Karen L. Kehler, MA,  MSHA - Private- Professional- Affordable Counseling Services
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Kehler Counseling Blog

Go Ahead and FAIL!

How do you deal with competition? How much time do you spend comparing yourself to your family members? Friends? Co-workers?  Do you end up on the losing side?
What if being on the 'losing side' was good?   
What if failing was actually one of the best things that ever happened?
What if someone else won, got the trophy, better job, better looking date, the bigger house, the cooler car, the kid on honor roll?  

Looking back on my last few decades - and maybe that's what you really need is a few decades to put things in perspective. . . but  I have found that when I picked the wrong guy, had the bad job, didn't get the desired car, promotion, or new house I learned so much more, gained so much appreciation, had privileges and opportunities I never would've believed I would have and best of all I lived!    When you're young and desperate you often forget that's an option . . . 

So when you're busy feeling either competitive - that you 'have to get that prize' with girlfriends, other mothers, grandmothers or co workers - CALM yourself.   Stop comparing and determining yourself as the 'loser' in the game of life -instead stay on the bench - enjoy the view and keep an eye out for the next opportunity or option - it might be even better than the one they got that is making you feel bad about yourself today.   

Go through your life's 'failure' list:
  • Picking the wrong partner - what did you learn about the relationship that you will never do again - appreciate your present partner for - developed strengths and skills for?
  • Not going to college -or 'that' college -or finishing college . . . how many people have actually asked you about that?   Seriously.  How many people since, really questioned you about it?  I bet very few - maybe ONE. . . 
  • Not having a retirement -emergency- investment account - again, what choices were you making instead?  I bet they are about surviving an employment crisis, raising decent kids, being adventurous and traveling, being more charitable with your time and money, enjoying 'stuff' that if you died tomorrow you may not regret - and wouldn't need a 'retirement plan' anyway. . . and how many people ask specifically not only if you have the 'right' amount of money saved but how much?   If you have lots of money in the bank yet miserable I would call that  a failure. . . 
  • Moving to a wrong city/location - I sometimes wonder how my life would've played out if I didn't take the transfer to Schuylkill County, PA - that has changed dramatically since I arrived in 1983 - but it has become so much about the people, the fun, feeling a true,  deep sense of community as well as having real meaning and purpose as a result - that I can't imagine a different choice.   It makes me appreciate good weather too!  
  • Quitting a large project.   So what if you quit training for that marathon.  I quit an ambitious project to build a multi-million dollar library in my small town - thank goodness -the economy evaporated before we broke ground - and the town isn't trying to support its costs on its extremely limited budget as many moved away. . . It was fun to be part of the initial excitement and a challenge to move through the steps that we did - but I have no regrets bailing out.   
  • Letting someone ELSE have the first wedding, child, scholarship, championship, promotion, expensive car, house, vacation, outfit, experience or reward.  Sitting back and LETTING them have the limelight, press, media blitz, attention, buzz and rumors . . . sometimes just watching other's happiness is enough.    It's happiness without the consequences, costs, responsibilities, and debt!    ENJOY their moment with and for them.  It isn't your turn - be good with that fact.  Your turn maybe even better, more awesome, more personalized, more rewarding than anything making you feel insecure about now.   It is NOT failure - it is timing.   
  • Saying the wrong thing - we all have done it - saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person and then obsess or regret with how to heal it - fix it - avoid or ignore it.  If you can face the person - get it out in the open, apologize, acknowledge the damage it may have caused and work towards not repeating the same problem.  Sometimes 'failure' needs some repairs - some will appreciate those efforts -others may not - if they don't move on.  It's their problem if they take it too personally.    It was their issue of giving it too much power and not appreciating your intent.   Always double check intent. Most often its for a good reason not bad.  Learn the skills of managing your anger.  Learn that foul language says 'nothing' but demeans and demoralizes.   
  • Losing your temper with a boss or loved one: spouse, parent, sibling, teen - never regret being angry - hatred is what rots.  Anger needs to be expressed.  Learn how to do it better - address WHY you 'lost it'.   What are you not dealing with that amped up your response that may have been inappropriate for the situation.  Again - walk away with lessons learned.  Failure teaches better than anything. 
  • Forgetting someone or something important.  Give yourself some room for failure - your priorities may have been in your order not theirs.  A bride with 'wedding issues' may be unforgiving that you didn't make her the center of your universe - that's not failure on your part - that's her obsession,insecurity or fantasy.   Same for other demands from those who are expecting themselves to be YOUR priority - they need to adjust their self-importance down a notch!  
  • Breaking rules right after committing to a serious challenge.  Having that cheesecake or fast food when you decided to 'eat clean', sneaking a cigarette when trying to quit, splurging on concert tickets during a financial nightmare.   That 'feel good' might be what really gets you  through the tough days - its the memory that is banked when that 'bad day' hits.   
  • Having adult kids who didn't become President, CEO's, save the world, have grand kids, and instead 'failed' by someone else's standards. . .  after really looking at the numerous situations that adult kids can put parents through - there's 'failure' every where!   Honor roll kids can get drug addicted, Straight A kids can cost a fortune in college costs and take a 'no degree' job, military kids can come home wounded or die, they can pick their own bad spouses, not want the pressure of success, or consider their 'slacker' lives perfect. . . you didn't 'fail' parenthood.  They are choosing the elements of their environment - some are great and others not so great.  They will learn like we had to - what's wrong with that?    If there's love - you won.   

So LET IT GO - stop being afraid to fail.  Let others win, be first, take over, get the reward or award - your turn may be later and much better.  Just learn the lessons on the 'bad' and 'ugly' and keep focused on what is true to you!   And if Facebook browsing makes you feel worse - shut it down!  


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