Messes. Misses. Mistakes. Better to be right than wrong, right?
Consider this: each day after school, my friend's father asks his two daughters what they succeeded at and enjoyed. And then he also makes sure to ask them where they tried and failed. He appreciates both; and he's teaching them to appreciate both. He intentionally pays as much attention to their mistakes as to their victories.
He's training them to be successful in what they care about, to be critical thinkers, to take things less personally, to be fearless in trying new things and to appreciate the ups and downs as invaluable pieces of the puzzle of life, relationships and business.
My husband read and relayed an article that distilled the common element in the upbringings of successful entrepreneurs. (Even if you aren't an entrepreneur, you’ll want to hear this!) The common element wasn't money, it wasn't being told they were smart, it wasn't being a child of an entrepreneur; what set these beings up for success on their own terms was a great relationship with failure. That bears repeating: a great relationship with failure.
Part of learning is getting it wrong before we get it right – or after we get it right, or in between getting it right. We don't always know our boundaries until we cross them. We remain fine, worthy beings, even when our beloved projects nose dive - although we rarely remember this. So many of us feel that before we try a thing the first time, we should already know how to do it. This goes for a new sport or job as well as sex or a relationship.
Ah, the shame of shooting and missing ... the embarrassment of hanging our butts out on the line ... the pain of putting out there what we love so dearly and having it bomb ... “It's too much,” we say, and thus we stop trying new things. We stop reaching. Our hearts shrivel like raisins. We die a little and a lot when we feel like there's something wrong with the mess-making and mistake-making inherent in learning.
That same husband of mine expects and plans for his ventures to fail three times at least for every time he nails it. Even in a project that's going really well, he looks for and welcomes the failures, because he knows his greatest learnings and greatest chance for success relies on how much he appreciates the messes, misses and mistakes. Whoa!
What if we were able to celebrate losses as well as direct hits? How might this make us braver in our relationships and in bed? More playful, open-hearted and curious?
So, your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Today, try something new; stretch a little. It can be a mini or a biggie, but it should be something that feels edgy for you: write a love poem and send it, try a new recipe, go to a new dance class, try a new martial art, tell someone you adore them, ask for inner guidance …