How to Fail and Feel Good About It


Failure is such a taboo word in our culture. But when we’re making changes in our lives, we’re certain to fail as we try different strategies. The good news is every failure is a reason to celebrate! Why? Because it gives you a direct experience of what doesn’t work. It’s an excellent way to get clarity.

Recently, I committed to being more patient. I felt confident that I could do it. I was properly motivated with all the reasons why this was a good thing. Then BAM! While I was working on a computer issue, impatience reared its ugly head. I lashed out at the person who was helping me, hostage to this reactive pattern. Our interaction went cold. Communication shut down. I tried to salvage it and backtrack my words but it was too late.

Afterwards, I felt so disappointed. I tried to rationalize the situation to feel better. I tried putting some of the blame on the other person. Until I realized this was a great opportunity to understand just how counterproductive my impatience was. How crappy it made me feel! Rather than resist what felt unpleasant (another habit I have) I accepted it. I chose to give myself permission to be okay with my “failure”.

This is not easy to do when you pride yourself on being a “let’s get it done” person.

With this little bit of breathing room, I was able to get some distance. To look at the situation as an outsider, as if it happened to someone else. I got curious about what it would be like weeks, months, years down the road if I continued like this. What kind of person would I be? How many people would want to engage with me – if I didn’t change?

Then I asked myself why? Why am I impatient? What’s going to happen if things don’t happen on my expected timetable? And that’s when the underlying truth smacked me in the face like ice water. I was afraid of looking dumb! Impatience was my way to avoid the fear that my flaws could be showing!

I laughed remembering that second grade ended years ago. That’s when I knew I could outsmart this impatience habit. The adult in me decided when impatience showed up, I was simply going to tell it…”we’re all doing the best we can.”

Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Who hasn’t heard this advice before?

The difference was, I was making a conscious choice at a moment of heightened awareness. Because I had been focusing my attention on what I wanted MORE of every day by writing it down (patience), the absurdity of my impatience was glaringly obvious. This probably wouldn’t have happened if I was still living my life on auto pilot.

That’s a big win.

I wrote down my new mantra several times. Every time I scribbled it I felt lighter, happier and more in charge of my destiny. It cleared any lingering resistance. This opened the door to ideas about what I could have done to resolve my computer issues. Solutions that were out of reach with impatience blocking the way.

There’s a lot of freedom and even a few laughs in failure – when you use it the right way.

What did you “fail” at this week that you can celebrate?


Today’s action item-What didn’t work the way you thought it would this week? Write it down.  What’s the impact down the road if you don’t make the necessary changes? Write it down. Then turn it around into a plus for you. Make it work in your favor any way you can. Then celebrate yourself for failure that feels good all weekend long!

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