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Dropping the F Word – As a Path to Success

No, not that “F” word. The other “F” word. The one that we are all afraid of. The one that holds us back from taking risks. The one that keeps us in our comfort zones.

“F” as in failure.

People tend to look at failure as THE biggest, baddest, scariest word in their lives. In their careers. In their homes. In their relationships.

Fear of failure holds people back from learning and growing, from experiencing new (and potentially amazing) things, and from living their lives to the fullest.

And it makes perfect sense. When we fail, or what we perceive to be failure, we believe that we can never achieve that goal successfully in the future. We also start to limit the belief that we have in ourselves and our abilities to achieve. It can bring on strong emotions of helplessness, inadequacy, anxiety, and can also feed into the negative self-talk (or imposter syndrome) that we all have. In our subconscious minds, failure can also lead us to self-sabotaging in an effort to protect ourselves from that ever happening again. We can either put up our guard or avoid situations to make sure we don’t put ourselves at risk in that way again.

But what if failure wasn’t actually failure at all? What if this perception of failure was actually our ability to grow. To develop. To become the very best versions of ourselves that we possibly could be.

After all, it is through pain that we grow. Consider the term “growing pains”. This is a term that we not only associate with learning lessons, but we also use this as a literal term for the physical growth that children experience as they age too. So, why can’t we use this same logic for failure.

Quote after quote speaks to the idea that failure is not actually a bad thing:

  • “We must hurt in order to grow, fail in order to know, and lose in order to gain.” – Unknown

  • “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

  • “Every failure is a lesson. If you are not willing to fail, you are not ready to succeed.” – Unknown

  • “If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” – Zig Ziglar

  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

  • And a personal favorite: “I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.” – Oprah Winfrey

So, I encourage us all to look at the “F” word with a different lens – or eliminate it from our vocabulary all together.

If you can look at failure as growth, as opportunity, and as learning for your future, how would you approach your life differently? If you could reframe any difficult moment into something that makes you stronger, more intelligent, and more successful, how could that open you up to taking more chances, trying new things, and experiencing more of life? If you could eliminate failure as a possibility, how could you go more boldly into the future to be the best version of yourself as possible?

By eliminating the concept of failure from our lives, we can become more confident, more innovative, more thoughtful and can set ourselves up for greater and greater things. We can continue to grow, develop and succeed. We can be the best versions of ourselves, all day, every day.

Post also featured at Ellevate and Medium.

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