Apart from past experience informing how we frame failure we can also blame our upbringing. Parents and significant adults in early life can make it difficult for us to pick ourselves up and get going again after disappointments. They can suggest that it’s inherited “I wasn’t any good at maths either” or “no-one in our family ever went to University and it didn’t do them any harm”. They might tell you that it isn’t important “what do you want to speak French for?” or “exams aren’t everything you know.” In trying to make you feel better they may even persuade you that you didn’t want to succeed anyway and that it’s even an advantage to have failed “you’re better off staying where you are” or “you wouldn’t want the stress of that job”.
In those ways we get into the habit of accepting defeat and we bow to the pressure of other people wanting to make our life easier or for us to feel good about ourselves instead of persevering until we succeed. It is well known that even a successful novelist like J.K.Rowling was rejected many times before being published and what a loss it would have been not to have experienced Harry Potter. Sportsmen train daily to achieve success and study their form in minute detail to see where they went wrong and discuss with their trainer how to do it differently next time. This is what we need to do too.
Where you choose to place your focus will also have an influence on the outcome. When we feel deflated and focus on what has not worked out we can sometimes fail to notice and learn from what has been successful. We get the balance all wrong. Instead next time you think something has failed, stop and track through the process picking out the things that went well so you hold onto them for next time. Take time to learn from what went well. What skills did you apply? Could you have done anything differently to get a better result?
Write down what you’ve learned from the successes and what you plan to do next time and only when you feel good about what went well should you look at areas which need a different approach.
Those things that went less well, what have you learned? Could you have used these skills you’ve just identified in those areas to get a different result? How? Run through the structure of what happened, the process rather than the content. How could you change the process next time?
One of the NLP Beliefs of Excellence is 'we already have all the resources we need'. One of these is to learn from failure how to improve next time.
I see lots of mums in my therapy room who have picked up a fear of failure in their own childhood, perhaps even inherited it from their mother's childhood. With this fear deeply embedded in their subconscious, everything that happens in their parenting where they are reminded of it, creates a much more emotional reaction. It might only take a child refusing to do something for them to feel they've failed. If you'd like to work on your own fear of failure, please get in touch. I offer Skype or Whatsapp online therapy at £250 for four one hour sessions.
I am the author of a number of NLP books for all the family and I offer individual and family therapy online and here in Burnham, Bucks. I am an NLP Master Practitioner, Trainer and EFT Practitioner.