coach and spiritual mentor. She is a writer and speaker and works in her one-on-one coaching programs. The views expressed herein are hers and hers alone. To learn more about Jennifer, visit
Self-care is a privilege.
It is something privileged people get to think about and attend to. And, yes at this point in my life I am privileged to think about it myself.
I am grateful for that. But there is something more to it as well. At the heart of self-care is self-love and that is available to everyone.
And, the more we can bring that self-love into our lives the more that we can become who we want to become and create what we want to create. Even more importantly the more we can truly enjoy our lives –the good and the bad.
Self-Love is a birth right.
Does not matter where you come from, how much money you have, or how many resources you are connected to you always have access to the foundational self-care tool – self-love. Having, holding, and experiencing love in our selves for ourselves is the highest personal development achievement and the most basic stepping stone.
So, how do we get more of it?
Pick any area of your life where you feel angry, sad or any negative emotion. What is the circumstance that produces these thoughts and feelings? How is it that you have come to believe that you are wrong, bad, or unlovable?
Bring some understanding to this place where no love exists. How might a person find themselves in this situation? What might they struggle with?
Then bring some compassion to the situation. How challenging might it be to have these difficult emotions? Allow an image of yourself to come forward that represents this struggling part of yourself.
Now, bring some love to these confused and painful parts. Think of a time when you felt love. Spend a moment really bringing in the feeling. Now focus it on that image that you have conjured of yourself suffering.. Let the love infuse the image and feel the shift taking place inside of yourself.
Want more ways to cultivate self-love so you can care deeply for yourself? I am hosting a FREE video summit, Unstoppable: Self Care for Fearless Living – an incredible resource of daily interviews that will having your feeling inspired and connected. Starts Monday, the 17th – sign up now!
Organization, healthy habits, down time and time to be your bad-ass self, all of it is self care.
But, really truly deeply self care is about self-love. Do we even know what that means? I personally think that it is a process, an unfolding. As we look at the parts that we are unable to love or that we outright mistreat and find our way back to a space where we can love them we naturally start to do more of the things that take care of us.
Three tips for self care:
Find where you are unconscious: Unfortunately, most of our life is spent walking around asleep. We go through the motions but don’t really connect in with ourselves or what is happening in the present moment. We are stuck in the past or the future.
Find the places in your life where you are on autopilot and your whole life will change for the better.
Take quiet time every day: Does it all seem like a blur? Well it will be if you do not find the time to stop, drop, and listen. Even 5 minutes a day of quite time will go a long way.
Ask yourself “Am I loving myself right now?”: Self-love like so many other things that are good for us are a practice. The more we practice the more we develop the skill.
Link the question “Am I loving myself?” to things like brushing your teeth and eating breakfast so that you can become more aware of whether you are loving yourself or not.
Is cultivating self-care important to you? March 17th – 21st I am hosting a FREE video summit, Unstoppable: Self Care for Fearless Living. Watch inspirational video interviews that will help you dive into the heart of caring for all of who you are. Sign up here