Have you been held back by a fear of failure? Or have you ever stayed up at night wondering if your tendencies were normal? Well, what if "failure" and "normal" were no longer in your vocabulary?
So many of the words we use (and fear!) are based on arbitrary judgements. We're held back by concepts that exist only because we say they do. In our own mind, we've created seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
This week, I will be challenging you to question and eliminate concepts that are holding you back. We're going to examine 9 words that we all would be better off without.
Today's words are common sources of fear: "success," "failure," and "normal."
But this is a positive word, right? It would seem that way at first glance, but look deeper at the concept of "success." What does it mean, really?
"Success" is a pre-determined outcome. When we try something new, we already have it in our mind, what success will look like. When I was job interviewing, for example, I would be successful if I landed a job.
But what does it look like if that outcome isn't achieved? In my case, I learned from the experience. I had the opportunity to face my fears, and I ended up being offered a more preferable position in my current job. Just because I had not achieved my pre-determined desired outcome, does not mean that the experience wasn't worthwhile.
The concept of success is muddied further when we talk about being successful in life. What does that look like? Many people equate success with money, property ownership, and a steady job. Yet, many people are unhappy in that situation.
Eliminate the word "success" from your vocabulary. Every experience is worthwhile, if we are willing to learn and grow from it. Setting arbitrary criteria for "success" can only induce fear.
If "success" needs to be eliminated from our vocabulary, then its evil twin, "failure," definitely needs to go. Failure--which generally means not meeting the pre-determined criteria we've set for "success"--is something that absolutely paralyzes us with fear.
Why does failure do this to us? It's because we're adding meaning to the concept. We assume that not meeting our specific goals on our pre-set timetable means something about us. For example, in the past I would have assumed that not getting a job offer meant that I was incompetent. Had I assumed this, I would have beaten up on myself and likely would have quit trying to find a better position.
And yet the truth is that I do not know why I was not offered a position. I could call and ask for feedback, turning the interviews into a learning experience. I could reflect on the parts of the interviews that I did not think went as well as they could have, and use that to help me learn and grow. I could congratulate myself on having the confidence to get out there, and use that confidence to grow in my new job.
There is no such thing as failure. There is no universal timetable for anything we want to do. There is only trial and error and learning.
How many times do we wonder if we are "normal?" Is it normal to still be sad years after experiencing a loss? Is it normal to be awkward in social situations?
But what does "normal" mean? For many of us, normal means that there is nothing "wrong" with us. We assume that a normal person is fully healed. And that if we are not, then we are "unhealthy" or "ill."
But the truth is that everyone has areas in which they need to heal and grow. Everyone has skills they are still learning. When we worry about being normal, we are comparing ourselves to others and judging what we see.
We all are fine the way we are. And we all are going to learn and grow. And yes, that is normal.
For help with eliminating these and other words from your vocabulary so that you are overcome your fears, realize your dreams, and reach your full potential, consider an individual e-mail, chat, or Skype session. We offer a sliding scale to fit any budget.
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