Research Paper By Wendy Yaniv
(Transitional Coach, ISRAEL)
How would transitions in life be different if we were taught to embrace and even celebrate failure?
Setting out to begin my new career as a Transitional Coach I, of course, learned a lot about myself along the way. Having been through many transitions in life, I wanted to delve into the whole idea of transitions and what about them, so often, causes such distress for people.
Why does some embrace change with open arms, while others prefer to remain with the devil that they know is better than the devil that they don’t know?
From a personal perspective, as difficult as many of the transitions have been in my life, I welcomed them. I welcomed the unknown, welcomed the learning that was always about to happen, and always trusted that the outcome, whatever it may be, will be the right one! Often I even referred to the most difficult transitions as “a gift wrapped in black wrapping.”
How much does being taught how to embrace failure as a child help us manage life’s transitions as we get older?
Having grown up in a large family of 6 children (all of us entrepreneurs), our dad always celebrated our failures. Sounds crazy but we would be taken out for ice cream when we failed. We never learned to fear failure.
As I began to research this idea of how embracing failure allows us to manage the transitions in life in a much more positive way, I realized that this may be the basis of creating a new way of viewing transitions and working as a Transitional Coach.
Warren Buffet stated that he would not invest in any business where the owner hasn’t failed at least twice. What would it look like if we looked at transitions as simply a move forward with the idea of possibly “failing forward,” “embracing failure?”
According to an article in Inc., “How to Embrace Failure and Use it to Succeed,” there are many discussion points but two of them are most pertinent concerning embracing failure as a tool to move through life’s transitions more effectively.
1. “Recognize when fear is disguised as procrastination.”
How often do we talk ourselves into, or confirm, our own limiting belief that the time is not right, so I need to wait until x or y happens? The process of coaching allows the coach and client to move through the “what-if” scenarios. Learn how to re-wire and challenge our own perspectives and fears. Fear of failure often parades as procrastination. Within the coaching environment, the client will be taken through the process to acknowledge the “fear”, challenge its limiting belief and effects, and then take a step off the start line.
2. “Don’t let the “fear of failing” inhibit your decision-making.”
According to Colin Powell, you only need 40-70% of the information to make a decision. Sometimes we just don’t know and many times, if we are waiting for total certainty … we will be looking back at stacked-up missed opportunities. How does one make the call to “start” while leaving potential data on the table? Trust failure embraces failure as a learning experience and an opportunity to be one step closer to your goal. Instead of viewing it from the negative, it’s a work in progress between client and coach to view failure not as failing but continued learning.
How to use failure to your advantage
Be committed to doing something different. Understand that it will feel uncomfortable and possibly even wrong. New action must be taken and it may be as simple as just taking one step, doing something different. Always looking at it through the ideas of learning and experiencing at each step.
Be okay with NOT knowing what the end will look like and simply be invested in the best outcome … which very well may be one that you do not know at the time that you begin. Through coaching, embracing failures and re-starts, being invested in the “best possible outcome”, you are then open to opportunities and experiences that you never dreamt possible.
Leave perfectionism behind! As Dr. Brene Brown states: “Perfectionism … a way of thinking and feeling that says this: ‘If I look perfect, do it perfectly, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame, and judgment.” “Perfectionism is addictive, because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough.”
While perfectionism is often put out there as a positive reason for “being stuck,” it actually is a shield used to protect us from taking a step and falling, failing, or having to change course. Embrace being ok, embrace being human and, most of all, embrace the excitement of throwing the weight of perfectionism off your shoulders. Instead of being in a defensive mode with perfectionism as the weapon of choice, through coaching, you can embrace the idea of taking new twists and turns to reach the best possible outcome. The journey will be rich with learning vs harsh with judgment.
Within my Transitional Coaching practice, the following steps would be applied to a client fighting with moving through the Transitional Stages per my Coaching Model:
TAKE A SEAT …
SEE beyond the past
EXPLORE the present
ADOPT a new perspective
TRANSITION to a better future
- Acknowledge limiting beliefs, traits, habits, fears
- Explore the learnings and replacing of old beliefs, habits with new ones
- Understanding the impact of releasing oneself to “the best possible outcome” with the new set of tools that are being adopted
- Walking through a new, different window to the future and acknowledging the beauty of failing forward and leaving limiting beliefs.
It’s been a wonderful journey with ICA and one of the greatest gifts I have given myself. I embrace all that I have learned and the personal growth that has ensued as a result. I look forward to paying it forward with my clients.
Inc. com; “How to Embrace Failure and use it to Succeed,” Martin Zwilling, Dr. Brene Brown: “Four Destructive Traits of Perfectionism,” Jan 2019