A lot has been written lately about mindfulness. This practice of being present in the moment and appreciating all that is happening in and around us increases feelings of serenity and lessens waves of panic.
Learning how to focus our minds on the present moment without thinking about the next goal, or the next task, or the next job can be quite difficult under the best of circumstances and ridiculously difficult when things are not going so well.
The world seems to expect perfection sometimes, doesn’t it? And in turn we demand it of ourselves.
And our kids.
Rack Up Some Failures
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows something about failure:
"…we occasionally have multibillion-dollar failures," Bezos recently wrote in the company's annual letter to shareholders. "If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle.”
Go ahead and Google any incredibly successful CEO or company and you will undoubtedly find several large-scale failures for every one great success. And that’s being generous.
If it is acceptable for these guys to lose billions of dollars on a hunch, why are we not allowing our kids or ourselves to have some setbacks?
We have put this stress on young people in particular. Especially if your kids are in a demanding school district. The schools are pushing these kids to get into the best universities, get the best scholarships and to “follow their passion.”
What were you passionate about at 18? For me, it was my friends and having fun. Let’s not even expand upon what that fun part was all about.
How do our kids even have a chance of finding their passions if they are not allowed to fail at anything?
Are you putting too much pressure on your kids, too? Give it some thought.
I have a friend who teaches her son about accepting failure as a part of life in terms of girls (it gets his attention). When it comes to asking girls out, she tells him to go in with the knowledge that he’s going to get nine smack downs before he gets one “yes.” The goal is to start racking up those failures so he can get to that tenth girl.
Another thing to consider about the Jeff Bezos comment is that he refers to consistently expanding on the size of his failures. He makes the risks greater and greater and swings for the bleachers.
Bezos understands that he will never achieve great success without getting some big failures under his belt.
His goal is to fail, because he knows it ultimately will lead to success.
Watch Your Messaging
My 14-year-old is having a real hard time right now taking the punches that life is throwing her, especially when it comes to academics.
And I’m not the one putting pressure on her - it’s the culture in which we are living.
I really try to keep the messaging positive and supportive. Such as, “All I’m asking is that you do your best at school. Try everything you think you might be interested in. Take risks and have fun. Your father and I are your safety net, and we’ll be here to support you if things start to go awry.”
My goal is for both of my children to really understand and believe that life will never be perfect, nor is perfection the goal. The more we fail, the more we learn and grow, and then we will become stronger.
When babies are learning to walk, they fall down a lot. Are those failures? No. It is literally how they learn to walk. There is no other way to do it.
Now watch as they get right back up again and give it another shot!
I Freaking Ate the Cupcake
Before we are able to teach our children how to live without fear of failure, we need to model the behavior for them. Agree?
I fail every day. Instead of beating myself up for not making every single volleyball game, missing a dance class or two, or eating half a cupcake, I actively tell myself that it is okay to miss the boat every once in a while. I am trying my best.
We can and will survive the mishaps. Just sit in the moment, accept what happened and move forward.
And be mindful of all of your many blessings, as well!
When we appreciate the good things that are happening to us, all of a sudden this great thing happens - it is called abundance.
The universe answers back and rewards us ten times fold with even more for us to appreciate.
Call it the power of positive thinking – call it manifesting – it works.
Turning Pain Into Purpose
Sometimes we really just need to admit defeat.
I think we are fearful of opening up about our feelings because we are afraid to be perceived as someone who is troubled. It is so incredibly difficult for some people to confess to even their closest friends that things are not going well. Maybe we just feel crushed because life won today.
But, “Everything’s fine!” Right?
Sure, we can admit to each other that we ate the stupid cupcake and feel guilty because we obviously have no willpower. But what about when things are going terribly wrong?
Don’t wait for the crash. Open up before you’re a flaming heap of scrap.
Live your authentic self. We are going to struggle before we learn and grow, and I really believe that it's possible to turn your pain into your purpose.
I believe this wholeheartedly. It is how I run my business and how I run my life.
We’re not coming up with any new failures out here, folks. We are going through troubling events right now that others have already gone through and more will eventually go through in the future, and we will come out the other side with a different perspective and ready to help.
This is life. We help each other.
Your assignment for this week is to go out and fail. Fail big.
Go fail at something today and then just sit in appreciation of what the universe is teaching you so that you may in turn help others. Something good will come of it.