Replace the Word “Failure” with “Revelation”

July 29, 2019

I used to play the “what if” game too: What if I am making a mistake by not staying in my safe job? What if I break up with this person who is not my “person” but is good on paper but then can’t find anyone else to love me? What will my Asian parents say if I am still single at 30 or not giving them bragging rights with the doctor-like job I have at a prestigious institution?

And the foundational fear of them all was: WHAT IF I FAILED? WHAT WOULD MY FAMILY AND PEOPLE SAY??

We live in a society where the word “failure” is synonymous with all of the celebrities and public figures who experience “failure” and were made to look like fools in the headlines or in front of their friends and family. This public shaming makes a lot of people scared to try anything new at all, because they would say to themselves: What if THAT happened to me?

The good news? We can reframe all of it.

We don’t even need to convince ourselves that the word “fail” or “fail forward” or “fail fast” or “fail hard” are good words. Because they’re not. They have the word “fail” in it and that word feels BAD.

So why not replace it altogether? I chose to replace the word “failure” with “revelation” because SO much gets revealed to us when we are not experiencing so-called “success”. Hitting dead ends, dealing with adversity, not knowing whether things are going to work out or not, are all opportunities to learn and grow.

So I choose to forge into the unknown, start things up, unsure of what’s ahead…because if there is one certainty, it’s that I will learn, grow and have a great big adventure along the way. What is being revealed to you? I’d love to hear!