I Failed! I'm Quitting!

by Alicia Capellan

I am sitting here thinking about what to write during this reflection. I want to get the message across about feeling like a failure, but digging deep to tell you all to STOP IT! I am sitting next to a 7-year-old girl who I have been a nanny for her whole life. She asked what am I writing about and why. I told her that I want to write about how people might feel as if they want to quit because they don’t see the value of practice, trial, and error. She looked a bit puzzled, but was intrigued. A thinking bubble popped above my head and I would like to use her as an example!

There was a time when she was about to quit her karate classes before she was going to another level when things become a bit more serious. She felt like she could not keep up with her friends in her group that clearly had been practicing at home daily. She started to nod in agreement. I asked her why she kept going and she mentioned that her friends at school were wondering if they would see her at karate class after school. She did tell them she did not feel like she was as good as them, but they disagreed. They uplifted her spirits and told her to practice with them at recess, before karate class, and after karate class. She realized that she was good enough and that practicing and showing up did make a difference.

Now this little girl at 7 years old has the confidence to take criticism, give criticism to peers on form, and holds her head up high. I am so happy every Friday evening a few minutes before we head out to karate class when she wants to practice with me. We break her practice board and work on her forms. It makes me think even more about how this situation can be portrayed in different scenarios.         

Can we all reflect for a moment and think of a time we have committed to something we are pumped up about? You can take this into consideration for different parts of your everyday life. Fill in these blanks:

  • What is my goal?
  • Why is this my goal?
  • Is this important to me?
  • Why is this important to me?
  • How will I get there?
  • What if something gets in the way?
  • How will this make me feel?
  • Have I said these words of doubt in my mind in the past?
  • Should I feed into the negativity in my mind?
  • What is really stopping me?
  • Is this a valid excuse?
  • Have I quit or felt like a failure before?

Tell your brain to SHUT UP! Stop falling into the pattern of excuses. Get up, back on the horse of yours, and put it (your goal) into your schedule just like before. Go back to the first question. What is my goal? Or even just stop the track of self doubt and do something about it. Seize the day and take charge of your life! You are the only one that can make the change, as corny as it sounds.

Be quick to stop the inner dialog from spinning out of control. Say 5 positive things out loud that you want to hear from someone else. Face yourself and recognize you are too blessed to be this stressed (I like rhyming).  How many times have you felt self doubt or fear something would happen, and that negative thing actually came to reality? Very often it doesn’t happen. Self-doubt is a mind monster that keeps you from making change and keeps you in the safe zone of being comfortable. Talking to someone about it and your next step for each short-term goal will help. Support, along with advice, can help you change your perspective over time.

Is the thought of comparing yourself to others an issue? Take what doubt or fear you have and screw that! It’s your journey! Your life! People are so caught up with their own lives. If you compare yourself to others and put someone on a pedestal because of what you see on social media for example, then yes, it's easy to fall into a whirlwind of not feeling so great about where you are. When you start to worry about what others think, your self-doubt can cripple you over time. A better way to go about things is to compare yourself to yourself. People are too busy with their own lives with their jobs, kids, events, finances, etc. See how far you have come from all other obstacles in life.

Optimism is contagious! Let it be! Surround yourself with positivity. Find a place, a song, or a book that can give you an overall boost of energy from that funk and  let it be your norm. Remember, it's too comfortable and hard to get out of that state of mind. Remember, you are not a failure because you failed. It is a temporary setback. You took a chance to go forth with your goal and it is simply part of living life. Do not let it make up your identity of who you are. Take the set back and run with the feeling. Acknowledge what happened and be smarter about the next approach.

Relax, be confident, and don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s one of my mottos in life, “Don’t take yourself so seriously.” Trying to do the entire task at once to reach your destiny can be draining. Ride the wave and let it become part of your lifestyle. There is no need to rush the process. Take each day at a time and remember that you can always fix things along the way the next day.  Be empowered by the new knowledge. Education is powerful and practice with persistence. Experience each moment along with privileged movement.