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THE BLOG

If at First You Don't Succeed

Remember that you will find successes if you do one thing alone: put one foot in front of the other and try, every single day.
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We have all heard the phrase, "It's better to try and fail then to never try at all."

Why, then, are we still so caught up in things in that didn't go as planned -- things we perceive as failures? When a work project takes a turn for the worst and all the odds seemed to be stacked against us, we feel inadequate. When we lose touch with a friend, we wonder what we did to deserve to be dropped. When a relationship ends, we beat ourselves up for our missteps even when our needs weren't being met to begin with. These feelings of failure not only impede our future successes, they delay important parts life events -- healthy reflection followed by healthy steps of action.

This reflection isn't easy and doesn't come quickly. First, address the element of self-hate. The last thing you need is to attack yourself, who is your best ally. Focusing on short comings and failures can shape the way we see the world and prevents us from trying again. The worries of not being good enough, of being destined for failure, becomes a self fulfilling prophecy quite easily; the deeper that hole is dug, the harder it is to get out of, making success more elusive than just simply trying again or trying something else.

Try your hand at living in the present by doing so with your own thoughts.

Take note when you begin to beat yourself up and stop yourself in your tracks. Replace those attacks on yourself with thoughts and feelings of empathy and compassion. Listen to yourself as though you were listening to a dear friend or family member. Admit it: You'd never let your most important people talk about themselves the way you sometimes can about yourself after something in life has gone awry. Talk yourself down from the ledge and support yourself the same way you do for your most loved ones. Be your biggest cheerleader.

Next, remember to address the realities of success. We all make mistakes, as that is the very essence of being human. No one learns and, therefore, achieves success with out multiple failures first. The growing process of life is to learn all we can along the way, which provides clues and gives us the tools to figure out our individual definitions of success and how we may achieve it. The secret is there is no end game; success and happiness are states of being, not things to attain. No one wakes up one day, having attained success, and lives happily ever after. The journey is what provides us with multiple destinations, all different, all with their own unique story. If you choose to tell your story in failure, that is when you will never succeed. Turn it around and give yourself the opportunity to thrive.

Also do all you can to consciously find positives or learning lessons out of perceived failures. Think about behaviors or tactics you saw in others that you do or don't care for and take note of how you'll look for or avoid those in other people or situations down the road. Think about your own actions and whether or not you truly did all you could to communicate, be open, and improve the situation. Try to find things to learn about yourself you wouldn't have otherwise known: what makes up your character, what's important to you, what you like or don't like. Learning from mistakes is something we are told to do, but the only way to actually do it, is to make them. Make and make mistakes and mistakes. If you can keep your head above the fray and know that you are just living and learning like the rest of us, then success will find you.

When down for the count, it maybe a good time to assess other areas of life where success and fulfillment aren't being experienced.

Mentally walk through the places you spend the most time and listen. Listen to your body and your heart. If your job seems to be failure upon failure, it might be time to consider a new job. No, this does not mean you have to quit and live in your parents' basement while you invent a new app -- or maybe it does. The key is to take a step back and look at the aspects of your job that you enjoy and might be good at. Remember to write things down! Documenting what worked and what didn't in any situation can be a powerful exercise in weeding out the bad and incorporating the good. It's crucial to make space for the positive and the good, otherwise there isn't the room to receive it.

Finally, take the steps to incorporate more of what makes you happy. You'll know what those things are when you assess what you gravitate towards and spend the most time and money on without being told to do so. Find the wins you are experiencing, focus on them, and find ways to experience more of them. Even if all you think you are good at for the moment is taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning, take pride in it. If what you want more of can't fit into your current situation, think about how you can incorporate these things into something else, perhaps on the side. Pursue the side job and see what happens.

Remember that you will find successes if you do one thing alone: put one foot in front of the other and try, every single day.

That unrelenting practice is what brings success. Take steps, not leaps. We are not meant to change over night, and just changing your perspective can do more than you think.