There is a certain satisfaction that comes from being good at something. We go to school and try to get good grades. We want to be the best at our jobs to have good performance reviews. We want to get a few goals and hit the right notes in our extracurricular activities. We want to be the best friend, spouse, parent, child, and sibling that we can be. We want to be good at what we do – it feels good.
But what happens to us when we try something new for the first time when our sense gratification comes from success? What happened the first time you learned long division – were you good at it? I certainly was not. What about your first week at your new job? That promotion? Starting a new business? Playing an instrument? I’m guessing that like most of us, you weren’t the best you could be on that first day, that first week, even that first year!
Somewhere along the development of our western society, we moralized failure and success. Being successful means that you are good at something and that is right. Failing at something means that you are bad at something and that is wrong. But, doesn’t failing at something at the outset mean that you have room for growth and improvement? If you are intent on growing within yourself, your strengths, and your limitations, you have to be willing to fail. Failure can simply be the beginning of something great.
Intently doing something that you know you are bad at or that you are uncomfortable with feels like running into a burning building – it is risky, it is not pretty, and you might fail. If you are serious about starting something new, you need to find your purpose within it and then make the risk worth it. You have to become comfortable being uncomfortable. Sara Blakely, the founder of a successful company says if she doesn’t do something new that’s going to grow her every week, she starts feeling uncomfortable. What would be possible for you if instead of being afraid of failure, you were excited to fail so that you could grow?
Some specific steps that you can take to help you be comfortable with failing are:
- Find the “why” behind what’s worth it for you to be bad at.
- Try it – you may be bad at it at the beginning but you will get better! It’s the beginning of growth.
- You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
This change in mindset will radically transform your life. You will find the strength to do the things you have wanted to do instead of finding fear around every longing and desire. You will not be great at everything, but you will never know if you don’t try. Begin growing today and take a risk at trying something new that you are almost certain you will fail at.