One thing I hear over-and-over again from people is that they’re afraid to fail. They’re afraid of what others will think about them if they fumble towards their goals. They’re afraid to endure the pain of falling short: and so, they make fears their reality. Little do they know that failure is the best teacher.
They stop short of realizing their goals or, worse, they don’t take action in the first place. I certainly have feared failure. And my fear has paralyzed me at times. If you’ve experienced this, you know how much it sucks. But failure should teach us, instead of paralyze us.
Sometimes fear of failure is rooted in perfectionist tendencies. At their core, perfectionists never feel good enough. When they realize they’ve made a mistake, it’s enough to take them down a spiral of self-criticism shame. Often times, this stops perfectionists from doing anything at all.
A perfectionist streak can hurt your health, career, and relationships. This is because it exacerbates your fears of failure so much so, that you don’t reach for your goals at all. Compounding this is the internal judgment and negative dialog that are a part of the perfectionist’s tool box. What can help in such situations is grasping the concept that, failure can teach you more about life than constant success.
If you relate to this description of a perfectionist, there’s hope! You can change your perfectionist tendencies by embracing your limitations and failures. This isn’t an easy thing to do. It takes ongoing patience, but it can be learned.
Here are five things that you can do to become less of a perfectionist and learn from your mistakes.
1. Stop performing
Do you find yourself constantly trying to make everything polished and perfect? Does everyone think you’re amazing – all the time? It can be an addictive and wonderful feeling, but there is better ones. Like what? Try being liked for who you really are! Instead of perfection, aim for genuine. This will help you feel more grounded and capable of accepting failures and successes, alike.
2. Lean into your mistakes
If you’re screwing up, let yourself screw up. It can even be fun. Take it from me – a self-professed serious person. Make a point of not taking YOURSELF too seriously. Just remember that the general population of the earth is 7.125 billion. You are just ONE of those people roaming the earth with your mediocre problems. Enjoy yourself, friend!
3. See your mistakes as opportunities
There is something to be gained from every instance of failure. How can you turn the coal of your moment into a diamond? Take them as an opportunity to learn.
4. Give credit to and enjoy your strengths and limitations
A funny thing happens when you embrace your strengths or limitations – you become better able to embrace its opposite. This means you increasingly step into your true self and start to understand that failure is the best teacher.
See it as a gift: When you’re willing to accept your limitations, everyone around you breathes a bit easier. This is because when you accept your shortcomings, you create an environment of love and acceptance that helps helps everyone around you heal, themselves.