Have you read the book or watched the movie Bridget Jones? If so, you probably remember the numerous and interesting stories of the main character. Many of them were funny to the audience but difficult to put on Bridget’s success list. For example, problems with the microphone while on stage in front of important people, coming to the party as the only one in a bunny costume, the first live TV entry, where the camera showed something completely different than what should be and cooking… a blue soup.
So, maybe something from my own experience now.
For my first job interview in my life, I was soaking wet. There was a cloudburst on the way, the tram stopped at the crossroad which was flooded and I had to cover the last part of my route on foot. In the rain. You can imagine the first impression I made on the office staff. The careful preparation of the outfit, makeup, and hairstyle were useless. Yes, I didn’t have an umbrella – it was 26 degrees warm and no rain forecast. It was hard for me to put my thinking on the track, that my look is not the most important and it’s not everything. I felt that this whole meeting would be a failure anyway.
Different story. The day before the organization of one of the events, I found a mistake in the contract with the subcontractor, which could cost us a lot. It was necessary to change the documents and negotiate with the subcontractor to make him agree to the new conditions. Even though I succeeded, the feeling of lack of perfectionism stayed with me for quite a long time.
On the day of my friends’ visit, I was making a cake. Everything was great until I realized that the cake mold would not fit into the fridge because it was too big. And the cake was supposed to stand there for at least a few hours… Well, how could I not have thought about it before? Why didn’t I check? What a failure…
Do you know similar stories? Do you have them in your memory?
In my professional work, I also write projects. In grant applications, there is often an item containing a risk analysis – that is, describing potential threats, failures that may arise, and ideas for solving them. It would seem that everything can be foreseen and you can create plans B, C, D. But it looks nice in the application and in theory.
As it is in practice, we all know well (especially after the last year) that intricately and perfectly prepared plans will not protect us from change or failure. This is the way it is in life – something can always surprise us and everything can go wrong.
And then we feel more or less like Bridget Jones. Instead of a delicious dish, we have a blue soup with a strange taste; people look at us strangely because instead of elegant clothes we are a rabbit or everyone talks about us because we did not know that we just needed to turn on the microphone. Instead of these Bridget examples, you can insert your own stories – the meaning is the same. And then what?
For our mental health, our sense of peace and balance, it is important to be honest then, especially with ourselves. Don’t pretend to be otherwise than it is. Do not “apply filters” like on Instagram that “everything is fine, I feel great.” Just look in the mirror and say: Ok, I did everything I could. What caused the situation not to go as it was meant to be, is beyond me. Outside my area of influence. If this failure is the result of our neglect, then it must be dealt with. Say: Okay, I screwed up. If you can – fix it, if not, look at what you could have learned and move on.
It is not about dwelling with failures, cultivating them. It is just about saying: I am human. I sometimes make a mistake, neglect something, recalculate wrongly, make the wrong decision. I also have the right to fail. Remember the post about daily courage? Admitting mistakes, admitting failure – this is one example!
And what when we see that someone feels sad, angry because something went wrong? Let’s not say: “You see, but I told you to do it differently …” For me personally, this is the worst I can hear. In these moments you need to give empathy, support, and tell someone: you did what you could. You have no control over everything. Take what can help you in the future and let’s move on together.
You know the saying: success has many fathers, and failure is an orphan? This accurately reflects how often we are afraid to admit, first to ourselves, that something has gone wrong. That something was supposed to be a success, and it is not. But life is about successes and failures. The days of feeling great, successful, looking great, but also these when you don’t want to talk to anyone, that nothing is going well, and you don’t want to show yourself to anyone.
The most important thing about this sinusoid of life is: be honest with yourself. Don’t run away from what didn’t work out, but don’t dwell on it either. What can you do?
I will share with you what helps me :
- Accept how you feel.
- Name the emotions that accompany you.
- Talk to a closed one about it.
- Analyze the situation, focus on the facts.
- Write down what you can do better next time.
- Tell yourself you did everything you could.
- Keep going.
Find your own way to reframe failure into a failed attempt. Make your own recipe. Write it. Modify it. This way, each of your or somebody’s difficulties can be a little easier to overcome, you can be a bit better and more courageous each day.
And even if you cook blue soup next time, it will be a bit tastier 😉