In the previous articles in this series we reviewed how core values can help you create a vision for your life, how limiting beliefs and a poor self-image can hold you back, and how to challenge those beliefs and that image. In this final article in the series we’re going to take a look at issues that might come up when you do start to take action to follow your vision. We’re going to look at the dangers of comparison and how to take a different perspective on failure.
At the heart of comparison is the question, “Am I as good as these other people, am I good enough?”. Comparison takes the joy and passion out of life. If you’re doing something that you enjoy and are emotionally invested in, that you’re putting time, money and energy into, that is in alignment with your core values, then why allow any of the joy of that experience to be diminished by comparing yourself to others and allowing yourself feel small or anxious as a result? Comparison invites the question, “Can I really trust my decisions because I’m not getting the results, rewards or success these people are?”
The fact is that you don’t know those other people’s situations. They may have financial or practical support that you don’t have; they may have had life experiences that you don’t have; they may have been going longer. The snapshot you see of their life now reveals nothing of the struggle and work, the failure and the growth that went before it. Whatever you’re doing is relevant to you and your life alone. Do it because it’s what you want to do, not because you’re expecting to emulate or replicate the success of someone else. It’s YOUR life. Focus on that. Do your thing, love it and get the most you can out of it.
At the core of the fear of failure is the thought, “I don’t want to look like I’m not good enough.” Believe it or not, failure is your friend. How else are you going to learn how to handle things going wrong unless they do? How are you going to handle feeling foolish unless you get things wrong? You WILL make mistakes, and things WILL go wrong and people MIGHT laugh at you. And you will survive all of that.
Failure teaches you that it’s okay not to get things right or perfect straight away. It teaches you flexibility; if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again and then try something else. And keep trying. Just don’t give up.
It teaches us resilience and grit. After all, if something comes to us easily, where’s the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge? It teaches us compassion and empathy for all the other people struggling like us, and provides us with an opportunity to build a community as we reach out for mutual support and encouragement through entrepreneur groups and hobby classes, and parent and carer meetings. We see that other people find this stuff hard too, we see how they struggled and overcame. We see that failure is not the end but merely a step towards something better.
The only way not to fail is never to try and why would you even consider not trying, if what you’re doing is something you love? If you accept the possibility and likelihood of failure, the pressure is off. What does failure even say about you as a person? Does it say you’re a loser or that you’re brave for trying in the first place? You get to decide.
Ignore the temptation to compare yourself to other people and embrace the benefits of failure and step out into your vision. Take action, make things happen and create the life you want.