Letting go of perfection and learning to love failure

We hope your 2019 is off to a great start! To kickoff the New Year, we thought we’d ask one of our Outwild workshop leaders and favorite life coaches, Blake Cason, to pop in and share something on our blog.  She decided to share a story with us around something many of us can relate to: learning to let go of perfection and enjoy failure. And, by doing so, taking more risks and finding even greater success! Blake Cason is the founder of Pivot Integrate Wellness where she focuses on sustainable, healthy lifestyles for the burned and burning out.

Read Blake's story here: 

   This is the time many of us reflect on our last year and start looking for ways to progress and grow.  We set goals and intentions that challenge and authentically inspire us. It is all fun and cool until…

We hit a bigger hurdle than we expect.

   Sometimes we stagger and slow down momentarily, but then get back to business. Other times, we are completely derailed. There is no predictable chain of events.  The only common denominator is that in those moments, we are faced with ourselves and our fears. It is not all pretty when we start stretching our comfort zone.

   I learned about this growth and struggle through rock climbing. Nowadays, many of my afternoons out climbing are full of play and joy, but that was not always the case.  It was an uncomfortable effort to learn and appreciate what made some days fun and others a brilliant excuse to get scared and shut down.

   You see, I began climbing surrounded by professional climbers and looking up to their abilities and confidence. They climbed hard and looked so at ease cruising routes that were difficult for me. Without realizing it, I began to define climbing by that ease, only pushing myself as far as I could easily manage the challenge.

   Since their successes were being applauded and posted about (rather than any failures), it seemed like that was the only acceptable way to climb.  And allowing people to see me struggle? NOPE. No thanks on that one, please. Instead of actually trying 100%, I would hold back, remaining in my comfy little zone. I would also remain frustrated and stiff with insecurity. It. Was. Exhausting.

   I began feeling a drain of joy and curiosity when faced with a new challenge.  How could I do it without failing and flailing? The self-doubt was all encompassing - I could barely see around it.

   If I were to title this next stage, it might be…Tears for Fears: Not Just an 80’s Pop Band. Because, let me tell you, learning to love trial-and-error was not a quick or easy transition (wait, are any of them?!).  Befriending ‘failure’ took some real conversations with mentors and myself.  It took honesty about my perspective and real effort to change those habits.

   The most earth-shattering change in perspective came all of a sudden one night as I hiked down from a climbing cliff after working hard on a new route. I realized I had experienced the most peace when I was giving 100% of what I had, tired to boot! and fell off the route without thinking of anything or anyone else. I was happiest trying and failing? In front of people?! Turns out, I was.

   I began approaching these unknown, uphill challenges like this:  Success is not an outcome. Success is giving 100% of what I have to the experience in front of me.  This was not a one-way ticket to Easyville, my friends.  It was, however, a more compassionate path toward sustainable growth, progress, joy, and play.

Want to learn more about your own work/play balance equation?  I’m happy to offer a free Healthy Lifestyle consult to the Outwild Community. Book with me here.

Happy New Year,