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How Do I Bounce Back From Failure?

Kelly Boys






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How Do I Bounce Back From Failure?

Is a past failure holding you back from being resilient? Kelly offers two valuable ways of viewing failure.

Hi, it's Kelly Boys here.

I've been asked to answer the question:

how do I bounce back from failure?

I'm really grateful for this question

and I can definitely relate to it.

This is one key area I've seen

clients and students really get stuck.

And I want to share two pointers that

have helped me and I've also seen

help others with this question around

how to bounce back from failure.

They center around mindful self-awareness

something that people who don't

acknowledge failure typically lack.

The first pointer I'd like to

offer is to develop the capacity

to look at your own shame.

Brené Brown has some amazing

work out there on shame, so

you can check her work out.

But my share here is that

typically when we fail, we have

a reaction that we can't see.

So it seems really real to us

through our own confirmation bias

that we have, that we don't take the

time to question the lens through

which we're looking at our failure.

And often that lens is shame, especially

if a failure has happened in front

of our family or our colleagues.

It's such a natural human nervous system

type of response that is to feel shame.

And we don't want to get

kicked out of our community.

So we can feel shame as

we're seenin our failure.

And if we don't look at our own shame and

work to acknowledge it, it trips us up,

it keeps us stuck in loops and sets us

up to fail again in ways that do hurt us.

So how do we do this?

One way is to acknowledge is this

is a typical reaction when we fail.

And we use a simple mindfulness tool of

naming what is present like, wow, I feel

shame, and this is natural and I'm going

to reach out and talk to someone about it.

Another tactic is, wow.

I feel shame.

And if this shame weren't here, what I

would be feeling instead would be....

It's kind of an exploration of a way

not to get overloaded with shame.

The second pointer is to find out

your own version of defensiveness.

We all have one.

So how do you actually see

your own defensiveness?

That is one of the things

that is so hard and.

Why it's so important to build mindful

self-awareness and here's how you do it.

You just watch yourself.

And you see that when you fail, maybe

you lash out and blame others, or

you move that inward and you do a

lot of kind of negative self-talk.

Like, you know, lashing out

basically towards yourself.

Maybe you actually ignore your failure

and you act like it didn't happen.

It's one of those things as

a kid, you're like, if you

can't see me, I can't see you.

If I can't see the

failure, nobody else will.

It doesn't work like that though.

Um, perhaps your style is that you

just get anxious and this freezes

you from moving forward in your life

and bouncing back from the failure.

I think of someone I know who

went on an online date and for

her, it was a total failure.

She decided actually to stop all online

dating as a result of one experience.

That's an example of, it's

kind of a lack of resilience.

She couldn't look at her own shame

that came up and defensiveness and sort

through it, being able to make meaning

and find growth through the challenge.

And that's okay.

And of course, maybe for some

people, the appropriate action

would be to stop online dating.

There's no formula on

this, but check yourself.

How might you be, in your

own way, when you're wanting

to bounce back from failure?

If you understand your particular

defense, such as you know, well,

I usually move to blame others.

Then you can bounce back from your failure

because you know that that's a pattern

for you and you can take a look inwardly,

realistically taking responsibility for

your part and placing responsibility

elsewhere as it happens, but from a

place of understanding and compassion.

The key thing I've seen in all

my work, you know, at the UN,

at Google, other places, is that

when people cannot acknowledge

their failure, they cannot grow.

The two things are intricately

linked, and it's usually shame

or it's close brother pride.

So the trick is not to be paralyzed by

your failure when you do acknowledge it.

We all fail.

I love this story.

One man on his deathbed, when asked

why his grandson what he learned

in life, he exclaimed, I know a

thousand ways it does not work.

How would that be to encounter

failures as ways that are helping

us know what doesn't work, which in

turn, help us know what does work.

You know, as if we are these sort

of neutral learning algorithms.

We have to take the personalness out

of it and the shame and defense that

can arise to help keep ourselves safe

that are no longer working for us.

I once saw a teacher work with an

older man who had been paralyzed by

'if you're a failure' his whole life.

And this had kept him from doing any of

the creative projects he wanted to do.

The teacher looked at him in front

of a hundred people and he basically

said, 'Can you go all the way with it?

Be a total failure.

Get up here and announced to

us what a failure you are.'

And the man came up to the front of

the room, took the microphone and

he exclaimed, 'I'm a total failure!'

And it was really his biggest

fear in life and in owning it, it

gave this tremendous liberation.

He started laughing as hard out and

we laughed along with him because

the freedom he was experiencing from

the fear of it was really palpable.

And you could tell he felt free

from it for the first time in his

life, by going directly into it.

So I imagine that that man then

could bounce back more quickly from

his future failures that were going

to happen because we all fail.

For me, I see failure as an interesting

thing in my life, and it's not

pleasant most of the time, but it

always helps me grow and learn.

And I've learned that along the way.

And this only happens when

I'm out of my own way, though.

I hope this hack can help you go

a long way and bouncing back from

failure, taking a look at your own

shame, defensiveness, meeting them

mindfully, and then looking at how you

can actually grow from the experience.

Thank you for your practice.

And I wish you well as you work with

becoming more aware of shame and

defensiveness in your life as a way of

bouncing back more quickly from failure.

And remember today, to be gentle, to

see the beauty around you, and most

importantly, be kind to yourself.

Included in

Q&A on Emotional Resilience null Playlist · 5 tracks

Q&A on Emotional Resilience

Playlist · 5 tracks4.9

More by this teacher

What if I Don’t Have the Energy to Be Resilient?Talk by Kelly Boys
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Kelly Boys

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