I've heard from many of you over the past few months about the negative voices in your mind. The nasty self-talk that points out all your failings, how you aren't measuring up, how you might as well go out and eat worms....
I've heard those voices inside my mind too. Let's dive inside my mind to explore how to reorganize this negative stuff and navigate through.
That negative voice was gnawing at me since my last edition. It was saying "you don't have anything worth writing", "whose going to want to read it" "you should have got this out months ago" "you've failed" and on and on. And yes, I admit, I left those thoughts rolling around my mind unchecked. I wasn't really paying attention, but was aware that I wasn't finding time to sit down and write this. Something that I love to do!
I remembered the brilliant cycle of growth and the importance of failure within this cycle. A mentor of mine said "fail and embarrass yourself as often as you can for it means you are growing!" This helped me reorganize my thinking.
The cycle of growth goes like this:
We learn something new, we put it into practice and then we make a mistake or "fail." We then have more information about what else we need or what needs to be different. We learn something new. We put it into practice and we make a mistake again and "fail." Again we learn more of what is needed and on and on it goes.
This natural and vital part of the growth cycle, "failure" seems to set off so much shame and self-blame inside that it can shut us off from things that we love and from our growth! My delay in writing is a clear example of this. Thoughts about failure were getting in the way of moving forward with this edition. I forgot they're part of the process. Failure thoughts are actually just misguided thoughts that lead us to believe we should be able to get it right and never get it wrong! Ha! That's a funny one.
So my advice to you, because I know you love to grow, is to get on a first name basis with failure and become comfortable with making mistakes!
I could've stopped writing this newsletter, believing all the negative thoughts of the "failure" part of my loop of growth. It took a bit of time before I realized that my "failure" was because I did not understand what I actually needed to do; to show up consistently; to write in my case and send this out regularly.
I learned two important things about navigating through this process:
1. I needed to find a way to prioritize this newsletter over other things that demand attention. To do this I blocked chunks of time in my month to create several editions at once. I found it easier to protect this in my schedule and once I'm writing it's easier to keep flowing.
2. I needed someone to whom I'd be accountable and who would check in with me to make sure I haven't become stuck in my own mind or forgotten my plan. So basically I encourage you to fail more, you'll feel like shit, then accept it's part of the process, understand what else is needed to move forward and be brave!
I invite you to think about what "failure" you've been hiding behind or has been hiding you. Perhaps a task at work, an interaction or a relationship? Whatever it is, pull it out of the shame closet and get curious about what it's illuminating for you. What do you need? What needs to be change so you can move forward and try again differently?
"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more wisely" Henry Ford
I hope to be showing up in your inbox a little more frequently. If I don't, you'll know I'm still working my way through another round of the cycle of growth! I wish you well with your cycle of growth. Perhaps fail and embarrass yourself more freely...
If you've got a moment let me know in the comments below your number one take away and what current "failure" is leading to your growth.