Suzanne Mulvehill - The Fear of Failure

1. How to recover from failure and get back on the road to success...

a. Love yourself through it. First and foremost - love yourself - give yourself a hug for your


effort - be good to yourself - no matter what! You tried and that is what matters...just try a different way next time.

b. Expand yourself from the failure. Accept failure and keep going - Now you know what failure feels like. It's okay, you didn't die from it. The key here is to keep going - will you give up here? You do get to choose. I know a man who started a business and it failed, so he went to work with his father - that was 30 years ago and he's still in a nice and safe job. He consciously or unconsciously decided NOT to expand from failure. We can either shrink or expand from failure - we get to choose.

c. Learn from the failure - what will you do different this time? We learn more from failure and from things and situations that challenge us than from dealing with easy situations. Success has come to me through difficulty, through challenges, through pain, through fear, through failure, through courage, success is an outcome of perseverance.

d. Find a failure mentor - I think of Mr. Heinz - from Heinz ketchup - that little pickle on EVERY bottle of Heinz ketchup is reminder to me that greatness if often followed by failure. Mr. Heinz went bankrupt and was 20,000 in debt in 1869 with the failure of his pickle company. What did he do? He started a ketchup business! And we all know of Heinz ketchup – it’s worldwide.

e. Embrace your fear of failure. Change your thinking about failure - look at failure as a stepping stone to success. Redefine your idea of failure. For example, for years I thought I would fail. I saw myself as a bag lady with two small children. Fear and failure seem to entertain each other. If I didn't want to look at my fear, thoughts of failure would creep in.

f. Create a healthy self dialog - I have to do this all the time. Okay, so this didn't work - it's okay, Suzanne. What did I learn from this? Then I say my mantra, "If I am making mistakes I am making progress, it's only when I repeat the same mistakes that I am staying stuck."

g. Go out and scare yourself - do things that stretch your limits - and stretch yourself regularly - expand those limits in small ways, so you can expand them in ALL ways. For example, in 1993, the first day on the job, I had a panic attack and fell on the ground - and actually threw up too - it was one of the most embarrassing times in my life. I wanted to quit, hide, ANYTHING but keep going. But I went back to work the next day and had a panic attack and the next day and had a panic attack and so on and so on... I had many, many panic attacks - but they didn't stop me I was promoted within three months to supervise a department of 250 people and still had panic attacks. I've have had to stretch my limits - beyond my comfort zone. Think about it - I speak professionally today - I own a training company - how did I do it? - By stretching myself - be being uncomfortable A LOT.

What lessons can be learned from failure?

2. What lessons can be learned from failure?

Great question! Many lessons! ...from my own experience...

a. Failure teaches us what doesn't work.
b. Failure gives us an opportunity to try it again differently.
c. Failure teaches us about humility - helps us prepare for change.
For example, as I've shared I quit my job three times before I could leave for good. I failed twice at doing something I wanted to do! Failure taught me to be humble, that I was not God, that I was human and that I needed help.
d. Failure teaches us to ask for help.
e. Failure teaches us to be willing vs. willful.
f. Failure teaches us the need for spiritual connection.
g. Failure teaches us to grow - personally and professionally -to expand our prior limits.
h. Failure teaches us about ourselves.
i. Failure teaches us to love ourselves.
j. Failure teaches us to serve - to me, that is the ultimate lesson.

When is failure okay?

3. When is failure okay?

Failure is always okay - it is a teacher, a great teacher. One of my favorite sayings is, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." It's when we are willing to learn and grow from it that failure actually becomes a tool - to change us - to expand us. Have you ever noticed that similar situations often repeat themselves until we learn the lesson?

That is why failure is always okay, because sooner or later, we will pay attention. And then we need to choose - will we learn and grow or will we give in to the failure?

There is a saying that when the pain outweighs the pleasure, we'll do something different. Failure teaches us that we can always change and grow. The key is not to succumb to the failure and give up on yourself. Too many people stop trying and get comfortable.

© 2008. Emotional Endurance Institute