How to Succeed when Failing


Failure. Yuck!!!! I gotta tell you, this feeling SUCKS. Here I am, reflecting on the fact that I put my whole heart and soul into a competition and DIDN’T WIN THE GRAND PRIZE :(

There is a part of my mind that wants to spiral down into shame and self-doubt and misery. It’s easy to go there - I have made a lifetime habit of it! But if I pause and simply FEEL INTO this experience, I sense something deeper that wants to emerge. And I’m not just talking about “positive thinking” and focusing on all the good that has come from this experience (although there is plenty of that, and remembering it certainly helps!) But there is more I can do here. There is a third path. Rather than descend into darkness or gloss over this experience, what if I LEAN INTO IT? 

What if I allow myself to fully feel the sensation of loss that is washing over me? 

At first, it terrifies me. I want to hide. I want to fume with anger and bitterness. And then…I am overcome with a sense of softness. A raw openness, a deep unbounded connection to everyone who has ever felt disappointment or rejection before. 

And a deeper than ever before desire to help them all. 

It’s so beautiful, it moves me to tears. I feel a power surging within me. Alongside the fire that is propelling me forward with such terrific momentum, I now also sense a fluidity of depth and poignancy that connects me to the WHY of this mission. 

Failure, loss sorrow - these are things we all feel. And yet we live in a world that wants to reject this powerful and necessary part of human existence. 

We want to pretend that we can always be happy, that we can simply wish away the pain that comes from living a finite life. Or we get lost in the tragedy and our days become bleak and overwhelming.

My mission is to teach the next generation how to find the third road. 

How to go INTO these feelings and allow them to TRANSFORM us. 

Deciding that failure is “bad” and success is “good” is an arbitrary distinction. How am I to know that this failure isn’t exactly the thing I needed to propel me forward?

What if this experience gives me the fuel that will allow me to CHANGE THE WORLD??

When that thought dawns on me, how can I possibly stay in my small, limited frame of mind? How can I take this experience personally?? I can’t. And that’s the beauty of the third way. 

When we approach our feelings with curiosity and openness, we touch into a source of power so great it can move mountains within us.

So here I am. Raw, vulnerable, exposed. And bursting with a river of compassion, gratitude, and love. Knowing that I am exactly where I need to be. And trusting deeper than ever before in my desire to make this world a brighter place. 

I guess it’s hard to argue that this experience is “bad” then, isn’t it? :)

Hayley Watsonmusings