#067 – Learning from Failure
No one wants to fail, but everyone does. It doesn’t really matter how many times you fail, but it does matter what you do after you fail. Especially when you have fails in your family relationships. You can dwell on those failures for days, weeks, even years. Or you can take time to learn from them. We never fail at anything is we take the time to learn, make amends, and then try to do better next time. Listen to this episode to learn a powerful tool you can use to learn from your fails.
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You’re listening to The Coaching Your Family Relationships Podcast, episode 67, Learning From Failure
Are you aware of how much the quality of your family relationships can affect the happiness and
satisfaction you find in your life? The family relationships can be so tricky. I’m your host certified
family relationship coach, Tina Gosney. And I’m here to help you navigate through all of it. When you
work on you, everything begins to change.
Welcome back to the podcast. I’m so grateful for you
tuning in each week, I want to let you know about a class that I’m working on. And this class is for
parents who have an adult child or a young adult child who is struggling with their faith, maybe they
have left your church, I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And so I tend to
focus my work in that area.
But this class can be for any parent who has a child who is leaving the
church, their faith of their families that they were raised in, which is not just something that’s
happening in one church, kind of happening everywhere right now.
Have you noticed that there is a
big movement out of organized religion at this time.
The reason I decided to start doing this class is
because of an experience that I had a few weeks ago.
So our area had a mental health conference.
For teenagers, these were from kids from the age of 12 to 18, were invited to attend. And it was a full
day conference, I looked at the schedule, and they had some amazing speakers come in, that they
were bringing in to address these youth, these teenagers. And the next day, they had a meeting for
people that work the youth leaders that work with them in church and their parents.
And I went to
that meeting, which I thought was an excellent meeting. There was a therapist that was a local to my
area, many of the people that had been brought in we came from outside of the area that this person
And he’s a person who he’s a therapist who works with, I think he said high performing high
achieving teenagers. And something he said really struck me. And it’s just kind of stayed with me.
And I know what stayed with other people that were there. Because I’ve talked to other people that
were at that same meeting. And this particular thing that this therapist said stood out to all of us,
everyone remembers this.
And I’m going to paraphrase, I’m going to try to get it as close as closely as
I can. But sure, it won’t be exactly what he said. But this is the message that he gave us. And he said,
“Parents, you are trying to clear the road for your child. But you literally are not able to do that. You
need to prepare your child for the road. But you’re not even capable of doing that you need to work
on yourself first.”
Okay, that struck me. And I know, like I said, I know what struck other people. And I
was thinking that most people in the room don’t even realize what he is talking about. When he said
you need to work on yourself first. You’re not capable of doing that. I think most people were thinking,
well, I need to make sure that we have more scripture study and family prayer in our home. Maybe I
need to have my child go to the temple more often. And I need to attend the temple more often. Maybe they need to go to things like youth conferences and camps and Fs why and seminary. And I
need to make sure that they have a testimony.
Maybe he was referring to some of that. I don’t think
that’s exactly what he meant. I don’t even think that that’s part of what he meant. But that could
certainly play into helping your child right. But most parents I know, who are concerned about their
kids are already doing those things, and so much more. They’re doing all the things that they’ve been
told that they should be doing. And their kids are still struggling and the parents are still struggling.
And that’s why I’m creating this class because I know how I know what he was talking about. I know
how we have to put on our own oxygen mask.
Before we can help someone put on theirs right just
like you hear when you go get on the airplane. If the cabin pressure drops and the income drops, the
oxygen mask drops from the ceiling. Put yours on first before you help someone else. So many
parents are drowning in their own life, that they don’t know how to help their child.
Now, he was
talking to parents of teenagers. And I have a friend who is creating that class. To help parents of
teenagers, we’re actually working together to coordinate a lot of a content that we are creating for
these classes. But my work focuses on parents of adult children, or young adult children 18 and older,
there’s different dynamics between a parent of an adult child and a parent of a teenager, those are
two different, two different monsters, two different things that we need to address there, right. So
each class is are specifically being created and designed to the audience that we are helping. And
she’s creating the one for teenagers, for parents of teenagers, and I’m creating the one for parents of
young adults and adult children.
Now our children are dealing with a world that we never grew up in,
and a world that we mostly have no clue, no understanding of what they’re experiencing in their lives,
we can anticipate all the things that they’re going to face, but we can help to strengthen them. And
we can teach them meta skills. Meta skills are skills that you apply it to one thing, but it can be
applied to many things. And that is what I teach my clients.
And just some of those meta skills,
dealing with emotions that want to take over and overwhelm us. Recognizing destructive thought
patterns that have us thinking that we’re constantly failing, and not measuring up. I’m going to talk
about that today. Actually, another one is being reactive to our environment.
And, and in destructive
ways in it can be destructive to us personally, the way that we act, but for sure it’s destructive to our
relationships. And relationships are so incredibly important. Especially in our own families. If we don’t
have strong relationships, our most personal, most intimate, most, just the closest relationships to us,
if we do not have those as a strength in our life, then life seems much, much harder. Things that
come up, or seem they just seem harder to deal with. If we do have strong relationships, we know
that our family has our back, that we’re accepted and we’re safe in those relationships, then
everything in life gets easier.
And if it doesn’t get easier, at least it becomes more manageable. The
most people don’t have these types of relationships in their families. And no one has ever taught us
how to deal with emotions, and how to have safe and accepting unconditional love relationships. It’s
very on uncommon for you to have had a parent who taught you those things. Did you know that
most people don’t even know what unconditional love looks like because they were never, they’ve
just never received it. They’ve received conditional love thinking, that is unconditional love. But it
isn’t. And that’s one of the things I’m going to go into in this class. And when you become a parent,
you do things the way that your parents did most of the time.
Even if you don’t want to, you end up
doing a lot of those things. You saw how your parents reacted to life’s stressors. And then you
because it’s a very basic core belief or a core learning in your brain. You when you get into stress, you
react the same way. But we didn’t know that those reactions were not always healthy. We didn’t know
then what we know now. And it’s time to start doing things differently.
It’s never too late to begin
right now is always the right time to begin. And I would say that every client I’ve ever had and that’s a
lot of clients. They’ve at least one time and mostly several times during the course of our coaching
together. They tell me how they have failed in one aspect of their life or another and they beat
themselves up for it. They just live in those thoughts, those consuming thoughts of failure and they
feel that so down to their core. And often for a long time when feeling this way, that is a really,
really painful place to be.
Let’s talk about failure for a minute or two. And when I was in high school,
when I was a child, I was very involved in music, I played several instruments, and did a lot of
performing a lot of practicing. I think that was the main focus of my growing up years was spent
learning and perfecting instruments and performing.
And I was in the high school orchestra. And I
remember just before one of our concerts, our director said, Okay, people, if you make a mistake,
leave it behind, let it be in the past. If you keep focusing on the mistake that you made, then what
happens, and everybody yelled out, you make more mistakes. And then he said, Exactly, so leave them
in the past, leave him behind, focus on what’s coming up, focus on what you’re doing now, and what’s
Now, music performance takes a lot of very, very focused concentration. And the slightest
little bit of focus on a past mistake, leads to panic. And it affects like dominos, what happens next.
And so you have to be very consciously aware of leaving mistakes in the past and letting them stay
there. And moving on focusing on what’s coming up in the coming measures.
So in coaching, the tools
that I’ve been teaching you if you’ve been listening to this podcast, the tools that I’ve been teaching,
you have not widely been known for generations. In fact, it’s only the last few decades that these
tools have been coming more into mainstream. And I would say even more in like the last five to 10
years. But the parents that I coach beat themselves up. Because once they start to learn, the things
that I teach them, they start to feel so acutely that their failures to use the tools that I’m teaching
them now would have helped them when they were raising their children.
And so they’re feeling like
they failed, because they didn’t know them then. But there’s literally no way they could have known
them then. And one thing I think is think is so interesting, and coaching is that the things that our
brain tells us to do naturally, often create the very problems that we’re trying to get rid of the
problems that are vexing us that keep us stuck. But when we do the opposite of what we think we’re
supposed to do, that actually starts to move us forward.
So just in parenting situations, what they did
what they thought was right at the time. But it turns out that it actually what they thought was right,
actually more often hurt the situation. Sometimes their child, sometimes their marriage. And
everyone does this, it’s okay. Everyone says to me things like oh, I didn’t know, I didn’t know that I
was supposed to do that. I didn’t know that I was causing harm. I wish I had known these things. Or if
I had known this back then I would have done things so differently. And I full disclosure have said all
of those things myself too.
Because I don’t know any parents, especially the ones that are coming to
me for coaching, I don’t know one parent who has ever said I want to make things harder for my
child, I want to like make all these problems big. And I’m just going to work. I’m going to get up this
morning, and I’m gonna work to make that happen. Like nobody does that. The parents that I work
with are conscientious. They want to help their child and they’re desperate to do it. Now, we don’t
have a time machine, we can’t go back and we can’t change things in the past. And so what does that
mean? Are you just doomed to feel like a failure forever? If you can’t change it?
Well, if you want to sit
in that space and focus on failure, just like in music, when you’re performing, if you’re focusing on
something that happened in the past, you’re going to start creating more of that in the future. So
your brain, it’s really interesting the way that the brain works because our brain is not designed for
our modern society at all. It focuses on failure because it thinks that’s doing you a favor, believe it or
not. Think about the the world that our primitive ancestors lived in, right?
They didn’t have cars that
they could get in to go places quickly. They didn’t have a grocery store where they could go and buy
food Just have anything readily available to them, they didn’t have a home that they could go into
and lock the door and feel safe. They were constantly exposed to the elements of the world. And
there’s a lot of dangerous things out in the world, they had to be aware that at any moment, there
could be a saber toothed Tiger that’s around the corner, that was going to attack them and eat them,
and then they were going to die. Right.
So this, this is the brain that our primitive ancestors have. It
was constantly alerting them to danger, because they needed to stay alive as long as possible. And
we don’t pay it. If we don’t pay attention to the things that are going wrong.
The things that could
threaten our life, shorten our life, then we’re going to die. If we pay attention to the good things,
that’s not helpful. And so we have these brains that negativity bias is what it’s called, it pays attention
to the negative on purpose. Your brain didn’t really doesn’t care about the quality of your life. It cares
about the quantity of your life, our brains are still going around, trying to find things that are going
wrong. And now it’s finding things like your child getting bad grades, or getting in a fight with your
spouse or your boss giving you a project that feels like you like it’s too big, and you’re not sure if you
can handle it, or maybe having an extra bill come in that month.
Those are the things that our brain
focuses on. And especially when we think that we have failed at something, it’s going to focus, just
hyper focus on that. It makes us feel terrible. It makes us feel so inadequate, and isolated, like we’re
the only one that this is happening to. But focusing on failure creates more failure. Just like focusing
on a mistake when you’re performing a musical piece creates more mistakes. If you’ve heard me talk
about the model before, which I don’t know if I’ve done this recently, but the model is the
circumstances that are life are just the facts, that we interpret those circumstances with a thought
our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings drive our actions.
And our actions are the effect of that
model in our life, the result in our life. So when I have a model that has failure in the feeling line, this
creates a person who is so focused on themselves and what they have done or what they haven’t
done, that it creates more unwanted emotions, disappointment, shame, fear, beating yourself up. And
it also creates inaction, it produces more of what you don’t want. Because those types of emotions
have us pulling back inside of ourselves. And we stop taking actions, we stop doing things to affect
our world. And it leads to more failure.
So people who think that they have failures, and only want to
focus on failures and let those bring them down. They don’t have the energy to live their lives and
create something different. It’s like Newton’s first law of physics, an object at rest stays at rest, an
object in motion stays in motion. So an object a person focusing on failure creates more failure. A
person who’s focused on interrupting that action can create something different. But it has to be
interrupted, because the brain is not going to automatically do this. Your brain will automatically
focus on the failure and if it’s not challenged, and it’s allowed to run on default. That is what you’re
going to focus on.
And I want to tell you, I want to just give you this and this is going to be something
hard for a lot of you to hear. And I say it with so much love, because I’ve talked to so many of you.
And I know that so many of you are hurting at such a deep core level. But staying in failure, and
focusing on failure is indulgent. And what do I mean by that? It becomes all about the past. It doesn’t
allow you to learn to grow and to move into the future. It creates more of itself. It just sits there like a
like sitting in a big pile of mud, just like spreading more mud on yourself. If you want to get out of the
mud, you have to do something to get out of the mud.
Staying there is indulgent. So this is a tool I’ve
been using for the last few years and it’s really, really effective. Now we are here for growth, we are
here on this earth to experience a lot of things. One of the big ones is growth. And we don’t learn as
much from our successes as we do from our failures. So it’s actually vital for us to fail. And not
succeeding is actually a benefit to our own growth. But we rarely see it that way. Because no one in
our society celebrates fail. Well, very few people celebrate failures.
So many people want to focus on
the winners, society celebrates winners. And failure feels shameful. Right? It feels like we need to
hide this from other people. So they don’t know how inadequate we are. But how do we learn from
our failures, I want you to get out a piece of paper and write this down. Because this is such a great
way to learn from your failures. And it’s a great way to get yourself out of the mud.
So first, you ask
yourself this question. Well, you go back to the situation that you’re telling yourself you failed in. And
then you ask yourself this question.
What did I do well?
And this is always the first question. And why
is it the always the first question, because your brain will automatically focus on negative things,
remember, and if you focus on negative things, first, you won’t be able to see the things that you did
well, you will never find the positive. So we always go to the positive first, and we do it on purpose.
It’s a very intentional thing to go to the positive first. Now you might have trouble, especially if you’ve
been telling yourself you failed for a really long time.
Now, it might be hard to even find one positive
thing, one thing that you did well. And if nothing else, you can tell yourself that you’re listening to this
podcast so that you can learn how to deal with failure. You can say, well, I’m doing I’m getting this
win. Now I’m doing this now. This is what I’m doing? Well, that’s the first question. The second
What didn’t I do well?
You’re probably gonna have a really long list here. And that is,
okay. Remember that negativity bias, it’s trying to prolong your life, your brain is hyper focused on
those things, and the things that you didn’t do well, but try to have some compassion for yourself
here. It’s easier to find compassion for other people than it is for yourself. But I want you to try to find
some for yourself. And one question that I like to ask my clients, and to help them find compassion for
themselves is, what would you tell your sister or your brother or your child that you just love so
much? If this was them that was thinking this way?
If this was them, in that same circumstance, what
would you tell them? And most, almost every single time I hear, Oh, I would tell them that it’s totally
okay. And that everyone fails sometimes. And this doesn’t define who they are. And I say, why can’t
you do that for yourself? And they just said, I just I can’t do it. I don’t know. I just can’t, it’s like letting
myself off the hook. And if I let myself off the hook, then I’m not going to ever improve, I’m going to
always be a failure. But it’s actually not true. So first question, what did I do? Well, second question, What didn’t I do? Well, third question.
What would I do differently next time?
love this section. Because this is like, Okay, what do I want to work on? What am I learning from this?
How can I just do something differently next time? I love this question. Keep in mind as you come up
with ideas in this section, this third question here, that your brain is going to overestimate the
amount of change that you can do in the short term, like less than a year. But it’s also going to
underestimate what you can do in the long term, like longer than a year or five years, or 10 years. So
write down some short term goals, and some long term goals here, scale back the short term ones
and expand the long term ones.
Because it’s just what our brains do. It’s another kind of wacky things
that our brain does. It just thinks I can do more than I think I can. I’m overestimating what I can do
right now and under estimating what I can do in the long term. So just keep that in mind. So, those
three questions, what went well, what didn’t go, well? What am I going to do differently next time. So
when I started talking to my clients about the fact that it’s okay to fail, that we learned from our
failures, I hear things like, well, it’s okay to fail in some things like a recipe that I try.
It’s okay, if that
fails, or it’s okay, maybe even if we lose a job, but with my family, and my kids, the stakes are too
high. And that’s not okay to fail, I need to be better, and I should have been better. And he tell him,
you know what you’re going to fail. In something, no matter what, you are never supposed to be a
perfect parent, it’s actually a good thing to allow your children to see you have failures, and to see
what you do with them. That’s so informative and educative for them. It lets them know that their
parents are human, that you have a shared humanity.
You know, you might be a few years older than
them and have a few more experiences under your belt. But you both can make mistakes, and you
both know how to come back from them. Be such an example for them that they can follow when
they fail. And there’s no way that you could ever be perfect in any parenting situation there
eventually. And quite often, you’re going to have fails.
Another thing I hear is, people love to be
perfectionist, they love to tell me how they are perfectionist. And failure is just not an option for me.
Like I just can’t, I can’t handle that. There really is a difference between perfectionism and striving for
So striving for excellence is about you. It’s about who you are being in the world. It’s
about you valuing the things that you put out into the world. Perfectionism has everything to do with
other people and not yourself. It really is telling yourself that you need to do things in a way that you
can’t be criticized or judged by another person.
You need to be seen by yourself and by others as not,
per really participating in the human race. Because no one that participates in the human race is
perfect. It’s really about being seen the way you’re seen by others.
Perfectionism will keep you down,
and indulging in fears of failure, and indulging and feelings of failure, you’re going to have failures.
And when if you’re a perfectionist and so concerned about the way other people see you and
concerned about criticism and judgment of others, that is going to be a very difficult thing for you to
come back from, that’s going to feel like you’re kind of in a rigid space in your life emotionally, that’s
really hard to deal with.
If you are in a mind frame of striving for excellence, that allows you to move
on, that allows you to learn from failure, and then to move on. And it doesn’t break you. So often my
clients will tell me that their failures have affected their family and that they’ve hurt other people.
And they say, Well, if I had been better than these things wouldn’t have happened, I wouldn’t have
made those choices. If I had just been better, I should have been better. There’s probably some truth
there and some non truth there. And always we can go and make amends.
Right, we can go and
apologize, we can go and make amends. And we can do things that we need to do to repair the
damage that we’ve done. Our families are ground zero, for working out ourselves for just working out
who we are. These are the people who know us the best. They know all of our weird idiosyncrasies.
They see us at our worst. They are who we are the most vulnerable with and who we spend the most
time with. They’re of course, they’re going to be the ones that we want the most approval from to.
But just by sheer number, we’re going to make our most mistakes there.
And this is probably where
we’re going to have our most fails is with our families. And this is the way it’s supposed to be this is
how we work out our natural man, and how we grow ourselves up. But we can’t do that if we don’t
take the fails and learn from them. I hope that you have your own takeaways today. I hope that
there’s been some things that have stood out to you about failure and about why it’s okay and what
you can do with it. But here’s my two takeaways.
And I hope that you can take them for what they’re
worth. These are the things that stood out to me.
Takeaway Number One
Failure has more To teach us than success, we have never failed unless we have failed to learn.
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before. You’re
really here on this earth to learn, and you’re going to learn so much more through failure than you
ever will through success.
You know, if you look at a company, a company doesn’t get efficient, in a
good, easy market where everything that they try is a success. Or that just, it’s just easy to make
money, it’s easy to sell a product that produces a lazy workforce and a weak, inefficient
management. A company that has some fails, a company that’s in a hard market, that studies and
learns from those fails, is a company that is resilient and strong. That’s a company that’s ready to
weather more storms ahead. And the same thing happens with a person, a person who learns from
their fails, studies them makes the proper adjustments is a person who can weather present, and
Takeaway Number Two
Don’t ever judge your past self with your present knowledge?
I’m going to say that, again, don’t ever judge your past self with your present knowledge.
It’s cruel, it’s ineffective. It’s not fair to you, or to the people around
you. It keeps you stuck and doesn’t let you grow yourself up. And the judgment that you have of
yourself, or of anyone else, judgment, anytime, is unnecessary, and should be looked at and
Here’s your challenge. Where are you stuck feeling like you failed. If nothing is coming to
mind immediately, I want you to just think about a situation in your life past or present. That is hard
for you to talk about with other people. What brings up emotion for you when you try to talk about it?
Or what are you hoping that no one else finds out? Because you’re hiding it from others? That is a
good indication of where you feel like you have some failure.
So when should I grab a piece of paper
and write these three things down? What did I do? Well, what didn’t I do? Well, and what will I do
differently next time. Now go and answer each of those questions in order, you’re going to learn more
about yourself and more about where you have influence to affect change. Y
ou know, we’re on this
earth to have experiences to make choices to be put in situations where we have to make a choice.
And some of those choices are going to be failures, we’re supposed to fail. And then we get to learn
from them. This is such a big part of why we wanted to come here to grow and progress. Failure is a
big important part of that growth and progression. And in a society that tells us we should be winning
all the time.
Failure feels wrong and shameful. But it isn’t, there is nothing wrong or shameful about
failure. It does matter a lot what you do with that failure. And shame is going to tell you to hide it
from other people. But as you begin to understand yourself, and your purpose here on the earth, at a
deeper level, that’s going to help you to be willing to look it in the face and learn from it.
If you feel like you need some help to figure this out for yourself, if you have a big failure that you’ve been
sitting in and just not been able to get past, I want you to go to the link in the show notes. And sign
up for a 50 minute call with me I offer a one time 50 minute call for $25. I want you to bring your
hardest problem that you’re dealing with. And we’ll work on it together. So go to the link in the show
notes and get your call scheduled right now. I only offer a few of those calls each month.
yours while you can.
And remember, even if you haven’t known these tools that I’m teaching, until
now, totally okay.
Now is always the right time to start using these things, these new tools to put
more tools in your toolbox. Because you are a dynamic human being and dynamic. People are always
changing, evolving, and progressing.
Have a great day and I’ll see you next