Stop Giving Yourself Permission to Fail

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

A very common adage tells us that in order to succeed, we should give yourself permission to fail. Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying "Failure is success in progress," which tells us that we are going to make mistakes a few times, maybe even a lot of times, but that it's only a necessary step to success.


So maybe what Einstein should have said is that "Mistakes are success in progress."


Why do I say this? I say this because far to many of us never make any progress towards the success that Einstein is talking about, and it's usually because we have granted ourselves permission not to. We never make progress because we often grant ourselves permission in the very beginning to fail (i.e. make no progress).


How are you giving yourself permission to fail? It's all about what you say.


Every time you say that you're "bad with money," you give yourself permission to make foolish financial decisions. After all, you have already warned yourself and those around you that you're going to be bad with it. So why should anyone expect anything better? You've set a financial bar for yourself so low that no one has any reason to expect better of you, especially yourself.


Self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone?


But "I'm bad with money" isn't the only failure-inspiring phrase that we use. How many times have you used "I don't know how to..." as an excuse to never try, even though the internet has a wealth of resources to teach you how? What about "I hate..." as a justification for dodging the things you know what you need to do?


"I'm terrible with..."

"I can't..."

"The last time I tried..."

"No one ever taught/showed me how to..."

"It's just not my thing."

"Well, I kind of..."

"I'll do it later (one day)."


The truth is that all of us, including myself, have a million reasons why we simply cannot, should not or will not do the things that we need to do. it may be creating our monthly budget, controlling our shopping habit, saving money for the next emergency or a myriad of other things that we should be doing.


And how has that been working for you?


It hasn't!


The time has come to stop giving ourselves permission to fail and to finally begin requiring and expecting more of ourselves! That means reversing the language of those permission-granting phrases and speaking a new language into our lives.


"I am bad with money" becomes "I am getting better with money every day."

"I don't know how to budget" is now "I'm learning how to budget."

"I'll do it later" is transformed into "I will do it right now."


Flip those negative phrases into positive ones and say them to yourself regularly. Say it each time a negative phrase creeps in, or as part of your daily affirmations. Pull a Mary Jane Paul and post them around your home if you have to. I don't care how to work those new positive phrases into your life, I just care that you do it and do it consistently.


So no more giving ourselves permission to fail. Now it's all about giving ourselves the expectation of success.


Tiana B. Clewis



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