67. Reframing How We Think About Failure - Evercoach - By Mindvalley

March 15, 2022

67. Reframing How We Think About Failure

Have you ever felt like a failure or maybe the fear of failure held you back from taking action? We all face failure at some point in our lives and, for many, it’s the reason why they’re constantly stuck. Perhaps you have clients who are...

Have you ever felt like a failure or maybe the fear of failure held you back from taking action? We all face failure at some point in our lives and, for many, it’s the reason why they’re constantly stuck.

Perhaps you have clients who are struggling with failure and you’re unsure how to help them overcome those negative thoughts and turn them into empowering ones. If this resonates with you, then this episode is for you!

In today's episode, Coach Ajit shares the 3 levels of thinking about failure and how each one shows up in our lives. Listen in to find out which is the best level of thinking to have and the one powerful coaching question you can ask to reframe the thought of failure into a positive one.

Key Insights:

  • What is failure?
  • Fear of failure vs the feeling of failure.
  • How our concept of failure impacts our lives.
  • 3 levels of thinking about failure.
  • Why think of failure as a companion.
  • A powerful question to ask yourself and your clients to reframe how you think about failure.

Coach Ajit (00:00):
You are listening to Master Coaching with Ajit podcast that inspires coaches to impact the lives of their clients more meaningfully. I am Coach Ajit and I'm known for coaching high performers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. I'm also a serial entrepreneur and author of many books. On this podcast, I am answering your burning questions. I'm also demonstrating and deconstructing behind-the-scenes coaching sessions.

Coach Ajit (00:35):
Hello there. Welcome to this special episode of Master Coaching with Ajit today. It's just me and you. And we are having a real conversation about failure. You see a lot of us, either experience failure in our life, or we experience clients or work with clients who are experiencing failure in their life. And there are many ways to approach failure. There are many ways to really tackle failure. What I wanted to talk about is something that may be going on in your mind, because I've seen that go on in minds of a lot of coaches, trainers, educators is not just failure itself, but thinking about failure, what will happen if I fail? What happens when we fail? This whole narrative is a constant background noise that keeps going on and on and on. As we are trying to create something in our lives. And failure is such a constant narrative that is happening for us pretty much all the time, either.

Coach Ajit (01:38):
It is the fear of failure, which is what if I fail one day or tomorrow, or as I pursue this project as I pursue this career, or the knowing that currently you are failing currently are failing at the expectation. You may have set for yourself. Currently, you may be failing at the goals you may have set for yourself. And that feeling of that I am failing right now, or I may fail in the future, creates a sense of that. You are not in control of your life. And when we feel we are not in control of our life, we feel anxious. We feel concerned. And because of this anxiety and concern that maybe showing up in your life, you may be extrapolating what may be actually happening in your life right now, or what is possibly going to happen in the future. You see, when we are in a state of anxiety, we tend to feel whatever's causing anxiety will continue to cause anxiety.

Coach Ajit (02:32):
And hence, if something's going bad, it'll continue to go bad. If something doesn't feel like it's gonna go good, we will keep extrapolating and keep thinking that it's gonna get worse with time. And because of that, instead of working on our anxieties, working on affairs, we extrapolate our anxieties. We extrapolate our fears and we start believing that we are going to constantly stay in the state of that failure consistently stay in the state of feeling like a failure in today's episode. My intention is that I can help you reimagine failure, reconsider failure, by changing the way you think about failure. We think about failure in a particular way. And when we think about failure in that particular way, it may define how we see ourselves. And if it defines or supports in any way, how we see ourselves, it impacts our identity. And the more it impacts our identity, the more we become what our failure is trying to define us to become.

Coach Ajit (03:34):
And that is why it becomes so very important for us to challenge this narrative. This narrative that may be causing anxiety may be causing fear, maybe even making you feel like a failure. And because of these narratives, you may be unconsciously signing up for a new identity, an identity that may not be helpful to create your new or your ideal future. So how does one go about thinking about failure? How does one reform or change the way they think about failure? Well, the first thing to do is to understand how we even think about failure. What is it? That is the narrative in our mind when we see or hear or experience failure in our life, or imagine failure in our life. I am borrowing the way to think about failure from different thinking patterns. From a dear friend of mine, Michael Neill. Michael Neill has done some amazing work in the area of how we think about things.

Coach Ajit (04:29):
How we really deal with our consciousness deal with our own being. And I love one of the chapters that he has in his book called Creating The Impossible in this chapter. He explores the idea of thinking about failure. Now I'm not gonna go ahead and take the entire section and present it to you. That is for you to experience. If you choose to get the book, Creating The Impossible, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna give you my skinny on how I think we think about failure and what we can do to change that thinking that is more productive for us. So the first thinking that we have around failure, and this may be a place where you meet a lot of your clients, because a lot of your clients may come to you when they're already feeling this way. And this is when you think, and we can call this the level.

Coach Ajit (05:19):
One of thinking about failure, which is I am failure, or I failed. The reason why I call it level one thinking is because most of us operate from this place. We think I feel that this, or I'm a failure at this, and this may happen anywhere in life. If you find a friend, a client that seems to struggle to find love because they didn't and they weren't successful in love. Once you'll find that their subconscious narrative is very much in alignment with I'm a failure in love, or I failed in love. And that starts to create their identity. The way they show up in different possible relationships are not show up in different possible. Relationships is the same. When somebody gets a jaded career, they start thinking they failed, or they are a failure in career. They stop taking risks. They stop taking chances. They stop playing with the idea of growth and lean into fixed mindset.

Coach Ajit (06:18):
They start thinking the world is in a particular way. There's only some things that they can get and that everything else is out of their reach out of their bounds. And that is where they find themselves in a state off feeling like a failure. So it starts by saying I failed or I failed at this, but if not corrected, if not challenged, if not rethought, you will end up feeling like a failure. Your clients may feel that they are failure because they're associated an event that happened in their life as their truth. In those kind of circumstances. It's like somebody who maybe tried to ride a bicycle for the first time, fell from the bicycle and never really took a chance to learn bicycle again. And it may sound like a really silly example because you would be like, who does that? But I actually know people that have chosen to not ride bicycles or drive cars simply because when they first ride it, they couldn't figure it out.

Coach Ajit (07:17):
And because they couldn't figure it out, they started believing they are not meant to ride bicycles or drive cars. And because they start believing so soon enough that I fail at driving car became, I am a failure when it comes to driving cars. So know that your clients may not recognize this consciously. They may think, oh, it's just a small part of life. But unconsciously, there's a possibility that they are starting to make it a part of their identity. So explore the idea with your clients on when they say I failed at something, how quickly do they start to think that they are a failure at something? This is so common in today's time when it comes to love and relationships, because more and more individuals, as they get hurt in one relationship, start to believe. They're not meant for relationships. They start to believe relationships won't work for them.

Coach Ajit (08:12):
And that really opens the dialogue of why is it that they believe so. And very often you will find is because they fail that a relationship. Once they fail in finding a partner once, and they just made that a part of their identity. And that brings me to level two thinkers of failure, level two thinkers around failure. Believe that failure is like a passenger on a train. They come and they go, and this is also a very popular way of thinking about failure's like, Hey, failure happened, move on from it. Right. Failure is something that happened in this particular event, move on from it because there will be something else. And that is slightly better than level one thinkers, because level one thinkers would just hold on to failure. Level two thinkers will let go of failure. Once it has happened. Here's a challenge with level two, thinking around failure, while it may seem like a good way to get over your failures, it doesn't really build an understanding of what failure means and how it really resonated and created a learning experience potentially with the person and the failure.

Coach Ajit (09:22):
What level two thinking suggests around failure is that you must stay unattached to your failure, stay unattached and let it pass through. It's like the failure happened. Let's just move on to the next thing. And the next thing. And the next thing, when you are unattached to something, you become less careful about it. You start to believe that it doesn't really matter in our lives. There is nothing to gain from an experience off, whatever that is that you're unattached to. And because of that, very often, we tend to repeat the same mistakes. We tend to feel the same failure again and again and again, because we are just so unattached to the actual event, we are so unattached to the actual experience. How many times have we met our friend that dates the same person? Like it's literally the same person. They think it's a different person, but as you're looking from outside and you go like you dated this person last time, you're dating the same person again.

Coach Ajit (10:19):
How many times have you done that in our lives where we end up with same kind of people, again, again, as friends, as colleagues, as partners, why does that happen? The same kind of bosses. Why does that happen? That's because subconsciously we are associating our failures as a passing ship, as a passenger on the train, alongside many other passengers. And when we think about it that way, we tend to ignore disassociate and very often repeat the same thing because we are keeping ourselves so disassociated from the experience of failure. And that creates a different kind of challenge where we tend to repeat the same thing again. And again again, while learning a little bit from the failure, but not really capturing the full experience often. And that brings me to a third level of thinking, which is a level of thinking you want to get to as somebody who will experience failure in the life as a coach who will work with individuals who will experience failure in their lives.

Coach Ajit (11:21):
And that is when you see failure like a companion, you understand that failure is always gonna be with you, even if it is not consciously happening, it is going to stay in your memory in your mind, in your soul. But that failure is there to move you further in the direction of your progress, where you experience the failure fully, you let it go through your body. You let it go through your soul, you capture it fully, and then you make a meaning out of it that supports your endeavor. And that's the key here. You cannot just make a meaning out of that failure. You need to make a meaning out of that failure, which says, or suggestive of what is it that helps me in my life. What is a more empowered way for me to turn this event? So it feels like it becomes something that is happening for me, not to me.

Coach Ajit (12:17):
This is a very important distinction. When you change your lens on failure, when you see it as in the companion, you see it as something that is there to help you. When you see it as something that is there to further your agenda of life, your experience of life, you suddenly capture failure in a very different way. If you learn from your experience on how to become better in a particular field, or if becoming better in that field is not important, or you may learn from that experience, that there is certain kind of people that you would like to hang out with more and certain kind of people that you don't want to hang out with at all. As you treat failure as a companion that happened for you, you will find that you are now lot more in acceptance of the failure. You're a lot more embodied that failure created a learning experience out of that failure and changed your identity to become a better version of you.

Coach Ajit (13:18):
So you don't experience the same failure. You may get the second level of that failure. The fifth level of that failure, the 10th level of that, that failure much more different than what you initially had as an experience. But you will not experience the same failure because you have not just seen it as a passing ship. You're not seeing it as you. You are seeing it as a companion of you that happens so you can have a bigger experience of life. And that is what is our job as a coach, when we are interacting with our clients, when we are interacting with our clients, our job is to move them from a place where they may feel they are a failure, or they are disconnected from the failure and moving them to a point where they see failure as a companion, as something that is there to help them grow from wherever they are right now in their life to become the next version of them, the next identity of them, the next experience for them.

Coach Ajit (14:18):
So ask yourself and ask your clients this very powerful question. What is it that you believe about failure? What do you think the job of failure is in your life? You see a lot of times you will find that people have not defined failure for themselves. You'll find that your clients have never really sat with the idea, or what does it mean to have a failure? Why is it that failures happen in our lives? And they might give you a pop cultural reference and that's okay, but help them go deeper, ask them to go deeper, to really find in their heart on what happens when they experience failure and ask that question, not in context of area of life, where they find themselves successful. Right now, ask them this question in context of area of life, where they seem like they're not getting anywhere. If they're struggling to have a love relationship, this is a question to ask there.

Coach Ajit (15:15):
If they're struggling in their career, this is a question to ask there. If they're struggling in their health, this is the question to explore in context of their health, whatever that is, where they're currently suffering, where they're currently experiencing the failure, where they're currently experiencing that they're not getting any growth. That's the area to explore, to really understand how they're unconsciously understanding failure, accepting or not accepting failure, embodying failure, disassociating with failure, associating with failure and slowly but surely move them to a place where they start to see failure as a companion that will never leave. They will always be on this journey that your client is having, that you are having as a coach. It is there, so it can help you to become a newer version of yourself. So today's solo cast focused on helping you rediscover how you may have seen failure until now.

Coach Ajit (16:14):
What are the different levels of this failure? And what is it that you can do to change that narrative in your mind and help your clients change that narrative in their minds? If you loved this episode, which I'm sure you did go ahead and hit that follow button on Apple podcast or on Spotify, wherever you're listening to it. So every single week as I release a new episode, you get a notification on the platform and you can listen to the latest that we are releasing here on Master Coaching with Ajit. If you haven't taken a hot minute and leave me a five star rating or a review, take that minute, leave me a five star rating or a great review on Spotify or on iTunes. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is Coach Ajit and you're listening to Master Coaching with Ajit.

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