how to earn your failures

2nd June 2019

Bohdi resting after going ‘all in’ chasing his ball and crashing into a stone wall. A week later he is very much recovered.

Are you in? Like properly IN. In your work, your business, your parenting, your relationships, your art.

So many of the folks I work with are ‘sort of’ in. We talk about longings and desires, goals and dreams. But the minute these goals present hardships and challenges, when things don’t go to plan, the goal gets dropped.

When we aren’t fully IN, it’s usually because we are protecting ourselves from the potential risk – of disappointment, hurt, rejection, failure, success.

I have such deep empathy for dropping goals!

This offers an opportunity into understanding what you might be protecting yourself from. Rather than being a sign of some innate Flaky Mcflaksterness, its always for a damn good reason. We just have to get underneath the surface to see what that might be.

Remember: self-doubt is our in-built protection mechanism – that’s why whenever we attempt anything that carries psychological risk, self-doubt pops up to say: don’t do that, you might hurt yourself. 

This is why being completely IN, is deeply courageous work.

It means creating a relationship with your goals and your self-doubt. It means deciding to stay even when it’s tedious and nothing seems to be working. It’s the willingness to recommit when the fear has you hiding on the sofa with a family bag of cheesy whotsits.

I think this is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from being self-employed.

The most vulnerable I feel (even after eight years of this) is when I’m inviting people to participate in a coaching offer I have laboured over and deeply believe in, but no one seems to want it.

My tendency is to want to hide, forget I ever tried and never speak of it again. But I realised that if I want to stay in business for the long term (and I am now essentially unemployable) I had to find a way to support myself on the way.

I’ve learnt how to earn my failures.

When my self-doubt hits, I’m kind to myself. This always means telling myself the truth. So I just feel what I’m feeling. Because it isshitty to feel ignored, rejected, that I got it wrong, the whole thing is stupid (however self-absorbed and irrational and rooted in decades old self-doubt that these feelings might be).

After the feeling (after a good nights sleep) I think about the plan for what to do next. To weigh up as objectively as possible why it isn’t working and to try something new.

There is a shift that happens at this point, where I realise (again!) that none of this is about me, its about the people I want to work with. How can I show up for them (for you), how can I share the value of this thing that I made? How can I get excited about the actions to take? Whats the smallest, most doable action to take first?

This means that even if I do fail, I know I have been completely IN. I’ve committed to myself, to my work, to my future clients. I’ve done everything I could.

I’ve learnt that well-earned disappointment tastes something like victory.

It has a totally different flavour than that of the disappointment that is a result of me giving up because it got hard.

So, are you IN?



Hello, I'm Sas Petherick. I'm a self-doubt researcher, coach and podcaster who helps thinking humans transcend self-doubt. If you'd like to receive these posts in your inbox please subscribe here (with bonus info and first notice of opportunities to work with me). PS: I totallyInstagram - join me there?


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