Showing posts tagged with: failure

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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Failure is an option

by Ros Kitson

10 12, 2010 | Posted in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Yesterday evening, a friend said he was thinking of auditioning for a part in our local. However he wasn't sure if he should because his mum has told him he can't sing. He asked me what I thought (well he might not of actually asked, but I volunteered my opinion anyway), which was that he should go for it as the experience was worth as much as the outcome.

It got me thinking of how often we don't try something for fear of failure. I think at least one of my parents has this philosophy: my dad has a strong identity with what he can and can't do. And my mum was very protective of me when I was younger so I'm sure would have tried to draw me away from anything that could cause me distress (like the disappointment of failure). I'm sure I'm not alone in having these experiences. But are they the best thing for us as we grow up?
I put a comment on Facebook yesterday which prompted a friend to point me towards Richard Branson's biography. He is one of the most famous examples of someone who failed over and over again in his quest to find success. I haven't read it yet but I've been told it's an inspiring read. It puts the whole failure issue into a different light.
In order to grow, we have to learn and the easiest way to do this is from our own life experiences. And in order to have experience, we must take action. If we're going to get better at something, we must have started off at a lower level of competence, so it therefore follows that we're going to fail a few times before we reach the level we call success.
So, while I wish my friend lots of luck with his audition, I also wish him the wisdom and growth that comes should he fail. And I thank him for being the inspiration for this blog post.

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