How's that New Year's Resolution going?
Whether it's losing 10 pounds, making 10 additional sales calls a week, or improving profit by 10%, it's likely that as we head into February, you have fallen short.
In our results-oriented culture, it is often hard to step back to recognize, really see, and acknowledge failure.
Do a web search for failure, and the images that come up are mostly trite slogans about how failure is part of success. Even if this is true, is that actually even helpful when you feel mired down by failure? Or does it just further alienate you by making you feel worse, because you aren't happy that you failed?
It seems that we are missing a step in all of this. That step is to recognize and claim how painful failure can feel. As humans, we resist pain. Our survival instincts have made it so.
If failure needs to be part of success, then the missing step needs to be a way to not deny (or avoid) this pain, but to make room for it, so it can be useful.
"I am failing at this. Why? What can I change to fix this? What exactly needs to be fixed? Why is this important?" in a constructive way.
- It may be because we fear other people's judgment of what we do or don't do.
- It may be because we can't say no when we are already over-committed, not wanting to miss out on an opportunity, or not wanting to let others down who ask us for help and are counting on us.
- It may be because we don't want to surrender any turf to our competition.
- It may be because we are running on inertia, and don't feel like we have the energy to get out of our habitual comfort zone and get up to speed with doing things differently.
- It may be because we don't know exactly how to start.
- It may be because we confuse mastery with learning, and we expect to be perfect or successful in an unrealistic way or time frame.
- It may be because we think if we ask for help that we are admitting failure to someone else, and don't want to appear weak or disclose we don't know how to do something.
- It may be because we can't envision what success looks like, so we can't imagine the scope of the full project or what to do.
- It may be because we imagine the pain of change to be greater that it will actually be, while imagining the pain of not changing to be less that it will actually be. In other words, we are afraid to do the experiment and find out.
Once you recognize this is happening, and decide because you are failing that you need to make changes, how can you increase the odds of success?
Here is an article about habits and changing behaviors.
Psychologists talk about the Intentional Mind needing to be thoughtfully engaged to change a habit to a new one.
It seems that our survival also has hard-wired us so that the Habitual Mind likes to take over, making habits hard to break.
After analyzing what may be behind the failure, considering changes to try, and fixing a strategy for change, you will have a way to begin again.
Pricing and Product Specialist at cfm Distributors, Inc.
Julie grew up in Omaha and graduated from Creighton University. She has been with cfm since 2010. At cfm, Julie will help you with commercial replacement projects, new construction plan and spec jobs, and specialty equipment such as Bard packaged units, Reznor heaters, and other items large and small. Julie has lived in Kansas City for over 25 years, and enjoys live music, BBQ and hanging out with family and friends.