Viewing posts from: February 2015

How Failure Keeps us Safe

by Ros Kitson

02 09, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 comments

Failure Keeping You SafeI've been talking recently with people who struggle to make a success of their passions.  The confusion that comes out of this is that, if we're following our passions, then life should be plain sailing.  In other words, it should be easy. I've fallen in to this trap of thought myself.  For some reason, I've often found that I get an initial success when I'm following a passion. I've chosen to interpret this as "being on the right track".  Therefore, I deduce, if I'm on the "right track" more successes will follow. But then they don't. So what's going on here.  Am I actually on the wrong track, or is something else going on? Well, I'm not on the wrong track.  I know what my passions are and even if I'm aiming for something that isn't my number one passion, that shouldn't be a reason to fail.   What is far more likely is that in order to succeed in my chosen area, I have to put myself out there in a far bigger way than I have before and it scares me. We are genetically evolved to try and stay safe.  Back in the times when real physical dangers lurked round every hill, it made more sense to stay close to your community.  Those with a sense of adventure were rare because we have an innate instinct for survival. So when we start a new venture nowadays, we're usually stepping into unknown territory.  There is unlikely to be actual physical danger in most of today's projects, but we will often be stepping outside our comfort zone.   Maybe we have to use skills we're not very confident at.  Maybe we have to work with new people.  It might not seem very difficult but if we're not used to it, it can feel quite terrifying. So, in order to feel safe, we have to fail.  We can't have it both ways.  So, unconsciously, we self-sabbotage.  This might mean we don't give a task all we could.  Or maybe we don't take up an opportunity that presents itself.  Because these behaviours are usual subconscious, we don't realise we're doing them.  So we believe we're doing all we can and wonder why the results aren't coming in. The solution doesn't lie in beating ourselves up for what we're not doing; the solution lies in overcoming our natural fears of pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone. No amount of therapy will get rid of all these fears.  It's a case of "feel the fear and do it anyway".  However, that's not to say that we don't have other blocks too that can be helped by therapy. I've personally found that the key to pushing myself out of my comfort zone, is to take steps that are big enough to move me forwards while staying small enough to make them achievable.  What some people don't realise is that outside our comfort zone is a "terror zone".   Pushing ourselves too far too fast is counter-productive as too much fear will paralyse us.  Finding the balance is what will enable us grow and move forwards. This balance will be different for different people.  It's no good trying to copy your friend or colleague.  It will come down to experimenting and good self-awareness. So if you feel like you are failing when you should be thriving, check out whether you are triggering your fears.  

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