I am in recovery. I used to be a perfectionist. I had to always sound right, look good, and be good (I never was, but wanted to be).
Crash and fail. I failed all the time. I finally got sick of masking my flaws and pretending to be something I simply was not to the outside world (umm, PERFECT). I would only show the real me (scars and all) to a few trusted friends. I was terrified that if people saw the real me they would run for the hills.
In my trying to be perfect I missed upsides of failure. Get ready to learn all the beauty of being imperfect and what failure can offer you! Failure can free you like no other, check out these 5.
1. Failure makes you know what you don’t want
I used to to smoke cigarettes throughout my teenage years. I thought I was so Audrey Hepburn. But after a while, I wanted to stop and I couldn't. I tried again and again to quit but each attempt no matter the amount of vested attempts I found myself beyond frustration with each failure. Each time I promised myself I'm done and again I would wind up looking at the same wall of failure but a bit more self-judgement and overall discouragement. I have seen this pattern run through other areas of my life too. Despite the tools, knowledge, motivation I wasn't able to shift away from this pattern or make any real change. I knew I didn't want to live this way anymore. It wasn’t’ working for me.
2. Failure is needed in success
Even though I had heard this said before I didn't really “get it” until I lived it. Each time you fail you are preparing for success, like a dress rehearsal, you are working out the bugs. You are seeing what works and what clearly does not. You also get to see new ways of doing things that are far better than what you thought.
3. Failure makes you long for more (lots more)
Each time I fail I know that I'm getting closer. That this next attempt and go around might be the one where I finally launch into orbit. I have never been a “cold turkey” person with anything. I need time to process. Time to contemplate. When I fail, I realize how badly I long for more, for success. It’s like a shot of ump into your system to push past the fear of failure to believing you can and will succeed..
4. The pain that you feel when you fail means you have changed
When you start to make changes and you are trying out new things (and failing) you will often experience pain. This is also good, because it validates your transformation. You entered a spot that I call the “in between”. You are not yet to your promise land but haven't let go of the old self either. This is proof you are making progress and you are now moving through the dark space.
5. Scars are cool
When we live life fully and give it our all, we will get some bumps, bruises, and battle wounds. Every warrior has them. Most people keep theirs covered to the outside onlooker. But on closer inspection you will see them. I don't trust perfect. I like a lived-in life, it is far more interesting. Plus, you've have some damn good stories to share later.
Remember, just keep making attempts. You don't have to do it all at once or do it alone. You won't ever do it perfect and even Einstein knew this one, you must fail to get it right.
What if we shared our failure as proof that we are changing. What if you fail and celebrate it instead of hiding it. You are on your way. And remember that if at first you don’t succeed, it's only proof that ARE changing and that is SUCCESS!