Malcolm Levene shares his success & failures of 2013 in our series of guest blog posts, it's great to have others share the reality that successes don't appear in isolation!
Make Friends With Your Failures
As Albert Einstein once said: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
And as Bram Stoker has said, "We learn from failure, not from success."
As Mr Stoker and Mr Einstein note, the most effective form of learning is derived from our failures and mistakes. So, by making friends with our misjudgements, failed ventures, mistakes and errors, we become more powerful. That's because adversary is our greatest teacher.
And like most teachers, particularly those I can recall at school, a reluctance to learn was my default. Yet in later life, I've found some of their lessons invaluable.
While beginning to write this blog I was reminded of one of my New Year resolutions, which is - to allow myself to be more vulnerable. Although easier said than done, this year, I am determined to make the effort.
When Claire Boyles invited me to guest blog about success and failure, initially, I thought: 'What am I going to write about?'
Then, it came to me, 'I'll allow myself to communicate how 2013 has been for me: the good, bad and the ugly', so to speak. And in the light of my desire to become more vulnerable, here goes...
An important lesson has been - to have more realistic expectations. In fact, I think it's best to lower one's expectations and to raise our emotional resilience. For me, this has meant, doing lots of research in the realm of how to overcome adversity. Or, more importantly, how to shift my thinking from 'Why me?' to 'Malcolm, it's not your problem, it's theirs.' Not that I want to cast any blame, far from it, I just want to dissolve any of my unhelpful thinking.
Looking at yesterday's mistakes can be helpful, only if we can learn from them. However, obsessing about times we've gotten it wrong is like reliving the experience. So, best to 'let go' of anything that reminds us of our errors. We can do this, by focusing on what we did/do that's right. In short, be fully aware about what you spend your time focusing on. Remember, we tend to get more of what we spend most of our time thinking about.
Learn to see the world through the eyes of others. If we only see life through our own prism, our view, our outlook will be limited. In addition, it deprives us of having empathy. I'm currently focusing on putting myself in the shoes of others. That way, I can be more open to how it might feel to be somebody else. And although as a coach I tend to do this all the time, it's far more challenging for me to do so in my personal life.
For me, it's about self discipline. For many years, I was in the fashion business, not a place where self discipline is a 'must have.' That is to say, if you said it loud enough, everyone would hear you. Having self discipline helps me to be a better version of me: not giving in to (imaginary) quick fixes, temporary pleasures, and also disallowing my ego to run the show. Fact is, when I'm able to employ self disciplinary measures I like who I'm becoming.
Making friends with adversity, is about treating the experience as an experience, nothing more. Because in essence, it's just another of life's many experiences.
Thing is, experiences give you a unique opportunity to use them to benefit you.
So endeavour to make friends with adversity, knowing it's in our lives to teach us how to make improvements.
And as the saying goes: No gain without pain.
Please feel free to share, if you liked it others probably will too!
Guest Blogger Malcom Levene has been a Personal Branding coach for 20 years. He teaches people how they can significantly improve their business skills, their life-skills, and their businesses by developing their very own Personal Brand. His private clients have included Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, Michael Marks CBE, Michael Gove MP and notable individuals from the world of business, politics and entertainment. Malcolm has recently become an Hon. Visiting Professor of the London Metropolitan University. He is also a regular Huffington Post contributor.