What is failure? A feeling inside that goes into my soul. It makes my heart hurt and it drains all of my energy. A bad feeling fraught with dire consequences
When I fail I feel this sense of dread that runs through my entire body.
I feel like diving headfirst like Pete Rose into bed, pulling the covers over my head and turning off the world while I try to figure it out. The intensity gets stronger and stronger the more I try to tune it out and try to escape it. Eventually I come to grips that failure is always my fault.
Nothing Is More Painful Than Failure
From the outside, people may get the idea that I have it together. They may think that I have no weakness and I am very disciplined, a successful person and a giant of the service contracting industry. The truth is although I have levels of success, I am flawed in many ways. Most of the time I’m off course from where I want to be with moments of brilliance sprinkled in.
How do I fall short?
- The Way I Eat – I have tried every diet know to man and I still find myself a slave to binges of the most ungodly stuff know to man. I recently was on a vegan diet that really made me feel good. As soon as we went to a birthday celebration with the family I ate crappy and I was on a bad groove for over a month. Here’s the weird thing, when I overeat, I feel bloated and bad about my failure. Yet I still do it even though there is no physical reward.
- Being a Husband – My wife is perhaps the best spouse a man could have in the world. The things she does to support me are countless as well as thankless. It sees whenever I say thanks or do something for her my timing is terrible. I don’t know what to do to surprise her since whenever she wants something I just get it for her, which kills any surprises. As a husband at best, I am a work in progress.
- Being a Dad – Thanks to my wife, I have made much progress in allowing my kids to discover what they should do instead of telling them or yelling at them. But, there are times when I snap and say mean things when I break the ‘last straw.’ Afterwards, I feel guilty for making them feel bad.
- Workaholic – I have a hard time turning work off when I am with my family. I am always checking my phone for emails, texts or phone calls. When a client calls at inappropriate times, I still answer and try to help them. This leaves my family sometimes feeling secondary. I know I won’t be on my death bead saying, “wish I could take one more phone call.”
These are just a few things on my failure list and believe me, there are a lot more.
What Can I Do?
I really have been lucky to have some great mentors and colleagues that have helped me overcome some of my failures. Although I will tell you that overcoming the magnetic draw and energy of doing dysfunctional things to hurt your self and your family is very hard indeed.
Value Action Over Failure
What I have done is use the negative feelings I get above and turn them around by taking action. The challenge though is that when you are feeling defeated by failures you don’t feel like taking action or doing anything.
Action Over Attitude
So what I do is feel the negativity and begin to take action anyway. What I’ve realized it that having a pity party for myself never has helped me improve. I look at it like the negative feeling I get when I fail at something is like a signal for me to get off my ass and begin to DO something about it instead of wallow in self pity.
My method to act on my failures:
- I Create Space – Failures that I create are only temporary and are only a result of what I have done (or haven’t done) in the past. I need to distance myself from the past and look at what I can do today to change course. I create a picture of my life’s timeline and realize that my current failure is actually pretty small when looking at the big picture.
- Not Failure But Feedback – I look at the feeling of negativity or dread as feedback from the universe that I am on the wrong course. Again taking action to makes change even wrong change is better than repeating failure over and over again. Listen to your negativity and begin to move forward.
- Think Opposite – If knowing the way I did things in the past was wrong then if I think about what the opposite of my behaviors would be, I usually find the right answer somewhere between those two things. This method really works to create a strategy to defeat the true enemy is of failure situations are, and that is the status quo.
Every Journey Begins With a Single Step
When you feel like you are failing take a single step to create movement. Movement will always lead to success because it leads you to eliminate the wrong paths and also to identify the right ones as well. If you are a service professional who has felt the feelings I have please begin by creating movement to a better outcome and you are on your way.
Remember that any success you have is not possible without failure. If you have not failed I pity you. All greatness comes as a result of knowing the wrong thing and celebrating in doing the right thing. When you do succeed there is no feeling like it.