Going through my Facebook feed this morning, I read something that a friend posted which said: “When you need something to believe in, start with yourself.” I love that, but I will admit that believing in yourself is one of the hardest things to do at times. We have a really sick relationship with failure, most of us do. We believe that “failure is bad” and that “success is good.”
I know that we all believe that success is good. We admire those who have succeeded at something, we look up to them, idolize them and use them as our role models. We focus on their success, their lifestyle, what they have and what they have accomplished, the trips they’ve made, the relationships they have, the homes they live in, etc. Success leaves a sweet taste in our mouth, failure many times, leaves a bitter taste in our mouth. Success is attractive, failure is unattractive.
Failure is also good though, even though the process of going through the motions of failure are never fun. Failure means that we are trying to move forward. When we fail, we are actually making progress too… and it might not be the progress that we want, but progress is progress non-the-less. Think of the baby who takes his first steps, how many times that baby falls and how many times he or she gets up and tries again. If we had learned and been taught as a child that failure is a learning experience, maybe our relationship to failure wouldn’t be a bad one. We would look forward to failing because that would bring us closer to our goal and we wouldn’t be discouraged at the first, second or third attempt at trying something. We would make sure however, that whatever mistakes we made on the first, second or third attempt are not the same mistakes we’re repeating over and over again. We would ask ourselves what we learned from each experience and put that in practice on the following attempts. We would take responsibility powerfully for our failure and we’d be able to move on, instead of dwelling in what happened and beat ourselves up. Remember, failure is something that happened, it’s not a person… therefore, you are NOT a failure.
There is a direct connection between failure and success. While we see people who succeed and many times think to ourselves that they are an “overnight success,” that is rarely the case. We don’t see the athlete who trained for hours and woke up in the wee hours of the morning to train, rain or shine, every single day, we don’t see the injuries, the soreness, the calorie counting, the strict lifestyle that they follow. We don’t see the successful entrepreneur who made all the phone calls, all the new contacts, who did everything that we often don’t want to do in order to succeed.
Consistency is key to success and consistency requires doing the mundane, not-fun stuff. Those consistent little steps are the ones that will provide us with success. Ask any person who has succeeded at something what got them there and they will all say “hard, consistent work, and not giving up.” Everything in life is that way, from relationships, to parenting, to career. Success will ALWAYS depend on your ability to believe in yourself, and the courage to keep taking the small steps that will eventually lead you to success, regardless of what it looks like now.
So don’t give up, keep going, surround yourself with people who have common goals, study those who have succeeded already and most importantly, believe in yourself that you can reach success too, make sure that you also offer an encouraging word to someone else, you never know the ripple effect that kindness might have in someone’s life.