If you have been on the planet Earth for a while, you know life is full of ups and downs. If you are like me and are driven to break free from mediocrity, you also know that failures are just something that come along with doing anything great. What I have learned on my journey is that failure is not the opposite of success—it’s the pathway to get to it. When average people hit setbacks, they take it as a sign that they are on the wrong path and quit. In contrast, look at any successful person’s track record, you will find a much longer list of failures. I’m grateful that I learned early on that setbacks are my greatest opportunity to move forward. Is it easy? No, but it’s absolutely worth it. My life started to change when I finally stopped running from failure and embraced it. Here are three things that might help you too:
1. Start with a grateful heart.
“It is impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a thankful heart.” ~Andy Andrews.
In the midst of day to day living, it’s so easy to take for granted all the good that is going on in our lives. Throw in a setback and you can be completely knocked off course. I have found no matter what kind of struggle I’m walking through, there is always someone that has it worse than me, and there is always something to be thankful for in my own life. Some days I literally place my hand on my heart and thank God that it beats without me thinking about it. The first thing I do in the morning is write down three things I’m grateful for right now. It shifts my mind to seek out the good for the rest of the day and forces me to slow down and appreciate all the right things that are going on in my life. For example, I write down how thankful I am to have seven loads of laundry to fold and put away for my kids and husband today. You’re thinking I’m crazy, but there are heartbroken Momma’s out there that lost there husbands or children that would do anything to have seven loads of laundry to do again. Be thankful for what you have now. Sometimes when I feel that depression or restful attitude coming on, I stop what I’m doing midday and start listing off things that I’m grateful for right now. It works every time. You have to write them out. There is power in writing out your words. Better yet read them out loud after you write them.
2. Take full responsibility for your Life.
“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them” - Steve Maraboli
Taking full responsibility for your life is not a punishment, it’s about hope and control. Think about it, if it’s not your fault and you cannot control the outcome how can there be any hope for it to change in the future? Why do some people take struggle, pain and setbacks and use them as their purpose, while others use them as excuses not to try anymore? I believe it has to do with mindset. Faith or fear? What drives your decisions? Both take the same amount of imagination of future events that have not happened yet. Taking total responsibility for your life requires a whole lot of faith. Blaming anyone or anything is a decision that comes from fear. Obviously there are some things that happen to us that are outside of our control, but we assign the meaning, we choose how to respond and we control what we do with that experience. Taking responsibly on some things may just mean changing perspective about it. Changing our thinking about certain circumstances is the only thing that can change the outcome without changing the facts—and we control that. If you believe that you are completely responsible for your past, you then have the freedom to move forward in the direction you choose. Yes you went through some hard stuff, but you don’t have to stay there. If you want a different reality than the one you are currently experiencing, change your thinking and take responsibility.
3. Trust the process.
“Your greatest challenge will be faithfully keeping your focus on the process, while surrendering the outcome.” - Joshua Medcalf
Any time you set out to accomplish something great, you have to go through a process of growth and change to become the best version of yourself to fulfill that potential. Looking backward on my life, I can see clearly that some of my toughest moments were also where my greatest opportunities for growth and change happened. You may be praying for an easier life, but that is not what is going to make you great. If you are climbing up a rough hill right now you have a choice; embrace the challenge, brave the trail, learn how to climb better and make it to the top as a different person, OR pitch a tent, blame the toughness of the course and wait for someone to save you.
Tough experiences change you, they equip you with new skills and they build your character. All of which you will need to break free from mediocrity and live the life you imagined. Who you become in the process is infinitely more important than what you achieve. If you have achieved anything in your life, you know that is the absolute truth. The moment of victory fades quickly, the character you built along the way stays forever. If all else fails remember this, no one wants to hear a story about a hero who did not have to overcome any obstacles or failures. How boring is that?
Every single day you choose how your story will be written. Your failures, setbacks and weaknesses can be your excuses or they can be your story. I hope you choose courage, I hope you choose gratefulness, I hope you choose faith because those are the stories worth telling.