Pushing Through the Mud to Blossom on the Other Side: Embracing failure as a necessary part of personal growth

TDB Fitness Newsletter 5/8/2022

Failure is never comfortable. However, it is a natural part of any growth process. Oftentimes, we let our fear of failure hold us back from growing in important ways. In this week’s newsletter we discuss how leaning into failure can actually improve our lives!

Failure as a catalyst for growth

Our society is obsessed with success. Comparing ourselves to one another is a normal part of human cognition and socialization. However, especially with the influence of social media, we can get lost in comparison culture. We can want so badly to succeed that failure often carries the weight of shame; convincing us to quit or isolate from potential systems of support. This attitude towards failure often impacts us more negatively than failure itself.

I am a classic perfectionist. I have struggled with the fear of failure my entire life. This fear of failure held me back from a lot in my life. I was so unwilling to be vulnerable, I refused to do anything I wasn’t guaranteed to succeed at. Therefore, in the name of personal growth here’s a short list of the positive consequences of failure:

  1. Failure teaches you how to problem-solve. Our worst thoughts about ourselves often try to convince us that failure is some kind of proof of our inability to achieve something. That is likely untrue. More often, trying a different approach — or several different approaches — will get you what you want in the long run. This process of trial and error helps you build extraordinary problem-solving skills. As with anything, the more you practice reflecting on your process and being flexible – the better you get at it. Problem-solving skills benefit you in all areas of your life!
  2. Failure makes trying next time less scary. The more things you try, the more often you will fail. It’s kind of just a fact. But then, sometimes just doing the thing is the point. Sometimes playing the game is fun, and you don’t always have to win. Sometimes the full belly laughs that come with trying to put up a shelf with your sister for a full afternoon is more enriching to your life than the ability to put anything on that shelf. And, that’s ok. Stringing together these small adventures in failure are oftentimes what we call our best memories. And every time we try something new, and fail at it, we realize the shame isn’t going to kill us. And we become willing to do it again.
  3. Failure helps you figure out the right path for you. Sometimes we set goals that are not appropriate for us. That’s why it’s always important to reflect on your failures. Rather than embracing negative self talk, think about the source of your failure. Do your best to stay objective — not everything is for you. Was it a problem with motivation? Capacity? Approach? Are you even interested in the thing anymore? Even if you ultimately scrap your goal the process wasn’t necessarily a waste of time. What did you learn on your journey that may interest you more? Did you gain any new skills that could translate to something new or unexpected?

Now, whenever I consider trying something new, I play the “Worst case scenario,” game. What is the worst case scenario if I fail? More often than not, the worst part about potentially failing is embarrassment. The shame that someone may witness me not being an expert at something. However, I’ve been embarrassed many times before – and I’m sure I will embarrass myself again no matter how experienced I am at something. It’s part of the human condition.

Letting go of the shame I always associated with failure made the idea of failing way more approachable. Failure is always a potential outcome. I had to accept that and make the decision for myself; is the potential embarrassment of failing really worth holding myself back from learning, experiencing, or witnessing things that could benefit my growth? Not for me anymore.

Team Announcements

Happy Mother’s Day Mamas!

Vinnie and I are inspired daily by the Mama’s on our Team! Always working hard; for their families, at their jobs, and on their own personal growth. We love and admire you all and hope your Mother’s Day is as special as you!

New Package Offerings!

Take a look at our updated packages page! TDBFitness is a small business from Ypsilanti, MI. We offer in person and virtual fitness plans, individualized goal setting, and lifestyle coaching.

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