So your dream fails, now what?

You have planted a seed for a dream. Maybe it is writing a book, or creating a new service or product, growing an enterprise, or planning to travel the world and getting paid for it.

It is impossible that everything we desire and dream of, and take action toward, will be a success. It is wise be driven by enthusiasm and a well thought-out plan to make it happen, and it is certainly nice to fantasize about, but reality has a habit of ensuring that not everything we start in life comes to fruition. Like it or not, accept it or not, it is simply the way it is.

You have likely heard it before: failure is nothing more than a lesson. When a plan of action goes awry, or no-one buys your product, or your financial house tumbles, there is something to learn from it. Often that lesson is learning to love ourselves more. Failure forces us to go into the heart and get reacquainted with its desires; to listen to its wishes, its truth. We get humbled and therefore possibly become a little kinder to others, as well as ourselves; and through the process we find our inner strength and resolve to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. Once we get a little stronger, we pull ourselves from the lower vibrations of survival mode and return to the higher vibrations of inspiration and enthusiasm. When we do, we begin to love ourselves a little more than ever before. And so, if we are learning to love ourselves more, how can we possibly go wrong by having failed a dream?

There is much stigma attached to failure in society. The question is: why? At its basic core it is fear; the fear of failure and making a mistake. Failure also means exposing our weaknesses. Generally speaking, failure may be viewed differently between men and women. For most men, who primarily place their values in career and financial areas of life, a business failure would likely be felt more deeply than if they failed at a romantic relationship. For women, who generally, but not always, place their values in beauty, family and social areas of life, a failed relationship may have more pain than if she failed in a business venture. These typically are the areas where men and women place their self-worth. So when those areas are impacted by a failure, self-worth often takes a hit.

In the bigger picture, failure serves society. Businesses learn to become more efficient. We hone in and focus on higher priority actions. Money belts get tightened. Industry gets far more innovative. Science and technology advance. Society simply evolves.

So what’s to fear?

If you have experienced a project, initiative or dream that has failed, here are some suggestions on how to handle it:

  1. Write down all the benefits for the failure – how has it served you? Find as many benefits as possible, until you exhaust the list.
  1. Write down how the failure has it served others. Find as many benefits as possible, again until you exhaust the list.
  1. Write down what would be the drawbacks to you if you did not fail – and the initiative succeeded.
  1. Pick one trusted friend and have a blatantly honest conversation about how you feel with regard to the failed initiative. Go deep inside and truly own your feelings. By sharing openly, you can release much of the negativity and get on with it.
  1. Find something to laugh about in the situation. Humour is often the best medicine.

If you enjoyed this article, I write about similar topics in my book The Whispering Heart: Your Inner Guide to Creativity.

© Shannon Skinner 2012. All rights reserved.