It’s Okay to Fail and Admit ItBy: Angela Schaefers May 23rd, 2012
Category: Your Story Matters
A N N O U N C E M E N T
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I’ve been intrigued by the notion of those who have failed at something and were outed. For the most part, if you are rich and/or famous and you commit a blunder of some sort, (and someone finds out!) you are outed to the world! What is intriguing is whether people really want to come clean about their failures and mistakes or if they live in fear of being found out. To what measures do any of us go to hide our mistakes?
Perhaps we are all similar when it comes to our mistakes. We may not be superstars, A-list elitists or part of the world’s most wealthiest club but we probably don’t want our neighbors, co-workers or family/friends knowing about our mistakes. And sometimes we don’t even admit to ourselves we have failed. We just go on and if not outed or having no obvious repercussions we can get away with whatever it is.
I think when we avoid facing our mistakes and failures and perhaps hiding them from others, we don’t have the opportunity to learn from them. Interestingly, some of the most successful people have failed, a lot, and made plenty of mistakes too! I think that if they in fact became successful despite the mistakes and failures, they must have admitted these things (at least to themselves) and learned from them to move forward.
I used to be a perfectionist. So failing and making mistakes were really hard for me to accept. Even worse was someone finding out that I wasn’t perfect, that I am human and am flawed. Over time it became increasingly difficult to try and be perfect (and obviously being perfect is impossible) and it was no fun trying to hide things either.
Some of my need to be perfect and seen by others as perfect, was my need for acceptance. I wanted to be liked and accepted. I mistakenly thought that if I wasn’t perfect, I would not be liked. I thought I would be rejected and without anyone close to me. Two things happened to shift my perspective.
- I realized, as I shared my imperfections I was still likeable, loveable and accepted.
- The more I allowed myself to be human, flaws and all, the more I realized EVERYONE else was like me (not perfect!)
Once my perspective changed and I let go of all the ridiculous expectations I had put on myself, I was able to start admitting my failures and mistakes. Then I was able to learn from them. I could see why I made a certain choice or how I had a good intention but external circumstances changed my expected outcome. I also learned to allow myself to be human, to know I am flawed and will make mistakes. I then learned to let go of any self doubt, shame or guilt related to failing.
Fail and Admit It
You can admit your mistakes and failures too! You will survive, no matter how bad it is. You can also learn and grow from them and move forward!
- Say the words “I made a mistake, I failed. I am not a failure. I am human”
- Ask yourself “What can I learn from this failure/mistake?”
- Ask yourself “What can I do differently so that I do not make the same mistakes over and over?”
- Tell yourself “Making mistakes and failing is part of the process of succeeding”
When we can admit our mistakes and failures and know that we are still valuable, we can often began to accept others mistakes and failures. We then realize that we and others are not a mistake or a failure, only some of the things we do are. Empathy for self and others changes everything, trust me I am a recovering perfectionist.
Please share your thoughts and what you have learned from your mistakes and failures.
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