Redefining the F-Word

24th September 2019

Failure. That dreaded F-word. 

I’ll admit it. Sometimes I feel like I am.
Failing, that is. 

Whilst I’ll never say it out loud, it creeps into my thoughts, it threatens to disrupt my concentration and on an off-day, it can cripple me into inaction. On the flip side, it can be my biggest motivation. A big 'F-You', Failure!

Whilst failure can mean different things to different people, for me it manifests in the standards I set for myself -  like not completing a task in the timeframe I set myself (I’m my harshest critic), not spending more time being active with my kids on the weekends or reading to them at night (because I'm so tired), not being organised with planning our meals, eating poorly sometimes, and so on. Most of these are trivial, but they add up. And for better or worse, I know I’m not alone here. Even my most successful and ‘got-their-shit-together’ friends will occasionally succumb to the idea of this rudest of nouns. 

But recently, on a day when I was able to verbalise what and how I was feeling, a friend of mine said quite simply: You’re not failing, you just have competing priorities.

BINGO. It was a total lightbulb moment. And for the first time in a long time, I focussed on what I was doing right. 

I wasn’t getting my work completed on time, but I was learning and researching ways to do it better. 
Maybe I don’t read to my kids each night, but I sit and talk to them about their day, watch a show with them or build lego robots that don’t look like robots. 
I don’t plan my meals a week in advance, but I ensure my cupboards are stocked with the essentials to pull something together when I need to. 

It’s a reminder to see the big picture, to keep hitting the 'refresh button' on my priorities and to focus on the task at hand, including making time for myself. More importantly, it’s retrained me to just start, something I used to do with gusto. 

By simply redefining what we consider as failure goes a long way towards achieving quite the opposite. 

So I’m breaking it down: annual goals, down into quarterly priorities, then monthly, weekly and daily. Most importantly, I’m prioritising my own wellbeing, mental & physical. Better eating habits, more mindfulness, more time for myself. So, If I can get my Protein Smoothie in before I drop the kids to school, then I’m winning already.

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