Growing through failure


Just the word is enough to make most of us feel uncomfortable. And women are especially uncomfortable with it. Whilst little girls are often brought up with the expectation of good behaviour and positive contribution to the home, our brothers are often left to play, make mischief and, importantly, get stuff wrong. Clearly this is a sweeping generalisation, but an important reality for many of us.

Without the opportunity to get comfortable with getting stuff wrong at an early age, fear of failure can rear it's ugly head later in life, and even, for some, become totally debilitating. And yet, how else do we learn? How else do we grow? How else do you master a talent, other than being bad at it for a while? And failing at it a bunch of times, before you get really good at it?

At our event on failure, we first heard from Bloom Scotland's president, Sallie Bale, on her journey through the huge ups and downs she navigated through her 20s. And then our keynote speaker, Paula Must Try Harder, talked to us about her life, first gripped by anxiety and the crippling fear of failure, and then about how she turned her life around.

Not only was it inspiring to hear other people's failure stories, but it stood as a stark reminder that we're not alone. We all fall down. And the aim of Bloom Scotland is to be here, and help each other back up. After Paula's incredible talk, the attendees had the opportunity to break out into smaller groups and talk about how they've handled failure in the past, and what they might do differently in the future.

It was incredibly heartening to see so many women opening up and getting vulnerable about their relationship with failure - Brene Brown would have been proud! It's a testament to the women that have come together to make Bloom Scotland the supportive, collaborative network that we've come to know it as.

How to rethink failure

Here are some of the key take aways from Sallie & Paula, to help you rewire your relationship with failure.

  • Fear of failure is more debilitating than failure itself. 

  • Other people's responses to your failure can impact on how you react to it. 

  • Learning to build something positive from barriers and failings.

  • The importance of 'owning' your failures in order to move past them.

  • Life in the peaks is just as anxiety-ridden as life in the troughs.

  • There is beauty in “good enough”.

  • Appreciate things for yourself, not because other people praise you for it

  • Listen to yourself.

  • Life isn’t a success or a failure. It's both.

  • Failure is not a dirty word.