Make fail your word of the year

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By Dave Henning / July 11, 2020

“I encourage you to make fail your word of the year, every year.  When you cannot only accept but seek rejection, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment even if the opportunities you hoped for don’t work out.  But . . . what’s most likely to happen is that you’ll stumble into more success than if you’d been seeking only easy wins.”- Jennifer Fulwiler

In Chapter 6 (“You Can Do Scary Things”) of Your Blue Flame, Jennifer Fulwiler notes that when she talks about finding your blue flame, most people respond that they don’t have one.  Yet, the more Jennifer converses with people on this topic, the more she believes the opposite is true.  Because when people confirm their blue flame, they likely feel an obligation to use it!

Yet, the author observes, the minute we imagine ourselves using our blue flame, we picture ourselves failing at it.  In fact, that’s usually our very next thought.  And we find failing at our blue flame especially terrifying.  Because it’s personal.  Thus, it’s not the quick pain we feel when we routinely misstep.  Instead, it’s closer to psychological distress.

Consequently, you must learn to love the bomb – to love and embrace failure.  Jennifer explains:

“When you feel the aftermath of a bomb going off in your life, it’s painful, but the pain is a reminder that you’re still here.  You’re alive.  The whole concept behind a blue flame is that it draws you out of yourself, it connects you to the world and to others. . . .  If you see these experiences as something merely to get through or to barely tolerate, you’ll start to avoid them.  You’ll withdraw.  Soon you’ll find that you’re not really living at all.”

Certainly, the first time you light up your blue flame and find rejections, it hurts big time.  But future rejections hurt less and less.  Because you’ve built up a tolerance to it, the pain eventually dissipates.  You gain strength when you put yourself out there and know real defeat.  Hardship and failure bring us closer together.

Today’s question: Do you find it a blessing to make fail your word of the year?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Three telltale signs of Resistance”

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Dave Henning

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