Fear of failure stops a lot of people from doing a lot of things. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who goes out of their way to screw things up or get rejected. Whether it’s a test, a project, or even a quest for romance, putting yourself out there and failing can really hurt, and that can make us reluctant to try in the first place. What we often forget, however, is that failure is a necessary step if we want to succeed. No successful person got to where they are without a few bumps along the way.
Failure can be incredibly useful if we use it as a tool to learn. If you fail a test, you can either feed the self-fulfilling prophecy that you are destined to fail everything you try, or you can use that experience to grow. Could you have prepared more? Was there an angle you didn’t explore the first time around? Did you fully understand what was expected of you? Asking yourself these questions gives you an opportunity to evolve and flourish; being aware of your weaknesses means you can eventually spin them into strengths. These instances of failure can help us become the best versions of ourselves.
Other times, however, we must respond to failure with unwavering self-confidence. Failing doesn’t always mean you need to change; sometimes, you need to keep doing the same thing over and over. There’s a reason we say, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’. It might take resilience, but it’s worth it. When it comes to succeeding, becoming your own number one supporter is half the battle.
I’ve spent the last year writing a book about sobriety, and only recently sent it off to potential agents. The first rejection sent me spiralling into a self-pitying hole where I was certain I’d never succeed. Funnily enough, though, the more rejections I got, the better I felt. Okay, getting repeatedly rejected might not seem like the journey to becoming a published author, but it is. It seems distant right now, but that doesn’t mean I should give up on what I’ve created. The point is, not everyone’s going to like everything you do, but someone out there might. Believing in yourself will take you far.
In our success-orientated career-driven society, we sometimes forget the importance of the process. Life isn’t all about reaching a particular goal, attaining a certain annual income, or winning employee of the month. As Miley Cyrus said, it’s not about all that stuff, it’s about The Climb. The journey, the climb, the process… that is life. Yes, there’s ‘always gonna be an uphill battle’ and sometimes we’re ‘gonna have to lose’. There’s no way we can get every job we apply for, receive good feedback for every idea we propose, or succeed at every new hobby we take up. Failing is part of the journey, and it can be every bit as good as succeeding.
Why am I telling you this?
Sobriety can feel like an impossible challenge that we are doomed to fail at. But the thing is, like most things, going alcohol-free is not linear. It takes a lot of stop-starting, half-arsing, and failed moderation attempts. Having a month off drinking and then drinking like a fish the month after isn’t a step backward, it’s a step forward. Every aspect of your journey is important — the successes and the so-called failures.
Remember: it's all about the process!