Failure. The word that is to have us believe it is the end all. We seem to want to avoid failure at every turn. It is ingrained in us. Run from failure at all costs. Failure is not an option. The fear of failure can get ingrained in our heads that it can keep us from fully embracing our goals, our dreams, our recovery. For much of my life that fear of failure fueled my addiction and powered my “ism’s”. That fear of failure transcended my addiction, and held on for many years into my recovery. But that tide is turning. I am changing my vantage point on the word failure. I am trying to look at it as a jumping off point rather than a point to stop.
Am I saying that I don’t fail anymore? That I want to fail? Not in the least bit. I fail at something every day in some capacity. I have realized though, when my thinking is so consumed about failing and its negative connotations, that I miss out on what failure really gives us the chance to do. It gives us the chance to be stronger. It gives us a chance to look at things from a different angle. It gives us the chance learn, adapt, and grow. When we think about how failure can impact, the word “can’t” often comes to mind.
“I can’t do this anymore”
“I can’t figure this out”
“I can’t succeed at this”
Think about this: David Ortiz, one of the greatest hitters in Boston Red Sox history had a career batting average of .286. That means he got a hit roughly 30% of the time. That means 70% of the time he did not. Now my fear of failure tells me that if I had 70% rate of failure should be a bad thing. It should outweigh the positives and I should just walk away. That word “can’t” starts becoming more powerful. Imagine if David Ortiz gave in to that line of thinking because of the 70% he didn’t get a hit. He wouldn’t have ever had the chance to be a World Series hero. How do we take that negative power and turn it to positive? It is not easy. I am trying to keep it simple. When I feel like my fear of failure is creeping in, rather than relying on “can’t” statements, I drop the “‘t “and give myself a positive affirmation.
I can do this.
I can figure this out.
I can succeed.
These affirmations seem simple. They are a start. It gives me a chance to look for solutions, rather than focusing on what has not worked up to that point. One thing I know my fear of failure tries to do to me is keeping me thinking there is only one way to do things. That you can’t teach an “old dog new tricks”. When I do choose to take the power away from the negative connotation of failure, I can think of it more as an opportunity to find another way, to learn a new trick. It’s not easy. Sometimes it takes time for me to get out of the “can’t” mindset. I have realized failure can only negatively impact my life today if I let it.
“Failure is a detour, not a dead end.” ~Unknown
The Jim Gillen Teen Center
The Jim Gillen Teen Center is an environment that celebrates, and helps facilitate recovery through dynamic programming, shared lived experience, and peer support.