Why You Need to Fail
“Failure is so awesome!”
-Said nobody, ever.
Raise your hand if you love failing!
Neither do I, to be 100% honest with you.
As a recovering perfectionist (I’ve always been the type to cross my T’s and dot my I’s ever since I was in high school), I absolutely hated failing. I hated creating anything that seemed in the slightest bit “sub-par” (for my standards). I always wanted to be the best.
And nothing is wrong with going the extra mile and creating your best work, and putting in your 100% effort.
But what I was doing throughout high school, nursing school, AND the majority of my nursing career. was using perfectionism to AVOID failure.
Are you a perfectionist nurse that hates to fail, admit fault, or “look bad”?
And here’s the problem with that.
For as long as I can remember, I avoided failure because I didn’t want to admit that something was wrong with me (there — I said it!). I wasn’t creating my best work because I genuinely wanted to create something that was valuable that would make a contribution to society in some way. Nooooo, no, no. I was only putting in my 100% best effort because I didn’t want to face the possibility that “I needed to work on something.” I didn’t want to embrace the fact that I was human and that I am NOT perfect (even if, by the way, perfectionism doesn’t exist).
And because I cultivated this idea in my head since my high school days (all the way into my nursing career), the negative effects of perfectionism literally blew up in my face in the “real world.”
As many of you know, I struggled with stress eating for SIX out of the seven years that I’ve been working as a nurse at the bedside.
Whenever something went “wrong” in the shift that was my fault, I felt stressed/upset/frustrated, and (as an obvious solution!) would eat something. Every single time. I personalized every single “fail” to mean that “something is wrong with me,” and therefore, I ate to cope (doesn’t that make so much sense?).
Now, here’s where the magic began.
Ever since I started listening to The Life Coach School Podcast, my teacher and mentor Brooke Castillo taught me the concept that the only reason why we don’t want to fail is because of an uncomfortable emotion.
Um, come again??
People work SO hard to avoid failure because they don’t want to feel bad!
But all “feeling bad” means for us is literally feeling a vibration in our bodies. A physical sensation. And that’s it.
To learn my step-by-step process on allowing uncomfortable feelings, download my Busy Nurse’s 10-Step Guide to Permanent Weight Loss now!
Then it was starting to come together for me.
What if I was completely okay with failing?
What if I accepted that the only thing that failure would lead to is an uncomfortable emotion (and that’s it)?
Imagine how different your world would be like if you embraced failure and, instead of personalizing it, used it as a tool for you to grow and improve?
Yes — Failure is one of the BEST tools in your Weight Loss Tool Kit.
Without failure, you are ignoring the part of you that needs growth, improvement, and care. You are literally limiting your potential to be the person you want to be. Exposing and manifesting our failures (and ACCEPTANCE of them) is what gives us the room we need to get better at anything. That includes weight loss, being a nurse, growing a business… any skill that you want to master.
I would be lying if I said it was easy for me to embrace failure or to accept feedback. Truthfully, it sucked to hear what I needed to work on (or admit to myself that I needed help). Especially during my weight loss journey where failing was part of the game!
But failure is absolutely necessary.
At work, I now have a practice of being completely accountable for myself every single time I make a mistake. If I messed up on something, I’m the first to say, “Sorry guys, that was my bad! I won’t do it again.” And you know how much of an impact this had on my work relationships? I get along with people SO much better now. I see eye-to-eye with my co-workers, and I connect with them on a human level — all because I’m willing to admit my faults and promise to improve them.
If you’re 100% honest with yourself, you can accept that you are human too.
And once you fully embrace that, your weight loss will not be a struggle.
Because every single time you fail, you will be able to look at those events as learning opportunities instead of reasons to mentally beat yourself up.
Now go out there and fail hard!