The Gift of Failure

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Failure. It's a dirty word.It's something we spend most of our lives trying to (and, somewhat ironically, failing to) avoid.One of my favourite recent finds is yogadownload.com. It's helping me build a regular yoga practice, and keep my internal money monsters at bay, while exposing me to different types, postures and, most importantly, ideas.One video that has been kicking my ass challenging me is called "The Fearless Heart" by Michelle Marchildon. It's tough, and it's taught me more than I ever thought I would learn in a yoga class.Because "The Fearless Heart" is about failure.Michelle has a refreshingly unique take on failure. She teaches that failure isn't just necessary, it's a key part of our sense of authenticity, and it's a gift.

"The good thing about not being afraid to fail, is that you will do so over and over. But it creates a certain fearlessness. Now that I know who I am, I know this: I am not afraid to fail. I'm only afraid when I'm afraid to try."

Michelle points out that some yoga poses are nearly impossible to master without failing at them several times first. Equally, there are some things in life we will never be able to do, achieve or gain without failing many times over in the process.The important thing is that we see the finish line, that we show up consistently, and that we do our best.Just like Steph Corker:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvYyhtfkCUs&feature=youtu.beSteph's story revealed several important points about goals and failure:"I woke up every morning and said 'What do I need to do to get to Hawaii?'"She never thought that if she simply planned to get to Hawaii, she would get there. She worked her ass off. Her mission every day was to figure out what she could do that day to make her dream come true. We don't achieve our dreams and overcome failure in one fell swoop: it's a series of incremental day-by-day actions."For me what was very important was that I didn't lose perspective of moments in my life when things had felt big and then they felt so achievable. Perspective and context starts to shift... We have this awesome opportunity to experience things that once felt impossible to become just another Sunday morning routine."Starting is hard. We're a long way from where we want to be, and we can see a scary number of milestones in between here and there. Over time, the boundaries will shift, and what we thought we could never do becomes a possibility, then a reality."At every start line, I knew what best case scenario was, and I was completely prepared to fail. At the end of the day, all we have is our best and the power of our heartbeat." Failure is not shameful. It's part of learning. Michelle says that failure is part of achieving our ambitions, dreams and desires. It teaches us our limits and helps us stretch them. All we can do is show up everyday and do our best. No superhero stuff required. Far from being shameful, failure can help reinforce the idea that we're fine, just as we are.Let's give Steph the final word:"Without being so cliche, anything is possible. Beyond that I will never, ever tell someone they can't do something, because I would never tell someone something that I wouldn't tell myself."  What possibilities would open up for you if you weren't afraid of failure, if failure was actually a gift? Leave a comment and let me know.  

Photo Credit: Anil Jadhav via Compfight cc