How do you respond to failure?
Think about it. Really. We don’t like to acknowledge our failures and mistakes. But if we don’t embrace them, how can we keep ourselves from doing it again? And again… and probably in a different way, again.
There is a fun game we play where we loosen up the reins to prevent a failure from being labeled as such. Maybe we change our goal so it doesn’t count as an L. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve become way too easy on myself.
Now, this comes from years of being too hard on myself. And I definitely passed the middle ground mark in the past couple of years. So to preface, I’m not trying to say we shouldn’t give ourselves grace and forgiveness. In fact, it’s pretty crucial.
First, how do you describe your specific failures? Is it not sticking to routine and missing workouts? Is it mindlessly scrolling on your phone in the morning instead of getting up and at ‘em? What about lack of discipline on a daily task or project? Missed a deadline? Didn’t ask for help? Spent over budget from lazily lacking in planning?
Are these just all of mine?
Perhaps you didn’t finish that book you said you’d read. Or it could be deeper set in life accomplishments. Didn’t get the job offer? Got cut from a roster? Didn’t commit to that trial and now you’re kicking yourself via imposter syndrome or straight up fear?
I’ve seen, and sometimes done myself, a few ways to respond to our respective failures. One thing I’d like to point out in my examples that I just realized, is that these failures are because of a personal promise we made to ourselves. This is not failing under someone else’s expectations, probably. Should we go back to that? If you have a coach, boss, leader, manager, then yes you do have responsibilities to them. But what I mean in the analogy world is that we want to focus on how we are setting ourselves up, and how in turn we are treating ourselves depending on our outcomes.
Ok. So one way is to New Year’s Resolution the damn thing and just quit forever on the first missed attempt. But the athlete in you won’t let that happen. So you go again. Accept the first draft and be better next time.
What I’ve learned recently from the book Atomic Habits, is that a key to success in changing habits is systems>goals. We can check off habits all we want, but will we be prone to failure if we don’t see the practicality and applicability in what we’re doing? Think that one might hit a little closer to home. I’m so great at “planning” and revising all of my habits… but how often do I take a further step back and see the mentality I’m harboring surrounding these tasks aka my desired outcome? Give me a break I just started reading the book last week.
So I ask again. How do you frame your failures? What do you do to adjust? How are you treating yourself?