The Quest for Confidence: Embracing Failure

Embracing Failure
Last week, I shared with you the causes of insecurity. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be shaking down each one of those causes and helping you to see them in a whole new light so you can move past the fears that are holding you back and step out in confidence into the future that’s waiting for you.


This is something I need you to understand. There is not one single human being that has not failed at doing things the first time, the first ten times, or the first fifteen hundred times they tried it. Not one. Think about babies fresh out of the womb. They often can’t even find the nipple to nurse from straight away. They have to learn how to do it.

Failure Is the Best Teacher

Failure is patient. Failure doesn’t care if you have to repeat the lesson two times or two thousand times. She’ll present that same lesson over and over again, and she’ll keep doing it until you get it right. She will not accept half of an effort. She will insist that you do it until you get it right.

You can’t disappoint Failure, either. She doesn’t get discouraged or defeated. She knows that if you keep working at it, you’ll get it right eventually. That’s why she won’t settle for less than your best.

Why We Hate Failure

Babies don’t hate failure. They accept it as part of the price of admission for learning to do what everyone else knows how to do. They don’t expect themselves to succeed the first time or the first 20 times. They accept themselves the way they are. Yes, they get frustrated just like we all do, but they keep at it because they know that if everyone around them can do it, there’s absolutely no reason they can’t do it, too.

We hate failure because we were trained to hate it and fear it. Those big fat F’s with the red pen circled at the top meant a spanking or a grounding from our parents. They meant kids in our class would laugh at us and teachers would be disappointed with us. Suddenly we became afraid to fail, which really just meant that we became afraid to learn. We became afraid to try new things or do things differently because we might get that F at the top of our paper or on our report card.

What Failure Tells You

Failure tells you one thing and one thing only: You are learning. If you’ve ever been around an infant that is learning to walk, you know just how many times they fail at standing up before they finally get that mastered. Then, there are all the times they fail when trying to take that first step forward. Then once they do, it’s a good long series of failures before they’ve got walking mastered.

So if you have a long string of failures to your name, pat yourself on the back because that means you have a long history of having tried to accomplish something worthwhile. And since you aren’t dead yet, you still have the opportunity to get that accomplishment done.

Rewriting the Story of Failure

You have been telling yourself a lot of negative things about Failure. You have a whole story about why Failure is hateful and Failure is the last thing you want to see in your life. You can’t get over your fear of Failure while that story is still playing in your head. You need to pull out every major instance where you can remember failing at something you tried to do and REWRITE that story with a positive ending. With an ending where you finally manage to defeat the dragon, learn the lesson, and accomplish something great with your life.

Look for the Lessons

Go revisit those moments where Failure appeared in your life and look for the lessons she was trying to teach you. What did you learn from that which helped you to accomplish greater things today than you were able to back then? What did that encounter with Failure change about your life that makes you a better person, a better parent, a better writer, or whatever you are today?

Write those lessons down. They are powerful. They are worth recording so that you can pass them on to future generations. Cherish them. Treasure them. Love them. And love yourself for having the courage to have stepped out, taken the risk, and earned them.

Develop Gratitude for Failure

Thank Failure for being there with you through all these years even though you didn’t appreciate her and kept trying to shove her out of your life because you didn’t understand just what it was she was trying to do for you. Write a letter of Gratitude to Failure and promise her that the next time she comes along, you won’t wait years to learn from her and you’ll accept eagerly the lessons she has to offer you.

P.S. Stop Labelling Yourself a Failure

Having failed to do what you wanted to do does not make you a failure. Refusing to try again, refusing to get back up again, refusing to push yourself – that’s what makes you a failure. So get up, dust yourself off, and go back to trying to accomplish incredible feats and do the things that others may dream of doing but never manage to do.

Join 40 Day Writers Facebook Group

If you are ready to start risking more failure and put your work out there so you can start developing the confidence you need to succeed, I encourage you to join the totally free 40 Day Writers Facebook Group. It’s a friendly, confidential place to get the feedback and support you need to start developing your confidence just by showing up, sharing what you have, and engaging with the other writers in the forum. I hope to see you there.

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