Skater fallsScott Hamilton won an Olympic gold medal and four World Championships. He was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame. Scott is a fortunate athlete who also made a lot of money as a professional skater and commentator.  Scott says he kept a tally of how many times he fell during his skating career – 41,600 times.

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” Yoda

Falling down, for a skater, can bode disaster OR it can be a learning opportunity, a “get up and get on with it” moment. If you have watched the Olympics, you have seen athletes do both.  Quit in the fall, quit at the missed gate, quit after the race was won by someone else.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats,
so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
 -Maya Angelou

Can you, as a NON-Olympic athlete, learn to build a skill to bust out of your own failure myth?  As children, we are often taught and rewarded for the “A,” taught to strive for perfection and to get it all right or you’re worthless. We become adults without replacing the failure myth. We can learn not to let a misstep, a goof, or a missed gate become a failure. See and experience it as a learning event rather than a tragedy.

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to …use failure that often leads to greater success.
I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.”   – J. K. Rowling

Much anxiety, worry and frustration in today’s world comes from the myth that failure is final, absolutely to be avoided and even hidden when it happens.

I grew up with self-imposed high-performance expectations. Firstborns often carry that burden. Recently, I have started my life coaching online learning business. As I move from live trainings, workshops and events to the web, I get to experience performance anxiety.  Boy, have I had to get this failure myth out of my internal self-talk!

This is the process I use:

  • STOP and breathe. Oxygen is diminished when we are in a struggle, stressing or straining to get something PERFECT or RIGHT.
  • Re-think the steps you took. For example, as I learned to record a webinar with a new microphone, it wasn’t working. I took a deep breath and unplugged and re-plugged in a different spot. Then, went back to the tutorial to review all the steps, finally, finding the step I missed for it to work.
  • Cement the new learning or information. Write about it in a journal or capture the steps in a template to use the next time you are doing the task or in the situation. Then, when you come back to this situation again, you have collated the best way to proceed.
  • Forgive yourself for the goof or misstep and move along. Too often I see my clients carry the goof, the wrong turn, or trusting someone they should not have. They hold onto the past mistake and all those yucky feelings they felt as they goofed. “Let it go,” as Elsa in Frozen says.

When you keep the upset at yourself about the mistake, goof or failure, you keep the lingering frustration. That lack of clearing out the old energy can trigger the next goof. There you are replaying in your mind the goof, berating yourself again. That negative energy is a drain and will draw another goof to you.

How many times did Thomas Edison try before he invented the light bulb? 1,000 but he kept learning and coming back until he had it. (Watch the new movie about Edison, The Current War.)

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. 
Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” 

-Samuel Beckett

Remember Scott Hamilton’s 41,600 falls? “I also got up 41,600 times”, Scott says in his autobiography. Find inspiration to dispel the myth of failure. The only REAL failure is not getting up, trying again, finding what works. Bust out of the failure myth. Get the learning and move along.

My role is to keep you inspired to open more and more of your potential.  Watch your inbox for more. I love sharing inspiring quotes.  I am in your corner cheering you on. As the old Army slogan says, “Be All You Can Be!!