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None of us wants to admit that we have failed at something and yet, in my view, failure is not an option. It will happen at some point in your life. So perhaps the issue is not whether you fail or not but how you deal with failure when it happens.

Let me propose an alternate thesis to what you can do when you fail versus what you most likely have been doing. Most of you will travel the path of self-recrimination coupled with ample doses of self-criticism. The option – treat failure as a time of celebration.

Before you throw something at me, let me explain the process. Take a moment and turn back the clock of time. Remember the many great lessons you have learned from life. As you do a quick life review, recall the two or three greatest lessons you have learned from your life experience to date. Ask yourself this: ” Did I learn this from a great success or from a significant failure?”

My guess is, that if you are really honest with yourself, failure will be the word that comes up. Here are some of my examples:

–      That time in university where partying and play overtook my desire to study and I almost failed my year. I had never faced the possibility of failure before –it shook me to the core when that ’D’ appeared on my transcript. Suddenly I had a new-found respect for the need to study and my desire to complete my degree.

–      Or that time not so long ago when I accepted a full-time job even when my intuition was telling me not to go there. My intuition was right – the job was not a perfect fit. Giving it up after 9 months felt like failure (I don’t give up!) and I learned some very valuable lessons. I remembered why I had started my own business and that I did not want to work for anyone else any more. I gained some extraordinary business wisdom which I have since applied to my own organization.

–      Or that time where Jim and I drifted too far apart in our relationship and almost lost our way. This may have been my strongest sense of failure ever. I really believe is us and our marriage. Facing this failure down taught me everything I needed to know about re-building our relationship to where we are today.

There have also been numerous business failures – poor investments of money and time, bad decisions regarding training approaches – the list go on.

Failure makes us human. More importantly, other than offering us life’s most important lessons, it also offers contrast.

In ME FIRST vocabulary contrast is what you need to have so you can decide what you really want. Failure represents what it is you don’t want to repeat or to attract on a regular basis. With the experience of failure you can turn things around and define what it is you want to fill your life with. I enjoy looking at my own life through the lens of, “Well that was less than perfect’ and then imagining what it is I would rather have.

Failure is just like that – it shows you what you don’t want. Here’s the good news – you get to choose again!.

That said are you ready now to bless your failures? Okay, maybe that is going too far so let me suggest a slight modification. Here is it: Everything you have experienced in life is perfect.

Still a stretch?

I’ll explain – you are the sum total of all of your life experiences. You are the person you are today because of what you have experienced which includes both successes and failures. If you agree that life’s’ great lessons stem from your failures, then they are perfect events in your life. They taught you what you needed to know. There no longer is any need to feel guilt or remorse over something that happened in the past. Simply chalk it up to experience and be grateful it happened.

Here’s the deal. If you want to learn and grow and expand and reach for more, failure is NOT an option. If you can learn to bless the failures, see them as lessons and laugh at yourself a little more, you are going to be far healthier and happier. The thing is, you get to choose how you respond. Choose well for YOU!

Until next time,

Betty

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