There I was at the top of the mountain. Skis on my feet, poles in my hands and a fluffy ear warmer secured perfectly into place. With the first swish of the snow beneath my skis I felt exhilarated and completely free. The second swish was next and the third… then the fear. The paralyzing kind that convinced me that there was no way I was going to make it down the mountain in one piece. About an hour later, after many tears and the unconditional patience and encouragement of my dear friend–I found myself at the bottom of the mountain relieved and completely raw. My tenacious pride told me to suck it up, swallow my fear and get back on the ski lift but a still small voice within told me that I didn’t feel safe. So I turned in my skis early and walked away.
What a way to ring in the New Year! Throwing in the towel, waiving the white flag of surrender, looking failure straight on in the face–see you later 2011, nothing like going out with a bang (and by bang I mean the sound of my body hitting the icy ski slope as I slid out of control). Am I the only one desperate for life to look a little different in 2012?
Our perspective on failure may be one of the biggest contributing factors to our ability to experience joy throughout our lifetime. I have experienced more than my fair share of success—so much so that the only possible explanation is divine blessing. Needless to say, over the past couple years I have lived failure, loss and uncertainty. Two years ago, I walked away from my dream job in search of myself and a greater purpose for my life. This decision locked me into months and months crippling self doubt.
Recently, I was challenged by a very wise friend to re-frame my view of failure. He asked me, “What would it look like if you started to see your decision as impressive and not a failure?” In my head I knew that this shift meant freedom but it took my heart a little longer to catch up.
On the car ride back to the cabin (and after a few more tears) it dawned on me… it took more courage to not go back up that mountain than to insist on continuing. Dare I say that I was even impressed by my conviction to listen to that softer, wiser voice?
Failure is a necessity for abundant living. It opens us up to the depths of our internal world. Failure gives us the opportunity to relinquish any value or self-worth that we attach to external circumstances and allows us to be completely accepted and loved just the way we are. Sometimes, failure is the only way back to our own hearts.
With the New Year laid out on the horizon, I would like to invite you to approach and accept failure listening to that still small voice with the utmost courage. Here’s to a year of choosing to be impressed—cheers!