Failure Is A Word, Not A Person

My first approach to overcoming the fear of failure has been by treating failed attempts as feedback. I've found that separating the association of failed attempts with my self-worth to be absolutely VITAL. When you tie the outcome of every action to your self-worth, you're bound to feel like a failure.

Usually I can tell how much I'm connecting who I am as a person with an outcome, goal, endeavour or just some aspect of my life by how I react to criticism. If I become aware of a strong reaction, I put measures in place to start treating that aspect of my life more objectively. This isn't about trading a strong emotional drive for cold emotionless reasoning – most of the motivations behind my goals are emotionally driven. This is about distancing criticism, failures and outcomes in general with my identity beliefs.

Failure is just a word, it's a word that you give meaning and power to. Labelling an outcome as a "failure" is one thing, choosing to attach that label to who you are as a person takes you down a whole other path! When I started re-framing failure as feedback and mistakes as learning experiences, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. The pressure of making decisions and mistakes disappeared, since I can no longer fail or make mistakes – I can only experience, learn and grow.

For many years I attempted to transform my body with more failed attempts than I even care to remember. If I'd used each failed attempt to reinforce the belief that I was a failure, I'd have given up a long time ago and I would still be obese today. The trick in my mind is to stop categorising every outcome in such a black-and-white way, and instead just take things as they come or as an opportunity to learn. So if an action fails to produce a desired result, find out why and make any necessary changes accordingly. I know i put off many things because i feared making mistakes or not doing thing perfectly the first time, however, i'm reminded of a quote "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." This pretty much sums things up for me, because at least if i take a shot i've got a chance. If i don't take a shot for fear of missing – i've got NO chance! Which is all you can do, take shots and adjust your aim until hit your target.

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