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Failure means you’re showing up

After watching Brene Brown’s talk to sweaty creatives, I was inspired by her attitude about failure. I had written about celebrating failure as a means of becoming successful, but not about how to tolerate failure.

Wholeheartedness. There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.

— Brene Brown

Brene speaks about creatives needing to become vulnerable in the toughest moments, reserving spaces for ourselves and our critics so that we can hear and move on from criticism. To keep moving forward, despite this type of failure – failing inner or outer critics – can be hard.

While I have made strides to make myself feel more productive and successful, dealing with failure can still be stressful. Next time you’re feeling failure, see if you can:

Make it a game

How many times can you fail in a month? Count up the rejections, non-responses, whatever you’d like to track. This month, I have been rejected from 7 roles and counting. This total won’t include the roles you simply never hear back from, but it let’s you know you’ve been putting yourself out there often enough to get rejected.

Track your successes

Feeling like you’ve failed can be mitigated by remembering the big things you’ve accomplished or the smaller wins. I may not have landed a dream role, but I have received 2 new clients in the past couple weeks. And I finished developing my product prototype. Have these wins in a handy place so you can refer to them when you start to feel a little down.

Do something you can win at quickly

Got rejected? Do something you can mark off your list as “DONE” that makes you feel good about yourself. For me, it’s exercise. Getting in a workout, run, or fitness class makes me feel like I’ve made progress today. Maybe it’s a client meeting, blog post, or meditation – do something you can be proud of yourself for.

Get inspired

I listen to people like Brene Brown or a TED talk to help myself get inspired by others’ failures. By understanding that you’re not alone in failing, it makes it that much easier to accept and move forward.

Remember the more you fail, the closer you are to moving forward

I kept getting upset that I was receiving interviews and roles for opportunities I wasn’t interested in. Every time this happened, I felt like I was digging myself deeper since there had to be something wrong with what I was communicating or my approach. I slowly shifted my view to say, “I appreciate this opportunity. Even if it’s not what I’m looking for, it’s still a step in the right direction.”

“Failing means you’re showing up.” I loved that Brown said this since it reminds me that there is no other choice but to keep showing up, keep failing, and keep moving forward.

What helps you deal with your inner critic?

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