Daily Archives: September 9, 2019

Failure Is Always An Option

Category : Uncategorized

photo credit: chuttersnap @chuttersnap – unsplash

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash

We fear failure. We fear what people will think of us when we fail. we fear loosing our reputation and we fear being rejected if we fail. The fear of failure can be oeverwhelming and even paralyzing. it can prevent us from seizing opportunities, making new feriends and trying new things. We can become so afraid of failing that we won,t even take the first step needed to step out of this paralysis.

Throughout most of our lives, the message that failure is not an option has been drilled into us especially through our educational years. The whole point, in school, was to pass all the tests regardless of whether we actually learned anything or not. And what di we actually learn? Well, for one thing, we learned that failure was frowned upon and even could become a source of ridicule and punishment. Even outside of school, in sports or life in general, failure has been seen as something very negative to be avoided as it brings a sense of shame in the way we feel people perceive us.

It is unfortunate that the word failure is associated with negative experiences and perceptions because, in fact, it is really only through failing, which s really just a way that we found that doesn’t work, that we can learn to do better. Failure gives a new slate to analyze, adjust and make new plans about how to improve or change. Failure is a school within itself.

In their book, A Leader’s Legacy, authors Kouzes and Posner, write:

“Failure is not an option is one f the dumbest ever uttered. It ranks right up there with “get it right the first time”, another well-intended management nostrum that just encourages people to play it safe”

It is crazy when you think about it. When we are doing something for the first time that we have never done before, it is quite normal that we will not get it right. When we are learning how to do something, a new skill, a new job or anything, “not getting it right” is part of the process and failure is expected. Everything new is at first unknown and unpredictable. We need to fish around to discover the rules, the limits, the tricks, the shortcuts and everything else we need to eventually succeed.

Take the example of Micheal Jordan, an excellent example of perseverance and leadership. When Michael Jordan was in high school, he did not make the cut for the basketball team. He apparently was not good enough. Later, as a professional basketball player, he describes his own failures this way:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that’s why I succeed”.

Failure is not an event or a person

Failure is not an event and it is not a person; it is a process. It depends on how you view it. Some people actually view their failures as defining who they are. Thay will actually call themselves a failure – if that is you, please stop because failure is not a person; it is part of a process. If you say that you are a failure, you are actually taking away your power to learn from the process and preventing success in the future. A lot of the time this tendency to attribute failure to who we are goes back to what we earned about failure in school. Maybe failure was punished or maybe failure was used as a reason to ridicule others. But the truth is that failure is how we learn.

The Learning Curve

Learning is never in a straight line; in fact, nothing in life is in a straight line. No matter how well we may think we are doing something or how comfortable we are in how we do it, there is and always will be a better way. This is the nature of innovation and application of new information. Progress and learning depend on adapting and adjusting to new input and new information. Sometimes and even often,, the learning curve will go down into the negative (perceived failure) before shooting up into the positive quadrant (success). It may continue going up or it may go up and down- it is a continual process.

Perfect Expectations

We tend to have such a fear of failing that we set up unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We tell ourselves that we are not going to fail, that we are going to it right the first time, that even though others have failed, we will be different. Doing so is unrealistic and ridiculous, really. We are human and humans always make mistakes especially when first starting out at anything. We will fail and we will disappoint ourselves and others. We will let people down who were counting on us and we will make mistakes. This is to be expected. what matters is not the failures themselves but how we handle the failures.

Admit we are not perfect

When we failures or mistakes in a positive way, by admitting that we make them and that we are not perfect, we gain credibility in the eyes of others. By doing so, people recognize themselves and their own failings in us and they are more willing to be accepting and tolerant of our failings. It really comes down to humans being human with other humans. Furthermore, when we are willing to accept our mistakes and failures, we are also more tolerant of the failures of others. This acceptance creates an atmosphere of trust and security.

Charles Kettering, founder of Delco said:

“It doesn’t matter if you try, try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail and fail to try again”.

Some helpful points

In his book Giving Candy to Strangers, author Stan Holden gives several positive points to “creatively build relationships and get you over the fear of failure”.

  • You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person.
  • Don’t assume the outcome of the conversation.
  • Don’t worry about what others may think.
  • Don’t overanalyze the situation before it has occurred.
  • Don’t worry about making mistakes (if you are not making mistakes occasionally, you are doing something wrong).
  • Don’t hesitate
  • Do listen, be friendly and empathetic

And finally….

Failure is not the enemy; fear is the enemy. Failure opens up new doors of opportunity and teaches us what doesn’t work so that we can find out what does. Everyone fails whether they choose to admit it or not. Failure makes us human. We overestimate our mistakes and turn them into catastrophes when, in reality, this is only a perception.

I will leave you with the words of one of the most famous “failures:: Thomas Edison:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not know how close they were to success when they gave up.”

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


Category : Uncategorized

photo credit Sam Manns @sammanns94 – unsplash

“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over”. Octavia Butler

Friendship is such a fragile relationship and quite difficult to develop in today’s high tech, disposable world. We tend to be more high-tech than high- touch. We are often far too busy to have time for friendships and even less to maintain them. And it’s often hard to know who to trust; we don’t want to open up to just anyone. Often it is much easier to maintain relationships at a surface level that doesn’t require too much of an effort either in time or emotional energy. There are several reasons why friendship, that is to say, truly lasting friendships are hard to come by.

I wanted to explore friendship through two books that deal with the subject from different perspectives. One is Grown-up girlfriends, by authors Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver. The second is Resolved  -13 Resolutions for Life by Orrin Woodward. In the first book, the authors discuss various aspects of friendships such as boundaries, communication, conflict, and forgiveness as well as destructive friendships and letting go of friendships. One of the chapters focuses on understanding where friendships fit in terms of their depth or level of intimacy.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
– Unknown

Three Levels of Friendship

The book, Grown-up Girlfriends, outlines three baskets of friendship or levels of intimacy to evaluate how our friends fit into our life. The authors do not intend for this to be a sorting or triage system, but instead to be a way of understanding the nature of each of our relationships. Essentially it is looking at circles of friendship from the outer circle to the inner circle. Bear in mind, these baskets and their contents can shift as friendships grow, develop, change, deepen or even terminate. All relationships have a lifespan and all require investment and meeting of needs.

Basket #3 Acquaintances

These friends may start off as just a casual interaction such as greeting the person who serves you coffee at the coffee shop each day. You come to know her because you see her every day and you develop a bond based on this interaction. It may also be the person in the grocery store employee that you see week after week. These are friendly regular, but casual friendships. They may come to know you and what you like, such as how you like your coffee or what kinds of products you prefer to buy.

Basket #2 Good Friends or Companions

With these friends in this “basket”, you share common interests and maybe similar viewpoints or values and beliefs. This friendship leaves the scope of the casual interaction seen in the third basket. with these friends, you might go out for coffee or do a sport together based on a shared enthusiasm for that sport. There is definitely a defined reason for this friendship and the bond may last for a certain time and then dissolve or it may develop into a long-term friendship.

Basket # 1  Friends Who Know Everything About You

This basket is your inner circle and is usually very small. These friends not only know your hopes and dreams and share feelings with you, but they also have the permission and freedom to know the good, the bad and the ugly. They know you well. With these friends, we open up more to share our deeper concerns such as our fears and our failures. There is also the freedom to speak the truth and be honest with one another, even if it hurts.

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
– Winnie the Pooh

Friendship: A Deeper Level

In the book Resolved- 13 Resolutions for Life (Chapter 7), the author discusses 8 Principles of true friendship or basket number 1, according to  Grown-Up Girlfriends. This chapter is one of  13 Chapters modeled off the 13 Resolutions of Benjamin Franklin. Here are the eight principles:

True Friends Form around Shared Insights

These friendships go from a level of companionship to a deeper level in which there are love and respect between them. It is a much deeper bond than simply sharing opinions and thoughts over coffee. This not what Aristotle called the two counterfeit friendships, one based on utility (what can you do for me?) and the other based on pleasure or fun (golfing buddies). This friendship has belief and trust.

True Friends Accept One Another

This approval means overlooking the other person’s weakness and shortcomings and accepting him or her just the way they are and valuing them. This level of friendship loves anyway regardless of mistakes, and faults and allows space and freedom for the other person to grow. It is supportive.

True Friends Approve of One Another

Where acceptance means just aking a person as they are, approval goes a step further by giving what the author calls “relationship oxygen”. This fresh air gives a person the freedom to breathe, be himself and open up. Approving means taking the step to allow yourself to be genuinely impressed by the other person and take an interest in what they do or like. It is showing a level of admiration especially traits or abilities that might not be noticed by others.

True Friends Appreciate One Another

Appreciation builds on both acceptance and approval to where the value of the person is highlighted and his uniqueness is communicated to him by way of pointing out all the positive things about him. The focus is on building the person up in a positive way personally and in the presence of others. When we appreciate another person, we are also challenging and encouraging them to grow, to become even a better version of themselves.

True Friends Listen with Empathy

The author points out that it is through listening that we can show acceptance, approval, and appreciation. Listening gives us an opportunity to learn more about another person, to learn about what makes them tick, what brings him joy, what frightens him and what hopes and dreams he may have. Empathetic listening is really listening to be able to share in the other person’s experience. It gives the other person a safe space to open up.

True Friends Celebrate One Another’s Success

When we celebrate another’s successes and victories we are happy for them. We are their cheerleader. We can celebrate with them, admire their achievements without becoming envious of them. True friends do not get caught up in petty jealousy or in begrudging another person for what they have received or achieved. True friends share dreams, hopes as well as struggles and losses. They are in for the good, the bad and the ugly. They are on the mountain tops together and in the trenches.

True Friends Are Trustworthy

Trust comes from being authentic and supportive. It is the practice of maintaining confidence and having one another’s back. Trusts allow both people in friendship to open up about more personal things that they might not otherwise feel comfortable sharing. And trust means not betraying the confidence of the other. It means having their back, but not going behind their back to gossip or speak badly of them.

True Friends are loyal

Loyalty means trustworthiness in the friend’s presence and away from their presence. It stands up for their character, honor, and reputation where it is required, but it doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with them on all accounts and when they are clearly in the wrong. A loyal friend will address problems and concerns privately and stand by them as a person publicly. And a loyal friend does not jump ship when the going gets tough or when stuff hits the fan. A loyal friend is a stormy weather friend, not just a fairweather friend.

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Diana Lynne enjoys travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca



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