When was the last time you failed?
My dyslexia teaches me every day that failure is inevitable. It also teaches me to be humble — it’s hard to be arrogant when you are making mistakes all the time. Maybe more than anything, it teaches me forgiveness.
As men, we learn to organize against failing. Some of us get very good at it. Our success is dependent on playing by the rules given to us.
The problem is that those rules often don’t serve us or others.
I was terrible at many tasks, for years, I did everything to succeed. You can imagine how tense and controlling it made me. Then one day, I decided to give up. I didn’t realize what I was surrendering to – I just knew I could not win a doing it the ‘right way.’
This decision put me on a path of making failure my friend… well, maybe less my enemy. I am learning that intentionally going into a situation willing to fail, heal, learn and possibly come out better is liberating.
I put this approach to the test with our Healing Journeys, a process where a man stands up in a group or training led by another man to connect to deep parts he became disconnected from. Over the last 18 years, many of these Journeys were intense physical processes involving many men. Imagine an impromptu rugby scrum focusing on a man expressing what he never expressed or possibly felt.
For many men over the years, their Healing Journeys were life-changing. You can’t get that magnitude of change with a script. You get it because you go with what’s in the moment. I will often ask a question or say a deepening statement to have it not land – I screwed up. At first, I felt, oh no, I didn’t do it right. Then I began to realize the feedback the man gave me was critical to his process and his having a voice.
Men don’t change or learn without risking mistakes. Here is an excellent short article on failure. Creating a new frame can set us free.
What is your failure edge? What is one thing that terrifies you to fail at? How do you fail? Speak to the shame of your past, present, and future failures.
Speaking of being willing to fail, a few weeks ago, I led our retreat for our Foundations Training with my fantastic team of facilitators. This five-month training is where we train men professionally in our EVRYMAN Method. Each of these men hit their failure wall. At some point, each of them risked doing it wrong to learn a new way to lead. I had the honor of watching them struggle, surrender, and succeed. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing another man have a breakthrough by doing something he thought he couldn’t do.
OK, having that breakthrough yourself may be more rewarding.
I am honored to be part of the Men’s Health Wellness Summit. We’re bringing together a group of inspiring men, from wellness experts to professional athletes, who will lend their expertise and share their experiences. Join us as we discuss ways to help strengthen your mind, optimize your health, exercise your emotions, and nourish your spirit.
Let me know how I can help you.