I often start my first session with clients with a question: "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" It's so much fun to hear the list of beautiful/crazy/amazing/inspiring ideas flow freely from them... Another winner is: "What would you be willing to fail OVER and OVER and OVER for?" Things tend to get a little deeper there when they hone down on what it is in their life that is WORTH facing the thought of failure.
Today my question is:
What is your relationship to failure?
Are you buddies? Enemies? Frienemies?
Our relationship with failure can get real dark. It can cause total self paralysis and self judgement. It can keep us from doing what we say we want in life. It can make us try to convince ourselves and others that we're actually PERFECT and have never failed and never will fail and Couldn'tEvenImagineFailingEverInOurLivesBecauseWe'rePerfectSoTHERE! (Good luck with that)
Notice I didn't say FAILURE does all of those things. Failure actually doesn't do ANY of those things. Our dysfunctional RELATIONSHIP to failure does those things. OOOOooooooo.
So what if failure was actually a step closer to getting what you want? If it allowed for learning? What if failure had a feeling of PLAY? What if you could have fun with failure?
Here's an assignment I've given clients
if you're up for it I'm posing it to you:
Go to your local craft/office supply store. Find the silliest dumbest most Lisa Frank 7th grade Trapper Keeper stickers you can... let's say 50 of them. Carry the stickers around with you at all times, and give yourself a gold star/monster truck/bedazzled dolphin swimming over a rainbow sticker every time you fail for a WEEK and actually try to get rid of all 50 stickers in one week.
Got pissy with your boyfriend for no reason? FAIL! STICKER! Tried a new recipe for dinner and it caught on fire? FAIL! STICKER! Went to an audition and totally cracked on the high note? FAIL! STICKER! Forgot to count a failure and give yourself a sticker? FAIL! STICKER!
This assignment is not about counting failures- it's about changing our RELATIONSHIP to it so that instead of self-paralysis and not doing what we want to do, we can have a little fun with it and see it's not such a big deal in the first place. It's just failure. That's it. The rest is the story we've attached to it... so go attach a big fat fuzzy sticker instead of the dark story that's keeping you from doing what you love with full authenticity and self expression.