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Failure is Part of the Deal



I am approaching the end of a ten-month book writing process for Braving Creativity and my fears are right by my side. My fear of judgement and my fear of not being enough are really hitting it off right now. Two "Chatty Cathys" they are. "So what if you fail?" says my inner coach. Really, so what? If you want to grow, you have to embrace failure. Dr. Sarah Lewis, author of Rising, Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and The Search for Mastery, talks about failure in the context of mastering an art or a sport. She says, “Failure is a requisite part of the process, but not what we want to deal with.” She celebrates the opportunity to wipe clean the vista ahead of you so that you have a blank space in which to explore a new field of possibilities "that come from failed circumstances." Unfortunately, we are creatures that prize certainty. (It can be pretty terrifying to look at a blank space after a failure). So then, how to welcome failure when it shows up uninvited? It comes down to mindset, it seems. Instead of taking a failure personally and berating yourself for your imperfections or seeing at as a "dead end" -- take a different view. Let go. Surrender to all that you don't know about what the future holds. When you open to what you can learn from failure, you free up the creativity that is stifled when you hang on to limiting thoughts about yourself or the past. Free up the energy that was stuck measuring your worth in terms of success and put that energy into creativity thought. When failure comes, you hold the pen that writes your narrative forward. There is truth and power in our vulnerability to accept failure and open to what it can teach you. My clients write their own stories every time they move from the belief that "I can't move past this moment" to a belief that "there is something more for me to do with the gift and the time I am given." When you look past failure to something bigger that has meaning for you, you'll feel compelled to get the help you need to find another way to fulfill your vision.


That is the gift of failure. It is the spiritual gift that comes with your souls' mission. "Which is," as scholar and choreographer, Cynthia Oliver says in Braving Creativity, "the reason why you are here."

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