Taking the shame out of failure

business failure perseverance Oct 25, 2021

There were so many great takeaways from our interview with Larry- but none has stuck with me quite like this one. Failure is just an unsuccessful attempt. I can’t even tell you how much my mind was blown when I heard this! It was straight up a light bulb moment.

For me, failure has always been about shame. The shame of not being good enough, strong enough, or even smart enough. I didn’t hit that ball because I was bad. I didn’t make an A because I was dumb. I did get first in swimming because I was weak. There was something fundamentally wrong with ME which is why I failed. I have been afraid of failure my whole life. It is why I always played it safe. I knew in my Junior year of college that teaching was not my passion. But I was too afraid to fail at trying anything else that I just stuck with it. What would people say? What would people think? It was always surrounded by so much shame. 

When Larry said these 6 words - it radically changed my perspective on so many times I “failed.” When we had to fire our first employee - holy shit was that a failure and we were so afraid to ever hire again. Now, I can look at that and say- geez that was an unsuccessful attempt at firing somebody. Now, I know how I should do it. When I failed at being the inspirational teacher I thought I would be - I thought that meant I had no place in ever mentoring or teaching people ever again. Now - I can look at that time as an unsuccessful attempt at doing something I was meant to do. My failure  wasn’t about me - but about the place and the time.

Changing my perspective changed the way I look at my failures. They aren’t failures - but rather turning points, benchmarks, and learning opportunities to try it again and make it better. It took away decades of shame and fear of my perceived wrong steps and wrong paths and made me look hard at why I was so ashamed of not being perfect. What an eye opener and what a gift that Larry gave me - a gift to let go of all that shame and all that fear and to just live. 

I hope this episode brings you as much peace and inspiration as it brought me. 



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