The page is now loaded

Failure is the Greatest Teacher

How to learn from failure

It’s a new year, and like most, I’m resolving for a better, brighter version of myself. In the past, I’ve considered the usual prospects–a healthier diet, more time volunteering and giving back, starting something new, or fixing something old. And like most, I found myself taking honest inventory of the likelihood of my success and ultimately, feeling defeated, unmotivated and unable to commit.

Let’s face it–change is hard. And lasting change–even harder.

It hit me over the holiday season, when, in the midst of the usual chaos, I was able to sneak away on an afternoon with my family to catch the new Star Wars movie. Center row seats reservations purchased, popcorn in hand, and a few previews later, I was fully immersed in all the things I was hoping for–action, graphics and the development of the characters I had grown so fond of. My residual guilt surrounding my lack of commitment toward a new resolution quickly melted away during my 3-hour distraction. That is, until one line caught my attention–“Failure is the greatest teacher.” It stuck with me like residual glitter from the holiday wrapping I had used for gifts earlier that week–and it irritated me just the same.

Failure? Really? I thought the whole point of this resolution thing was to avoid failing at it. In fact, failing is the one thing that made me feel incapacitated and unmotivated to set a resolution in the first place. So, in my natural rebellious way, I found myself trying to challenge it and poke holes in it–all with the hopes of outsmarting it and eventually letting it go. I was determined to slice this theory with my mental lightsaber.

Except I didn’t.

I gave some thought to all the times I had failed–epically. And as much as grimaced thinking about those painful memories, I also recognized the theme that started to emerge–those moments gave me lasting change.

And I couldn’t ignore that these moments weren’t journeys ventured completely on my own–they were supported by great mentors who encouraged me even when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, much like the heroes in our favorite films.

This past year, my mentors in these journeys have been a supporting cast of Life Coaches. Whether it was experiencing failure and lacking confidence, or anticipating the unknown, coaches have listened intently and helped me to cultivate my next step. So instead of feeling defeated and unmotivated by the fear of failure, I’ve been taking proactive steps and creating lasting change in my life.

So I didn’t win the mental lightsaber battle. But what I did win was a deep appreciation for coaches have inspired me to live out my potential more fully. So regardless of the resolution I’ll be setting this year, if I want lasting change I know one thing for sure–it may be messy, and I may fail, but I will tackle it again with the support of my coach.