Failure as Experiments

Failure as Experiments

Einstein says that doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is called insanity. If we don’t want to have the same results, we have to take a different approach.

Failure has taught me that there is always more to be learned. We’ve been taught to fear failure, but there is fruit in the failure if we can think about it another way.

Developing “failure faith” is realizing that I am actually stronger, more mature, and more capable to take on the next challenge, because I’ve learned by building my mistake muscle.

Re-framing our mindset to think that it’s not necessarily failure, but a learning curve is the key. Being teachable and willing to learn from others, and being ready to burn the ships when it is time to move on, will keep the momentum moving.

In our society we hear that giving up is bad. Being persistent is one thing, but sometimes it’s good to give up when you know it’s not working. Sometimes it is better to cut your losses and to pivot in a new direction.

When what worked in the past isn’t working right now, and we have to be willing to to pivot. But we are not starting from scratch because we have the knowledge from our “failures” and experiments.

Failure as Experiments
Failure as Experiments


Failure as Experiments

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A lot of us don’t like to talk about our failures, right? But what we don’t realize is failure. Isn’t failure. It’s just experiments. If we can adapt a way of thinking of like, I’m going to try something and I’m going to learn something in the process, cuz the only way I’m gonna learn of how to make it better is to try and fail. Like I’m a, a competitive figure skater. And I only learned to skate when I was 30. So I had to learn the skill way back to basics. And our adult brains are designed to overthink. Like if you see a kid who puts on a pair of skates, they’re like, okay, fall down, get up. Do do, do no problem.

We’re as adults. Well, hang on a second. If I do that and that’s gonna fall, then I’m gonna hurt myself. Like what, you know, start talking ourselves out of things because we are overthinking everything. And what I’d realized, you know, after having this experience a couple times over that, if I keep making this failure about me as, as on a basis of like, this is wrong, something’s wrong with me. And this is often what entrepreneurs do because entrepreneurship is almost like a creation. You’re creating something from nothing. And it often comes from either heart or your vision. So someone criticizes it or something, doesn’t go, well, we make it about ourselves. We make it feel like we are a failure. Like we are inherently bad or we did something bad. So I had to learn along the way that being an entrepreneur, it’s just it’s you gotta roll with the punches.

You’ve gotta be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly, but even so I’ve learned to see, see the good in the failures and the experiments because they’ve got me closer to our wanna be. So a lot of, I mean, I’ve had, um, I’ve been a, a website designer I’ve done online marketing. I’ve been a, a book publisher, uh, a photographer. I was at, I had a studio that I ran for 12 years and um, now pivoting to an online business model has had its own ups and downs and having to learn and experiment and try. But here’s the thing I I’ve realized through all those processes is that I always have to be teachable if I’m stubborn about an attitude of like, well, I did that in my last business or this I did this before and that works. So I’m not gonna do something new.

That is really where things didn’t work. So when I’ve been able to adopt an attitude of say, okay, what can I learn from this might not have turned out great. Clearly what I was doing, wasn’t working and Einstein says doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is called insanity. So if I didn’t want to have the same results, clearly I had to have a different approach. So really the failures really taught me more about what needed to be done. And it also sort of test of character that we often don’t think about that I’m actually stronger, more mature, more capable and able to take on the next level of experience or the next challenge, because I’ve learned by building that muscle that it’s not necessarily failure, it’s act a learning curve. So to me that’s been the biggest thing is just being teachable and being willing to learn from others and also being ready to burn the ships.

Failure as Experiments

Sometimes when you learn that maybe this isn’t working and in a society that makes it sound like giving up is bad. Sometimes it’s good to give up when you know, this is not working, I’m not heading in the right direction, time to cut my losses and to, to pivot a new direction. It’s a, an internal struggle that really comes down to being true to yourself. And this is the thing is we can look online and see all the things and all the fancy funnels and marketing hacks and strategies. Ooh, you just do this and your business is gonna magically have clients overnight. You know, as if it’s like a commercial, that’s not the truth of what we see. And that’s what is is wrong right now is that people are not being truthful about really what it what’s happening. And, and what’s worked in the past.

Isn’t working right now and we have to be, be willing to be able to pivot. But often what I find when I, I work with people is that they have this disconnect between what their head wants and what the heart wants and the spirit. And that’s what I I’m so passionate about is we have to get back in tune with who we are on a spiritual level, because our spirit, which is our purpose, our desire, our wants our needs, our it’s kind of like your internal compass that says, this doesn’t feel right. Like you’re doing this, this feels icky. Or this doesn’t, this isn’t the person I should be serving. I feel like I’m in the wrong room. Like, hello, I got off the elevator on the wrong floor. Like, what am I doing here? And that’s that sense of, I’ve gotta keep up appearances.

I’ve gotta pretend that everything’s fine. We are back in the day behind the scenes, I’m miserable, tired, burnt out on the, and the point of breakdown. And that’s a very sad place to be because it’s very hard to come back from a complete crash and burn then to allow yourself to see the signs and to pivot before we get there by being true to ourselves. So, and this is a challenge. Is, are we willing to ask ourselves those hard questions have, have I started this with the wrong intentions or so, and so seems to look like she just did this one thing and look how her business flourished. We don’t actually know if that’s true. I mean, are they making six and seven figures? They say, do this and make six and seven figures. But are they being for real? At the end of the day, we have to really get back in tune with our own intuition, with our own spiritual sense of, and you know, for me, I’m a Christian coach, I work a lot with Christian women who have that sense of faith and know that a lot of it is coming into alignment with who you are, who God made you to be.

So we stop the pretense. We take off the masks, we stop pretending to be something we’re not because that is what creates exhaustion, frustration, burnout, and business failure is when we are not being true to who we are, what are, what is worth it to you? What, what is, what do you value? But sometimes we don’t ask ourselves that like the busy entrepreneur, who’s now running a multimillion dollar business. Who’s running the treadmill who feels like, stop the train. I wanna get off this. Isn’t bringing me joy that I’m, I’m sacrificing my family, my marriage, my whatever in the blanks. But are we willing to ask ourselves hard questions and getting back in touch with that? Usually those who identify with doing a lot of things and achieving a lot of things and maybe in more in a quicker way than maybe most people, but it comes at a cost, right?

Failure as Experiments

High performance comes with pressure. High performance also comes with higher expectations of yourself and of others. And how performance often comes with perfectionism people pleasing and burnout, if not corrected. Right, right. Because we, it’s not about just doing things for doing the things it’s, it’s this internal drive. And oftentimes I look back and I find this fascinating. That’s why I love to hear about people’s stories. It’s often time based on how we were raised. So oftentimes, you know, for people who are high performance, it’s like, they feel like they, they can’t stop. They, and sometimes it is a brain thing like of a lot of my clients have, ADHD or have been, have had those kind of issues. Kids or never can still feel like they always, always gotta do stuff. But at the end of the day, it’s learning to go slow so you can speed up.

So part of what I love to teach people is you, you feel like the more you speeding up the faster you do things, the more the longer the to-do list, especially women, women love the list. Like let me do more stuff. And my, my whole approach is the opposite is let’s burn the list, get you to do one thing. Kind of like the concept of you standing in inner forest, and you wanna cut down some trees, but you have like this, this butter knife. And you’re going around trying to whack at all the different trees. And you’re trying to get them all to, you know, a little bit of a chip here and a little bit of chip. Then you’re running yourself ragged, where if you were just given a very sharp ax and you stood in front of one tree and you hacked at that tree until that tree fell down, feeding productive.

But what we tend to do is we, and we tend to wear busy as a badge. Look at me. I’m so busy. I’m so busy. I’m so busy. I’m so important because I’m busy. I’m so busy. Oh, I can’t have time for that. Cuz I’m so busy. And we have to ask ourselves a deep question. Why do I feel like I have to be busy to feel important? Do I not feel like what I’m providing or what I’m offering the world is value? Like what is the one tree I need to stand in front of and stay here and work at it until I get to the root of what is causing the tree to grow. Cause a lot of, you know, I like to align Dr. Caroline Leaf is also south African neuroscience, great stuff. She also describes as trees, brains as trees.

So if you think about your thoughts as trees, you know, you, we often are dealing with the, the fruit, the symptoms, the anxiety, the fear, the, the perfectionism. But we don’t often want to look at the root of why this tree is growing in the first place. And it takes it a little bit of work. And for anyone who loves gardening knows when you’re doing some gardening, you gotta get out the weeds. And sometimes it’s a little hot and sweety and hard work, right? It’s not, the prettiest can get a little ugly and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary because if we really wanna build a garden that’s gonna grow and be fruitful. We have to realize that the work is needs to be done, to get things out of our lives or our minds that are serving us. And to come back to that sense of calm, what can I do?

That’s less, that’s gonna create more in math, which is often a strange concept to tell someone who’s a high performer who expects, who has the opposite thought of the more I do, the more effective, I know this is a very interesting concept to start a new, a new skill that I had no experience with as a child in my thirties. But it’s one of those dreams I’d always said, oh, I’d love to focus skate. Growing up in South Africa, we didn’t really have access to drinks cause it’s super hot out there. You know, swimming pools, yes. Ice drinks. No. And it’s one of those things that, uh, you know, when we moved to the USA, I was like, you know, what is the one thing I really wanna do? And instead of putting it on the shelf, because a lot of us as adults, we think, well, I’m, I’m all grown up now.

Failure as Experiments

So I can’t do those things. And the one day I was like, well, why not? What, what is stopping me? It’s just me. Really? What am I worried about? And at first the kids were like, oh my gosh, mom, you a leotard. No, I’m like, listen, if you, I look hot in leotard. So if you have a problem with me and a Leot, that’s your problem. I’m not gonna worry about what you think of me doing what I love to do. And it did take a little bit of being brave of putting myself out there. But my whole concept was, if this is something I really wanted to do, I’m the only one limiting myself, am I willing to learn? And the reason why I do it, I mean, I’m now mid forties. So I’ve been doing it for about 12, 13 years.

What I’ve learned about this process is that it takes time. Us adults overthink everything. So my, I have a, a coach that I’ve worked with for 10 years. So every Tuesday she’s like, see you on the rink. And she’s like, I don’t care how you feel. You’re gonna show up and do the work. So even the days, like when I was sick or I didn’t feel great, I was like, I know that I’m a, having a commitment to myself. This has nothing to do with business, but this is a challenge, a personal challenge to, can I show up for me because I, that going back to that point is that I had made my business my life in actual fact, my old business photography was my hobby. I used to love doing photography and I fell in love with it because it was my passion and I made it my business.

But when my passion became my business, we, the passion went out the window and I kind of lost sight of why I lived to do things creatively. So I, I think it’s really good to either have like some kind of hobby or something. You do that as an not business related because it keeps you teach. It keeps you in the place where you’re like, I’m an amateur I need to learn and I’m gonna fall down and I’m, this might hurt, but I’m gonna keep doing it again. And again, and again, I’m figure skating is one of those things. That’s when you perform it’s perfection or bust and you only get awarded the point for doing it. Right. But to me, the biggest, biggest blessing and the biggest treasure is in the learning. I’ve learned that sometimes it feels like two steps forward, one step back, but every time, as long as I’m moving, I’m putting one foot in front of the other, even though I might feel like I’m back to where I was two years ago, it’s just learning the basics, going over the, over the process and just trusting the process that it’ll take me to where I wanna be.

And I’ve taken that application business that even though I want things now, and I want things overnight and all this, I should do this inside. Having a flurry of clients. I know the process of real life is that it takes one step, trusting the process, showing up all the time and knowing that just cause I fall down, doesn’t mean I’m gonna stay there. I just need to pick myself up and keep going. So it’s more like the resilience of life is gonna be ups and downs, but I’m just gonna keep swinging and keep going at it. Well, everyone’s, I, I had big butts. I’ll tell you lots of big butts and they don’t lie. They are for real excuses. But what I’d realized is if I didn’t take time for myself for self-care to full up my cup, I wouldn’t have anything to give out.

Failure as Experiments

And this is inherently. The problem with entrepreneurs is we pour out and we think the more we give, the more we give that we are gonna get closer to our, our goal. But what happens is you, we actually have the opposite effect. So for me, I’d realize that I had that, that desire in me that I really wanted to do this and all the years I’d I talked about it and never really did anything would just keep going. And I would get, I felt like I was getting further away from my, what my heart’s desire, but it’s amazing that once I had said, you know, what, how about you? Just let yourself try because here’s the truth. People will find the time and they will make the money for things. They really value. Cuz there is no amount of anything out there that you can’t make happen.

If you’re not determined to make it happen. If you wanna buy, a new, say a new car and you know, this is what you really want. You will make it happen. You will find the way to do that. But what happens with entrepreneurs is we get our identity from our business. I’m an entrepreneur. So therefore that’s who I am and who I am as a person. And that’s a dangerous place to be because when your business fails or something goes wrong, then you make it about you. And you’re like, well, I’m terrible. I’m awful. So I’ve failed. And I’d realized that you have to have that separation between the business is what I do and who I am as a person is I’m not a failure, but the business failed. And yeah, you have to allow yourself just like anything to go through periods of shame and blame and having the, his effect and have the little, you know, pity party in the corner.

But then we need to realize that the business isn’t my life, unless you have a completion point or allowing your brain to go, I achieve this. So now I’m gonna celebrate, enjoy this. It’s like you forever have your finger in the plug of, and you gonna get electrocute. So we have to allow that ourselves, that downtime. And I mean, a great example is if you’ve ever watched Netflix or anything online and you binges watch, you often wonder why is it I can’t, I can’t put this book down or I can’t switch to the, the TV off and have to keep watching it’s cuz your brain is being triggered. And we call this the open loop, open closed loop, say when you’re designing, writing a story or TV background would be about how do we keep people watching? How do we like even now with social media, it’s designed to hack your brain to keep you stuck and focused on whatever is you’re doing.

And if you think about it, we don’t have completions. We don’t have any closure. You watch a program, it starts with a conflict. You see the characters going through something. And then what happens is they conclude that conflict. But before that, that episode ends, they open loop for the next conflict, but then they leave you on a cliffhanger. I gotta see what happens. I gotta see what happens. And your brain is like, it’s almost like it’s addicted to that. Gotta see. Gotta see. Gotta see. Gotta see. So this is why it’s so important to allow ourselves to take a step back and say, I need to close the loop. I did this, I did my work or I need to celebrate. I mean, why as humans do we have weddings? You know? Yeah. Commencements, graduations, funerals, because it’s our human nature needs closure. We need to allow ourselves to do something.

Know that we’ve achieved it, close the loop, finish it and then give ourselves a pause. And in the pause is where the restoration happens. So if you are constantly looping from one thing to another, your brain is getting taxed, physiologically. You are taxing your system, your adrenals, your, your whole physical body can be affected. And the problem is there’s no end in sight. So you have to decide to hit the pause button. You have to decide to have I’m closing this down or I’m giving myself a break. So for, for me, even like I could very easily have the excuse that, you know, I don’t really wanna go to skating today because I’ve got so many emails to answer. And oftentimes I’m sometimes I’ll admit a and be a little late. She’s like, I’m watching you. She says you there on Tuesday. Your commitment is to yourself.

Failure as Experiments

First and foremost, the rest of it will find its way. But as again, as entrepreneurs, we make this about ourselves as an identity piece. And we think that if I’m not working hard enough, I’m not enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not. When is enough, when are you gonna decide, decide that you’re valuable enough to take the time out, to do the things that make your heart safe, to do the things that refresh you. Cuz here’s the thing is you can’t pour out from an empty cup. You, you can’t keep putting your foot on the gas of the pedal, win the gas. When you have no more gas in the tank, you just gotta damage the vehicle. What never changes is in business and in life is relationships and trust, no matter what kind of tool, hack strategy, app web, you know, software program, you use nothing changes when we come to trusting each other and relationships like even though I was in online marketing for like seven, eight years and learning all the things and all the hacks and all the strategies and all the tools, those are just the things we use.

But at the end of the day, businesses, people doing business with people they know like, and trust and trust has become a very important commodity now. Well it’s like, everyone’s like, well I’m, I’m not gonna give you my attention. That’s what’s got harder is before there were a few methods of reaching people and you needed a few touches. Now there is so much noise out there that you need to go further and longer and be more consistent in order to build that trust. So for someone to even trust you with their money or to invest in anything that you have, people are wiser and in a more savvy now they’re not gonna fall for these old tricks. Like, you know, I am so anti mass marketing approach, that’s fear based marketing. Like you gonna miss out on this, you better sign up by this date.

And I’m like, no life happens. People are in different stages in life. And to shove everybody down this sort of sausage machine expecting to get the same results is like, it’s impossible. Cuz everybody is different. It’s like you give a recipe to five different chefs. That’s gonna turn out differently, right? The same thing with your business approach. And here’s the thing is that, you know, we can’t rely on old methods. We have to be teachable. We have to be able to pivot and to learn and to say, what is it that I need to do differently. Maybe this worked back then and it’s not working now. That doesn’t mean it’s a failure on me. It just means things are different. Things have changed. Am I mature enough? And willing enough to say this is time to walk away from this or maybe I need to learn something new.

You know, as the more seasoned you get you sometimes there’s a bit of pride that comes like I know my stuff like, she can’t teach me and having your ego and your business is very dangerous. It’s very, it’s very difficult for you to really see the truth of what’s needed. And this is what happens is we get clouded by our own perceptions. And that’s why you need somebody else like a coach or a partner or people who will be honest with you and say, it’s time for us to change. Like, Hey, we had this marketing strategy and it’s not working anymore. We actually need to be willing to take the advice and to look at it, think trust, doesn’t go out the window relationship building. Even in this online world, like I’m a lot of people I talk to now are so allergic to like the all the apps and the platforms and the dings and the notifications like our brains are in overload.

Failure as Experiments

And I think going forward, we really are back to the old school methods of connecting with people, but we are now have the task of having to work harder to build a trust. We have to be able to be more consistent. Are we gonna keep pulling ourselves, get it back up again, even though we fall doing it again and again and again, that doesn’t God of out of trains, others just showing up and where I see things changing now is people are getting tired of the facade of let’s pretend that everything’s great. People really want specificity of their particular needs and they want connection. They want to connect with people who they know like and trust and who are like them. So I really think we, I see us going back to valuing more of that, what we call the tribal mindset like growing up in South Africa, we have 11 official languages and we all have these different ways and mixed culture.

But what I remember about the African culture is this whole tribal mentality of you, the people in the tribe are there to lift you up when you having a bad day, like whether it’s, you know, raising children or if you needed support. And I think that’s where people are yearning for is we might be the most connected in terms of, you know, being able to connect with everybody. But we are actually the most disconnected generation because we have lost that connection to people and really get back to questioning ourselves. Like, are we teachable at, you know, are we willing to learn the things that are maybe hard and uncomfortable and might be a little messy and embarrassing to talk about, but maybe there’s something we need to learn and are we willing to go the long haul and be able to see, see through relationships and like stick with someone and you know, not just expect the quick fix, but go back to valuing what we all value is the relationships and getting to know people and getting, letting them know you.

So I really just think that’s kind of like we’ve done in full circle in life. Well, really, if you think about it, the world has experienced. I mean, most people have some changes in their life, maybe one or two major shifts in their life. For me, I mean I’ve immigrated three times had four businesses, so I’ve come my husband and I’ve had these ups and downs constantly like the challenges. And what I’ve realized is that it is a muscle you gotta develop, but what’s happened in the last two years is people have been forced to deal with so much change in such a short space of time that they, they aren’t equipped for it. They haven’t got, they haven’t built the muscle. They haven’t had the time to process it. And that’s, what’s creating all this overwhelming anxiety. I mean, what do they call last year?

The great resignation, how many people left their jobs? But I’ve always said, you know, the rat race was due to be canceled. It was time that people start to connect with who they are really and want to be. Cause can you imagine if everyone was working in alignment with who they were supposed to be, it would be amazing. So yeah, coaching is what I love to do, but I like to approach it from a training perspective and things like, we gotta do the hard work, honey, it might hurt and you are gonna cry and you are gonna sweet, but let’s just, there is no false promises. It’s all about what you are prepared to do with your life. Cuz I truly believe that you have to take a hundred percent responsibility for a hundred percent of the results and realize that the circumstance isn’t what creates your happiness in life at your thoughts about yourself and the circumstances that it’s key to your success.

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