Potholes and Setbacks

What to do with Potholes?

Potholes just happen sometimes as you drive.  You really don’t expect them, they kind of just show up in the middle of the road. Sometimes they throw you off balance for a few seconds and you need to hold on tight to the steering wheel for a while, driving very carefully to regain your balance on the road.  Sometimes, they even manage to blow a tire. When that happens, you can’t just wallow in self-pity and sit there. You have to actually get out of your car and replace the tire. Or call AAA. Either way, you must deal with it, or you aren’t going to go anywhere!  But a pothole on the road is no reason to stop driving altogether, is it? Or take up residence right in it, is it? The moments in the pothole are just that—moments.


“Failures” as Potholes

Think of what you perceive as a failure as a pothole. What should you do when you encounter them?

  1. Well, the first step seems so simple, yet we can’t go anywhere if we don’t do it: call it what it is, tell the truth. Revealing what happens is the beginning of healing; when we remain in “hiding,” it only intensifies the problem; did you ever notice how “issues” become bigger and bigger in the dark, but how quickly they shrink once exposed to the light? We are only as stuck as our secrets. We need to admit where we are at and stop pretending we have it all together!  
  2. What we say to ourselves next is of utter importance. To admit that we messed up is vital, but our attitude and reaction to our messing up is just as crucial because we somehow always believe ourselves. What we say about ourselves after a setback has everything to do with what will happen next in our life…
  3. We can ask yourself some simple questions to figure out what triggered the pothole/setback/self-sabotage. If it was an overeating pothole, for example, you might ask yourself:  Did I get so frustrated with my kids that I ran to food for comfort? Do I tend to overeat when I receive bad news in the mail?  Did I start your day with refined carbohydrates (nonfoods) and then my body just kept craving all day long until I finally gave in and then I couldn’t stop?  Did I skip your breakfast? Did I forget to plan?

Failures are the Way to Success

Failure is what makes us succeed.

Failure teaches us what doesn’t work, and it builds muscles. We only learn how to walk because we fall–we only get the muscle tone by failing. Falling down doesn’t mean we are not cut out for walking. It just means we are honing in on our skill. We only really fail if we quit. If we have an attitude of not quitting we can never fail. 

Let’s ask ourselves: the last time we failed, did we stop trying because we failed, or did we fail because we stopped trying?

Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success. Failure makes us gain experience. The greatest battle you wage against failure is on the inside, not on the outside. We are literally creating physically on the outside what we are creating on the inside. We are the storyteller of our life on every goal.

Basic Success Principles

  • The more we do, the more we fail. The more we fail, the more we learn. The more we learn, the better we get.
  • Determining what went wrong in a situation has value. But taking that analysis another step and figuring out how to use it to our benefit is the real difference maker when it comes to failing forward. Let’s not let our learning lead to knowledge; let’s let our learning lead to action.
  • Commitment enables us to fail forward until we reach our goals.
  • Nothing worth achieving comes easily. The only way to fail forward and achieve our dreams is to cultivate tenacity and persistence.

So there you have it in a nutshell–how to use failures to go forward. Do you have any epic failure that brought you a new level of success? Let’s hear it! And as always, please share this with someone who might need it. Let’s not be selfish.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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