I want to talk to you about failure.
See, in the 30 years I’ve been kicking around this planet, I’ve failed a lot.
More than a lot. Stacks of times.
A few personal highlights:
- In high school one of my teachers told me I wasn’t smart enough to do the subjects I wanted.
- The day I signed up for Ironman I couldn’t even swim 25 metres without stopping, and the furthest I could run was one kilometre. I had no idea how I was going to swim 4kms and run 42kms in just 18 months time.
- I once flew back early from an overseas trip with Interplast to go to an Awards Ceremony. I must have misread the invite because I ended up flying to a completely different city and only realised when the taxi driver told me that the address I needed him to go to didn’t exist! I had to call the event manager and pretend my plane back from Laos had been delayed because I was too embarrassed to tell the truth!
- I didn’t listen to advice and went out on a whim with something new in my business. I ended up losing money.
Failure can be humiliating.
I know you know the feeling, because I know you’ve failed a bunch of times too. It sucks right? It feels shitty.
But I kind of love failure.
Because we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes.
If you think about it, failure is feedback; it’s simply showing you what’s not working so you can find out what will work. It’s necessary, hell – it’s vital! We need failure so we can grow and create and improve.
Now, that doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t feel sucky in that moment of failure. But, as Tony Robbins says, failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.
Your mistakes, your stuff ups, your failures – they’re not permanent.
That teacher who told me I wasn’t smart enough? Yeah, that felt horrible. I was shattered. But I soon proved him wrong. I studied my ass off, worked day and night on improving my grades and ended up coming first in all my subjects. (Yep, go suck it Mr Smith!).
The day I signed up to Ironman, sure, I couldn’t swim more than 25 metres. That was embarrassing. But I kept at it. There were plenty of days I didn’t finish my training and stacks of times I fell short from where I “should” have been. But that’s ok. I got better, and who crossed that Ironman finish line not once, but twice last year? Yeah, this old gal!
The day I flew to the wrong city? Well, that felt crap, but that feeling didn’t last. And now I double check every invite I RSVP to, haha!
And when it comes to my business, I’m sure there are going to be plenty of times things don’t work out the way I hope. But I learnt a heap from that particular experience – it exposed some big flaws in the way I structured my business, things I’ve since been able to fix and improve.
The point is – your failures don’t define who you are, they simply help you define a better path forward. – Tweet it.
After all, if we didn’t have failure, how would we know what to do next?
My challenge to you – I want you to start seeing your failures as something positive, something vital to your survival.
Think about a time you failed recently. Maybe you stuffed up at work, or let down a friend or didn’t achieve a goal you were working towards. What did that failure teach you? Did it highlight a new way forward – something to fix and improve or something new to try?
Let me know in the comments below.
PS – I talk a bit more about this kind of stuff inside Good Selfie, my new eBook for teens. If you know a teenager who might want to know more, check it out here.
This muppet (me), finally got the courage up after talking about it all year…. signing up for a half marathon in September…..
Then we went on holidays, then I got really sick so no training for about 3 weeks! Cramming training and building up to 12km in one week overloaded me and now have TFL/ ITB issues, back to no training. The event is on the 17th September and no idea how I’m going to manage 21kms?
Any advice would be cool!
Learnt that I can’t cram training… this old body ain’t made for it. ?
Claire, this is epic! So proud of you mate. My advice would be to just take it one step at a time. Does it matter what time you do that half marathon in? Nope! So, just walk what you need to and run what you can. And yep, consistency is key! I’ve learnt that lesson too – now I know not to flog my body, but to train consistently. Let me know how you go! T x
I have just finished your book Unmasked which I could not put down, but when given to me thought I could never read it.
I am failing in my business and we are ready to close the doors at the end of year if we make it that far. I never wanted to be a million aire just be successful and make my partner and family proud. Unfortunately this isn’t to be. So here I am grabbing on to every word sentence blog you are writing. You are an inspiration with the BIGGEST Aussie spirit and I thank you every time I read something of yours. You give me hope. Xxx
There is something about you I have never encountered in someone before. I read a lot of self help books, and listen to you tube videos, and they are good, but you have this extra “it” factor.
It is as though you are talking to me in your writing. I resonate with it, as it is the way I write. I was told once I am too conversational and not professional. But that is me. And now I see you being you and I LOVE it.
It is authentic, refreshing and every time I read your words they are so simple and are slowly sinking in.
They are slowly infecting me, and causing me to “want” to make change.
I can almost believe I can do it.
That may sound lame. “Come on just bloody do it Lisa. lol” But it is true.
So I wanted to tell you that.
I wanted to tell you that by you being you and writing the way you do, is allowing my heart to believe I can be me and nail this gig called Life.
So thank you.
May blessings grace your doorstep Turia. What a gift you are to the world.
Also I make children’s decor items. As a thank you am I able to make something to send you for your little boy please?
Thanks for those beautiful words about Turia, Lisa-Marie, and thanks for giving me my first tears on Fathers Day! You honestly took the words out of my mouth onto paper as i feel exactly the same….And, yes, you CAN bloody do it Lisa-Marie!!
Failure is not a full stop. Focusing on having another go, from another angle, can transform your attitude. You build resilience and a can do attitude.
When I left school at Year 10, in the top four students of the year, I was also told “You will amount to nothing. You are setting the wrong example to your siblings and your cousins.” It was a powerful incentive to prove that statement wrong. I was already stepping out to the beat of my own drum. I learned this would be the pattern of life. Some people support you and others don’t. In the end it is nurturing self resilience, gumption, gratitude and humour, and that’s seen me through the worst of times to the best of times.
Failure is an experience. Not good, not bad as they say in Zen.
Failure is not a full stop – love that x
God I love your outlook on life. You always make things look better! ??
Thanks Bobbie x
I can absolutely relate with you – yep, I failed a uni subject. It felt awful. Even worse was being told to just ‘sing about it to the theme of happy birthday”. But I learnt from it and now regularly score HDs. So no, our failure don’t define us, they are not tattoos, but an important and necessary learning process.
Yewww Anna! That’s epic, love it x
Hi Turia I am sure you hear it all the time you truley are an inspiration. I also agree with one of the previous comments you have the it factor when it comes to motivating people. I am.going through one of the most messages difficult tomes of my life and you motivate me them do better and be better .
i personally think failure or success mostly imposed by environment(including Rules and laws ,educational and family training system and also whether conditions ) the person who growth there .of course . i never ignored determination task of person. but each unit of every level of society (like a school ,or economical organization or ….) that follow from well known leadership and management ability of person can be flourish more than places of suffering lack of these i mention .well management is a gift from God . because he or she or they can help person finding self and upgrading self . a well manager can help person make from damaged challenges to forward opportunity with minimum Cost . thank you.
Hey Turia, my failure eas thinking I could handle my anxiety issues. A full emotional breakdown, losing my partner, the best thing that ever happened to me and losing some friends and family, I finally got the professional help I needed. Now Im in the best place Ive been in years and I feel fantastic but I had to reach my lowest point to make me realise I needed to change. My failure was my defining moment and although it was the worst time in my life, it had to happen for me to find my way.
Hey Turia, my failure was thinking I could handle my anxiety issues. A full emotional breakdown, losing my partner, the best thing that ever happened to me and losing some friends and family, I finally got the professional help I needed. Now Im in the best place Ive been in years and I feel fantastic but I had to reach my lowest point to make me realise I needed to change. My failure was my defining moment and although it was the worst time in my life, it had to happen for me to find my way.
Hi turia, just wanna say that I love you so much and I think you’re so amazing and strong and cool and I wanna stuff a million adjectives here but no really I mean it, you’re beyond amazing!!! I’ve subscribed to the mailing list and filled out that how can I help you form and I’m really really looking forward to hearing back from you in some way. Also I’m so so glad that I came across your story and found you here. You’re so beautiful inside and out, it’s unreal girlllll!!!!! Keep being awesome!!!! Your blog is helping me sooo much and I can’t waittt to get my hands on your books, just wondering if they’re available here!! Anyway have a greattt day and lots and lots of love and good vibrations your way gorgeous ???? xx
Hey Shoa, thanks so much for your lovely comment! Yep, my books are available here: http://turiapitt.com/shop xxx
Just to say I follow you on Twitter and you’ve been so inspiring!
Where I failed and got up:
*Was told I’d never be a writer by my journalism professor (it was my first class and I was good at features but not at news). I stood up to him and said that one class doesn’t make me or break me. I ended up writing about the entertainment business for several different trades, interviewing people like Brad Pitt.
*Was horrible at singing but found a great teacher and after several years I ended up auditioning for Broadway.
*I accepted a job working in London and got to meet the Queen.
Not bad for being underestimated, and I think most of us are severely underestimated.
I still need to start training for a marathon, though 🙂