“When we accept that perfection is an illusion in life, we no longer carry the burden of failure. We simply recommit.” Gail Kraft
How many of you, or those you know, have felt the sting of failure, even in childhood? It could have been losing in a game, receiving a low grade at school, or not meeting expectations of your peers. That feeling you experienced creates a sense of defeat, lower self-esteem, and diminished self-worth.
This pattern continues in adulthood as you receive reviews at your job, you are Judged by your customers, and you are measured in the mating game. You create a vision of acceptance and achievement and define failure as a lack of success in reaching a goal. The expectations you create of achieving some milestone and missing the mark defines you. You create an interpretation of who you are based on losses.
Even the statement “The only real failure is getting to the end of your life and never really living the life you were designed to live” is perceived failure. Some people are making it from day to day. Some have goals in life that you may think are not big enough, daring enough, or impactful enough. The thing is the ONLY person who can feel failure in ANYTHING you do is you.
Only you can define success.
Is success happiness? Is it some level of abundance? Maybe achievement to you is power and prestige? Even those few examples need to be defined more deeply to gain clarity about you and your version of success.
Only you can define failure.
How do you define failure? If you put in the effort to achieve an objective, how can trying be seen as a failure? Did you learn something, become a better person, or contribute to society? Was the goal something you bought into in the first place, or was is someone else’s arbitrary expectation?
In determining your failure threshold, you create the line, once crossed, you decide that you are defined as weak, a victim, or incapable.
Only you can accept or reject the illusion.
Your thoughts, beliefs, and norms create structure in your life and are the tools you use to give meaning to things. We even make up stories and don’t realize it. Your mind needs details to create an image of what is happening, and if you do not have the details, you “fill in the blanks.”
Failure, success, right, and wrong are beliefs and norms you created. When you take a perceived failure in your life and change the narrative, a new story unfolds; one of a warrior, an adventurer, a risk taker. You might find a person who pushes the boundaries and is fearless. Maybe you discover a person who is a nurturer, a home creator, or a maker of safe havens.
No matter what you feel about your achievements right now, you can change that with changing your perspective.
Recognize your emotional state and release the illusion. Then consciously choose to respond from the empowered position of clarity, power, and solutions.
You have the power to choose how you respond each day. This is a practice of conscious choice and being present in the uniqueness of the moment. Take control, accept responsibility, and be aware that your perception, response, and results belong to you alone. You know it’s time for even more. If not now, when?