When was the last time you failed?
For me, it was this week. In fact it was two days ago, when I was really angry at myself.
Really angry. Why? Because I had failed. And I do not like to not achieve, so I got angry. A natural reaction, I guess.
My book was supposed to come out today. Today. But it is not out, it is not ready yet. Because I failed.
And then I got carried away with this anger. All these things came up in my head. The nasty words I found describing myself. Everything from “Why did I not manage to do this?” to “I am really failing.”
I failed miserably, at least in my own eyes. That’s what I thought.
When the anger calmed, I started asking myself:
- What could I have done differently?
- Is there any reason to think that I did not do my best?
- What’s the worst outcome that can happen as a consequence of it?
- Why did this happen the way it did?
The answers to these questions were eye opening.
To give you an idea, apparently I am not good in forecasting timeline in new projects. That’s what my mind told me.
I schedule projects, projects for new topics without really knowing how long they take. And then I get frustrated when I did not achieve a goal in a certain period of time, crazy.
In reality, I was not failing, I was just learning. I had thought I had failed, but really there was no tangible failure linked to this situation. The book is just coming out a bit later than planned.
it simply wasn’t a failure. It was just a deadline that I missed. Something that could be postponed easily. Nobody will really blame me for it, apart from myself.
How is this relevant to me, you might ask?
Well let me ask you the question again: „When was the last time that you failed? Or rather, when you thought you failed?“
You can profit from my recent lessons learned, straight out of the box, so to speak. It will help you to reduce the chance that you end up in a similar situation. To avoid similar frustrations and to see that failure is not (always) something negative.
Here they come:
- When you are angry at yourself, it is probably because your expectations don’t match up with the reality. So, next time you set some expectations for a topic you are dealing with or working on, do a reality check before(!) you get started. Ask yourself (or even better a friend): “Are these expectations too high? Is it doable? Or am I asking too much?”
- Have a (business) partner/friend cross-check your planning, your timeline I mean. “Is it possible to achieve objective X in the given timeframe?” The more specific your topic is, the better it might be discuss this with a subject matter expert on the topic to get the right input.
- Define the word “failure” for you beforehand. What does failure mean for you? What are the worst things that can happen? What tangible facts could you associate with the topic, so that you can easily verify at any given time whether you are really about to “fail”, or whether you are really just giving yourself a hard time?!
This is it. Three key lessons learned for me this week. A major learning curve! And am I glad after all! I learned a lot this week, especially about the power my mind has over me, but I now am back!
What does your mind tell you which does not feel right when you really think about it?