For the most part, we have almost no training in how to deal with failure. Therefore, moving into the unknown is a threat to us. If we look up failure in the dictionary, it says, “The state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective.” How threatening does that sound? Not very, right? Well, that’s all it really is. But for us human beings, it’s way more emotionally charged than simply the lack of achieving a result. For us, failure isn’t about an unachieved task, a relationship that didn’t work out or a poorly taught or practiced yoga class. It’s about what it means to us if we’re considered a failure and how others see us. There is only one thing worse than “I failed,” and that is, “I am a failure.” I am turns it into a declaration about our very existence as human beings, not a statement about how we showed up on the mat, on the court or in the trenches of life.
All of that self-condemnation comes up, and we become afraid of taking risks or focusing on doing things right or not at all. But we have the ability to break free from that. We can embrace the possibility of failure. We can see it as a rich part of our learning process and trust that every breakdown leads to a breakthrough, to new pathways of action. Releasing that fear of inadequacy opens up a whole other level of freedom. And in freedom lies power.
ACTION TO TAKE
The practice of learning to dissolve fear when it comes up helps to get past the issue. Next time you experience fear, identify and locate the fear in your body. Do you feel tightness in your chest? Are you palms sweating? Is your heart racing? Once you’ve located the fear, feel and experience it fully until it loosens its grip on you. Don’t stuff it back down or brush it aside—feel it. Practice this whenever fear comes up and, you will eventually discover the freedom to fully express yourself from an authentic place.
“Doubt your doubts and they vanish. Feel your fears and they fade. Let go of your worries and they fail to materialize.” —Baron Baptiste
DON’T WISH FOR IT. WORK FOR IT.