Sarah May Bates
March 03, 2013 9:00 am

It’s a measure of great confidence and strength. It’s when your personal best happens. It’s when you decide to run as fast as you can and then you realize you actually can fly. Putting yourself out there and going for something that’s outside of your abilities-comfort-zone is hard to do because naturally, we don’t want to do things unless we’re good at them. But getting over that fear will give you more growth and strength and access to undiscovered talent than you could imagine. Push yourself to do things that scare you. Not in an irresponsible, “I might do something reckless,” kind of way, but in an, “I don’t know if I’ll do that well,” kind of way.

Failure provides the most fruitful kind of life-lesson, because it demands that you overcome fear and challenge yourself to be better. It also shows you where work/practice is needed. You can do anything you decide to do, you just have to want it. And then take one step at a time toward realizing that goal. Anything. Start small. And don’t give up.

If you’re venturing into an area that requires you have experience or special knowledge, go through the motions as if you do, and you’ll soon find that you’ve learned everything you need to in the process. Hence the term, “fake it ‘til you make it.” (Anything that might threaten anyone’s safety is of course not included in this group.) Many people might hold up false barriers to intimidate you from trying things. They might use big terms or fancy insider language to keep others out. If someone tends toward this it’s most likely because they feel insecure and threatened. It’s a defense mechanism and it’s full of air. Don’t be intimidated by it and never be afraid of asking questions. If it makes you feel better, call it out as you ask things, “This might be a dumb question, but—” 99% of the time that question will be in someone else’s mind at the exact same time. What you do by saying things like that is show people that you’re comfortable with yourself and your own intelligence.

If you feel that you have failed or not done a great job at something new, use those experiences as tools to learn more about yourself and grow stronger because of it. There is nothing wasted in a learning experience. It’s your job to see that and to use it to your full advantage. Take notes on what you would change, how you would change it, and retain those in your toolbox for the next time. Don’t wallow in self-pity or waste energy on negative thoughts. That would be the real failure. Make a strong effort to forgive yourself and stop the self-punishing. Keep looking ahead. Know that you will benefit from this experience down the road. When a negative thought enters your mind, stop, redirect. Look forward. Nothing is lost.

To have “failed” or “messed up” means you have learned something that you hope to not repeat. It simply means you tried your hardest with the conditions you were in, and things didn’t come out the way you wanted. Keep your expectations around results, realistic. If you are expecting something super-human or perfect every time, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. On the other hand, when you try something new and succeed, own it. Be proud of yourself. Don’t feel bad about savoring that feeling. There aren’t many times like this in life. You deserve to enjoy it. This is only the beginning.

When you try new things and go through the motions of acting out something previously beyond your reach, you will quickly realize that that thing is so much more doable than you previously assumed. You’ll also find that practicing that kind of bravery will become more natural to you. You’ll find that you are more comfortable outside of your comfort zone. When you present a willingness and desire to try to do something that you might not have a whole lot of experience with, and you’re honest about that, people will help you. They’ll coach and support you. And as long as you try, you’ll come out the end with positive results that you need for future success.

If you’re the over-achiever type, failure can be a miserable thing to deal with. The next time you’re in a place where you’re feeling like you “messed up” and you have disappointed yourself or others somehow, stop and step back from the situation to acknowledge that those feelings are not tied to the current situation. They are triggered by a familiar emotion, but they are irrational. They are harsh judgments from a younger self that believes that they have the power to affect everything in their environment. A self that aspires to be “super human” and believes that that they can control everything if they just try hard enough. Well, that control is an illusion. Things that do not go perfectly to plan are not your fault. You cannot do everything, and you will do the best you can in any given situation with the tools you are dealt. Trust that and forgive your self as soon as possible.

As soon as you accept that you are not super-human, you will be able to become your most empowered and best self. Being your best self means loving and accepting of all of yourself – and trusting where your heart lies in your lowest times. You can only be great when you are fully aware of yourself and supportive of that self.  The best thing you could do at any point in time – ever – is keep yourself healthy and balanced and happy, so that you can do more of what “you” do. Never waste a shred of your energy on making yourself feel bad. Use all of it to make yourself feel good. Know that the bumps in the road are much smaller that they feel, and your perception is the true author of what is negative. Work on seeing yourself from a different vantage point. You are learning, trying, growing, succeeding. Take extra good care of your mental and emotional health, and never dismiss it as selfish or frivolous. Because then you will be more ready to be the best you that you can be.

Happy Sunday, peeps!!! xo Sarah

Featured image via ..Kristen..

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