"A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success." By Elbert Hubbard
Sometimes our greatest lessons in life come from the struggle....
Many people are paralyzed at the prospect of a potential failure. And, many people quit just before they reach the finish line. I can say this because I have been there too.
Fearing failure and the embarrassment that is associated with it (self-imposed embarrassment) was a challenge for me growing up as a painfully shy child. As a young adult working in the Correctional System as a Correctional Officer, my first career many years ago, helped me overcome my own fear of failing.
A troubled teenager showed me that failure is a belief or mindset. This young man, we’ll call him Bob, experienced a childhood that you see on movies (horror movies). Eventually drugs and crime became his way of life, and coping. Being placed in a custodial facility likely saved this young man’s life. Bob was one of the most difficult and challenging youths I had ever dealt with. My mentor Jon once told me that staff get the toughest challenges to teach the staff the lessons they haven't learned yet.... interesting....
At Bob's Plan of Care monthly meetings the team would talk about his progress, goals, and treatment plans. Every month the feeling of the team was that we were somehow failing him.
His destructive and sometimes unmanageable behaviour only improved for little glimpses, and you had to look hard to see the little temporary improvements. This perspective all changed during a conversation I had with Bob after a facility shut down (riot). Bob was very curious about how I viewed his involvement in the incident. This was most intriguing because Bob had never voiced interest in how others perceived him or his behaviour. I shared with him my hope for him to enjoy a healthy crime free life. Bob surmised from that I was disappointed in him, his behaviour and progress. He went on to say something that was one of my biggest learnings in life. While the staff saw only minimal progress, Bob saw many successes (not failures) during his stay at the facility. His hygiene had become a daily practice, his conversations were not laden with F bombs and other crass words, and he had learned what appropriate and respectful relationships looked like, because he witnessed this every day from the staff. Best of all, he had learned how to forgive himself and let go of the thoughts and memories that held him back.
Bob helped me see a perspective that perhaps failure is a mindset and that failure and the fear of failure mindsets result in you looking and waiting for the big F- FAILURE.
A mindset of growth and success allows you to noticed and appreciate the successes, no matter how small they are. This teenager, barely old enough to drive taught me that little successes when combined create a big picture full of hope and opportunity! What an example of resilience!
Wherever Bob is in the world today, I hope his life has continued to allow him to teach others, and to live in peace and happiness.