I Failed, Therefore—My Clients Won!

I was struggling at the end of last week, fighting a cold which brought on a wallowing of self-pity and melodramatic self-questioning like “what should I be doing with my life?” After I realized I was in the space of doom and gloom, I let go, embraced the hot mess of the situation and came to terms that I was not going to meet my deadlines for the week. Then a funny thing happened, I enjoyed being present in myself and the situation. How is that even possible when physically and emotionally I felt like I had given up? I can tell you that the answer didn’t come until Monday morning when I settled back into the grind like a champ. I met with my first two coaching clients and realized I had showed up for them…fully!

Not only did I bring myself to the sessions, I came with no anxious to-do lists and check off boxes in the back of my mind. Instead, I brought a strong calm me. Why is this? It was the result of letting myself feel like I had failed last week. AND…. That it was ok (and still ok with me today!)

So what does this mean? ….

Let me introduce you to the permission to wear the sticker of failure. Had I not let myself embrace the hot mess and wear the sticker of failure, I would have pushed through the end of last week—running and performing at half speed, negatively impacting my team, clients, and customers. Instead, because I shared my true colors of imperfection, I was able to rest, rejuvenate, and feel 100% revived today.

How can my perceived failure translate to workplace realities? How many of us judge ourselves (and others) based on our daily performance? I know I’m guilty! How can we stop this unhealthy cycle of striving for perfection?  My answer is finding the celebration in the messiness. If we appreciate our humanness and that of others on our work teams, we can learn to treat each other as people through understanding that sometimes we all aren’t and can’t be at our best. But through tolerance and compassion, we are more likely to bring our A game with us to work more often than not.

I’m not suggesting we are excused from our important deadlines and responsibilities. But what I want for the workforce is the permission for all to put away our red capes and NOT save the day. Rather, I suggest we give ourselves permission to take a step back, breathe, and wear proudly our stickers of failure! From accepting failure, you show up more fully next time.

How can you celebrate your messiness today?  What does failure offer you?

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