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  • Writer's pictureStephen

Forward vs Failure

In light of my recent messages related to ending and starting the new year well (ReflectProject (the Verb), and Grace), I thought I would add one more idea for us.

Forward vs Failure

Last week we thought about how we can offer ourselves and others Grace when we encounter situations where our intentions aren't fully met. That is absolutely critical to helping us maintain the right internal perspective and it can lead us to some significant actions. But what happens when we flat out Fail (which, by the way, is part of the inevitable process of being human!)? How can we face failure in a way so it doesn't completely sabotage us?

I'm so glad you asked. Here's my short answer - just keep moving forward! That's it.

Allow me to expand on that just a bit. As a person who has experienced failure, I know how easy it can be to allow that failure to stop me in my tracks. It's so tempting to fall into a space of self-loathing and self-criticism, flooding myself with lots of "shoulds" and "woulds," and then sprinkling in a hearty dose of "now what's" and "way to go's!"  I can literally become paralyzed from forward movement by focusing so much on the failure that I just get stuck there.  

However, if I can remember that most of the time failure isn't actually fatal, and in fact some of my greatest lessons of learning have come through my failures, then I can start shifting my attention off of the failure and back onto what it means to keep moving forward. This simple act of shifting my focus from the failure to a simple next step, can often be all that is necessary to help me keep moving forward.

Allow me to use an exaggerated example, but I think you'll get the application. Let's say I just got pulled over by a law enforcement officer for a traffic violation. If I stay focused on the failure (the ticket in my hand), I could sabotage myself into greater paralysis by making the decision that, "I should just stop driving altogether! That will prevent me from ever getting a ticket ever again!"  OR...I could shift my focus from the failure toward a simple movement forward and decide I am going to pay more attention to my driving while I am driving. (I know, seems like a wild idea, but you know how easy it is to get somewhere and realize your mind was somewhere else while you were driving and you don't remember exactly how you got there!)

Of course, it's easy to see how this connects to so many other situations. If we stay focused on the failure, we can get stuck in that space and sabotage ourselves. But, if we pause and think about how to shift our attention back to some simple forward movement, we can keep going and maybe even learn some valuable lessons from our failures!

Do you have any failures that are currently keeping you stuck? How could you start to shift your focus toward a simple step forward to help get yourself going again?  If you started by offering yourself some grace, how could that be the first step in shifting your focus? Then, what action could you take as a result of that grace which helps to move you forward?

Here's to focusing on Forward vs Failure this week!

Be Well,


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