Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Build on failure


By VERONICA HOYOS LEONARD

Most of us grow up with expectations of great success in life, and failure feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to us. After a failure we feel ashamed, depressed and fearful to try again. However, we need to overcome these negative thoughts and realize that nothing happens at random, every experience is a lesson we need to learn and with every lesson we become stronger, until nothing can stop us from achieving the vision we have about ourselves.

My best friend from childhood married a chemical engineer and her life has been smooth sailing with no struggles and hardships. Everything in her life looks great. She lives in Europe, travels all over the world and lives abundantly. However, this is not the reality for most of us. The life I want for my kids and me requires of me to take risks, and with risk comes the possibility of failure. I have failed so many times that my successful friend told me recently that she never met anyone with more survival skills than I. I take the compliment—I am a survivor.

My struggles may come to an end in June as I am starting a new job in Texas with a great company. But my appreciation for the new job opportunity is overwhelmed with my fear of failure. My reasonable mind tells me this job is very valuable because I would be earning a respectable salary with benefits, working for a sustainable greenhouse company with an opportunity for professional growth. However, my emotional mind experiences fear. Fear to leave my home, fear to move and fear to change my life. My biggest fear is losing my job. So how do I overcome this emotion?

An important part of overcoming the negative feeling of failure is to give myself permission to try again. I need to put my past behind, accept my participation on the outcome, learn from my mistakes and forgive the wrongdoings. Today I gave myself permission to go back to my career with the true intention to be successful, knowing that I have many gifts to contribute to my new employer.

Feeling low and inadequate is a normal feeling we all have. Instead of repeating the negative past events in my mind over and over, I make an effort to focus on what I want next by creating a new vision of my life in Texas.

The most difficult part about failure is to remain calm and centered. Failure makes you angry and frustrated, but we cannot opt for revenge—we need to channel our emotions to motivate ourselves to do something positive with our lives. I was so angry with my former boss that I wrote a long report on the Internet about him. I realized this action did not make any difference on the outcome and it only hurt me. So I deleted all the negative information. Being unforgiving is like drinking a spoonful of poison every day. Hate is self-poison.

Give yourself time. It takes time for the emotions to heal after a failure. While your emotions are healing, nurture your body by doing exercise and eating healthy foods. Also nurture your mind by watching funny movies and inspiring videos. I substituted CNN with Comedy Central. Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show" is one of my favorites.

Don't worry about what other people think or say about you. Don't ever read the performance reviews. Use their criticism to show them your determination to be successful. It is not the critic that counts, not the person that points out all your mistakes because any bonehead can criticize, nitpick and disapprove. The credit belongs to the person who strives fearlessly, who makes errors and comes short again and again, but keeps on trying. It takes character and self-control to be accepting of defeat and forgiving the people that caused you harm.

Going to Texas is a great opportunity, but everything has a risk. Sometimes I wonder if I'm making a mistake, if Texas is the right place for me, if I have what it takes to make this work. What I do know is that I cannot stop trying. I have two daughters and a mastiff dog to support, and I want more in life than the rejection, struggle and defeat that I am experiencing now. I know in my core that I must continue trying.

A definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and to expect different results. So I need to start my new venture with a new set of tools. The tools I learn from my past failures. Most of all I need to trust myself. I need to trust that I am bigger than my own experience of defeat. I am part of the universe.

My future is created by my commitment to the present, instead of my present being led by my fear of failure. So if I fail in Texas, I will stand up again and say, "I am ready for the next one." Today I let my fears go—I am a survivor.




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