Show Notes:

Welcome to Hello Rebecca Ray, our collective home for courage, growth, and human to human connection. I’m your host, Dr. Rebecca Ray, human, clinical psychologist, author, and educator. I know only too well how fear, comparison, and self-doubt can stifle your potential. This podcast is all about brave and meaningful living, and how you can make your authentic contribution to the world today, and everyday.

Hi, lovely ones. Welcome to episode number 80 of Hello, Rebecca Ray, the Podcast. Today I want to talk about failure. But perhaps not failure in the way that you think I’m about to talk about it. I want to talk about 11 experiences that we often have on our journeys that we put down to failure, or we consider as failures that are actually setting you up for future success. So I’m going to take you through a series of things that you might have looked at in your past, and thought that was a failure. I failed when that occurred. But actually, I think these things are pivotal on your journey, if you understand what they’re actually doing to set you up for your success.

The first one is when you realise you don’t want to do something anymore. And you decide that that’s a failure. It’s not. It’s not, the good news is it’s not. When I was in clinical practice, I was in clinical practice for over a decade. And for actually many years, I ended up with signs of burnout, things that I ignored because I was actually desperate to continue in clinical practice. I really loved my work in clinical practice, I got so much satisfaction out of sitting with people and being able to revel in the privilege of sharing their stories, and contributing in some small way to their journey forward. But if I’m honest, a good few years before I was completely burnt out and couldn’t ignore those signs anymore, I actually had my intuition knocking, saying, I don’t think that we’re gonna do this until we’re 70. Which is what I thought was going to happen. So when I first studied clinical psychology, I thought I would be doing that work until I was 70. But I ignored that knock from my intuition, because I was concerned about what it would mean, if I gave up, if I chose to take a new direction with my career. Mainly because I had no idea what that direction would look like. But when I fully acknowledged for myself that I actually didn’t want to do clinical practice anymore, both because it was making me feel burnt out. But also because there was just something inside me that was saying we need to go in a different direction. Then what happened as a result of me finally listening to that, is I’m now in a place that I could never have expected I would be in. So I, the last client I saw was the day before I gave birth to Bennett, my son in 2018. And now, what are we four years later, I do work that is so incredibly soul filling that it doesn’t even feel like work. And it’s completely different to clinical practice, because clinical practice was soul filling, but not in the same way now, I now work from home, I have so much flexibility in my schedule to both spend more time with the people that I love and also to do a great variety of work that allows me to get my message out to more people in the world. So deciding that you don’t want to do this anymore is not a failure. Deciding that you don’t want to do this anymore is an invitation. So if that’s occurring for you, I want you to reframe it as an invitation.

The second type of failure, I couldn’t know this unless I tried it. Now I wonder if you’ve experienced this, if you thought something was representative of the direction that you wanted to go in and yet you tried it out and you just thought no, actually, this is not for me. I watched the other psychologists do the amount of work that I did in clinical practice. And I thought if they can do that amount of work, then I can do it. And that’s not true. I found that out the hard way. If I did that much work in clinical practice, then that actually led me to burnout no matter how much time I spent ignoring those symptoms, it led me to burn out.

So, I couldn’t have know, there’s actually no way that I could have known that clinical practice wasn’t going to be my career until I was 70. Unless I tried it out for myself. And I’m one of those people that actually really needs to learn from my own experience, I need to learn from actually giving it a go myself before I say, okay, yes, that doesn’t work. If someone says to me, it doesn’t work like that, like, do it this way, I’m very likely to go well, I’ll try it for myself and see. And so for me, what I initially framed as a big failure because I got burnt out, I now see is actually really valuable data, I couldn’t have known that clinical practice would be like that for me unless I tried it in that way.

The third type of failure, the I’ve outgrown this failure. Not a failure, not a failure, in fact, representative of your personal evolution. And for me, this occurred with my attempts, and wasn’t really an attempt, because I did succeeded it for many years, it was working nine to five. So actually, some sometimes I was working seven till seven. I know, I know, shake your head at me, roll your eyes, I am incredibly against those types of hours these days. But for a time, that worked for me, nine to five, worked for me, I like I said, I was able to see many different people, I was able to really hone my skills as a clinical psychologist, skills that I became quite exceptional at practising, I was excellent as a therapist in private practice. But I got to the point where I was kind of hoping, and I say, hoping, because I had no evidence at the time. But I was hoping that maybe there was another way. That maybe I didn’t have to go into an office Monday to Friday, and sit there and do my work Monday to Friday. And now I don’t, I don’t go, well, I go into my office at home. But I certainly don’t work nine to five. And some days, my hours are weird. Some days, I’ll do a podcast interview. And that’s all I’ll do. In a day, some days, I go and pick up Bennett early because I want to take him to the park and play. Some days, my wife and I go out for lunch because we feel like it. I initially thought well, you know, if you’re going to make money that’s going to help set you up for the future, then nine to five is, you know, the way that it looks like you need to do it in clinical practice. And certainly, the more hours I could do in clinical practice, the more money I made, but it killed my spirit. And so now I’m in a position where I don’t work those types of hours at all. And in fact, I’m in a much better position both financially for me and my family, but also mental health wise, because I’m working on my own terms, and I don’t work anywhere near as much as that. Sometimes I do. If I’m say getting to towards the end of a book deadline. There, there’s definitely, definitely times where the hours go up when I’m at the end of a project. But that only happens a couple of times a year depending on what I’m working on.

So number four, the next number four of 11 different types of failure that I want to go through in this episode is this is not who I want to be. When you’re acting in a way that’s not consistent with the person that you want to be it’s very easy to consider that that’s actually a failure. Whereas I see it as a realignment, a function of realignment. When Nyssa and I first started dating my wife, I was in a position where I was working so hard that I actually had no space for her at the end of the day. And I can say this without the shame that I initially had around it because it was a coping strategy. I had been single for the vast majority of my adult life at that time when Nyssa and I got together and so I didn’t really know what it was like to have someone in my world that a, had my back and b, wanted to spend time with me each day. And I was used to simply just going to work, giving all my energy out to my clients, and then getting home and collapsing and then doing it all the next day. You know, so I would get up at quarter to five in the morning walk Henry my Weimaraner for an hour. And Henry and, I would be at work at 7am. Henry used to come to work with me. Before I met Nyssa and he had someone to stay home with, he would come into the office. And what that meant was when I would get home, Nyssa would ask me about my day, and I would look at her and be in a position where I’d be like, I’m not available for conversation, like I’ve talked all day, I just, I can’t talk anymore. And I realised, after, you know, some time that that was not at all who I wanted to be as a partner, at all.

In fact, it was quite the antithesis of who I wanted to be. And initially, like I said, I did feel some shame, I was thinking, where are your priorities Beck, like, get it together, there is this most amazing woman in front of you, who simply just wants to ask who, how your day is, and you’re not available, like you just don’t have anything left to give. And that’s when I essentially decided to turn my entire life upside down in the service of living in a way that was more consistent with who I wanted to be for the people that I love. And that’s how we live today. So, I want you to consider in your life, where you’re not being who you want to be. And rather than looking at yourself and going well, I’m a failure for not being that, consider what information that’s giving you about how to realign.

Number five, I’m only meant for this for a season. Really easy to decide that you should be doing something for longer, because you initially planned that you would be doing it for longer. And yet, it turns out that you want to redirect. I experienced this with sales funnels. So, for any of you out there with an online business, or perhaps watching other people with online businesses, it can be really common for people to develop complex sales funnels, that help to sell a particular product. And for a time I had those sales funnels too so you would opt in to a piece of valuable free content. And then that would put you through an email sequence, which would show you the solutions available for whatever problem it was that you are seeking helpful. And ultimately, in my case, and with an option to purchase a course. Now, that’s the way it’s done most of the time in online business. And you know what? I hated it. It worked for a time. But then it just felt too unwieldy. And I didn’t like the idea that people were going through automated emails, even though the content of those emails was genuine. I made sure that those emails had a stack of value in them. And certainly, was most aware that most people would walk away with just the value from the emails without purchasing the course. But it just didn’t, in the end, it just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like something I wanted to continue. And I realised that again, because I have that self-knowledge around me needing to try things out. To work out what works for me and what doesn’t, that this particular foray into sales funnels was only for it meant to be for a season for me. So, I wonder what’s happening in your life that perhaps you’re staying attached to because you’re trying to make it last a longer period of time. But it’s actually kind of indicating to you that perhaps it’s only meant to be for a season, not a failure. But again, another way of realigning to something that fits you better.

Number six, the I deserve better failure. Now, that might sound like an oxymoron. But I want you to think about where in your life you’re settling, where in your life you’re allowing yourself to simply accept the status quo, rather than go for something that is what you’re capable of creating. And I say this as someone who did it. I, I was in a lot of, perhaps we might call situation-ships before Nyssa, where I dated men who were often emotionally unavailable and certainly weren’t able to provide me with any kind of connection that I truly wanted. And for a time, I absolutely settled for that thinking that this was just have relationships were. Not true, not true. Because once I decided that there should be something better out there, or else I was going to stay single, then I was able to redirect to open up to love that was truly meaningful, which is what I found with Nyssa. So the I deserve better failure is about you being able to reach a state, where you’re able to understand that settling is no longer helping you to shift in the direction that you want to go. So rather than thinking you don’t deserve better, you can step forward into the potential of the life that you can create, whether that be within your job, or a different business idea, or a different relationship, or simply the habits that you’re cultivating for yourself.

Number seven, I want this so badly, I’ll keep trying failure. Not a failure, as none of these are failures, but we can very easily see that they are when we’re actually in it. So, we often assume that we’re failing if these things don’t go the way that we have initially predicted they should go. The I want this so badly, I’ll keep trying failure is kind of an example of how I started when I first started working online. I had no idea how to sell online, I had no idea how to build an audience online, I spent so much money on my first programme that I wrote and produced called Happy Habits. That programme never made me any money, it just simply cost me money. Because I did everything the hard way, just not knowing better. But there’s something about that. So, at the beginning, I spent so much time actually probably even for the first three years or so I spent so much time going, oh my goodness, like this is just so incredibly hard that I should probably just like give up. Maybe I should just go and get a job because it would be easier that way. But what I was able to do is actually see each of my failures along the line, each of the each of the things that never worked out, I tried them thinking they would make some money so that I could then invest more into the business to create something new. And they often didn’t make any money, I spent so much time in the initial phases, actually not making any money in my business, and instead spending money trying to work out how to get it to work.

But what that allowed me to really focus on is the fact that I deeply was committed to the life that I was creating with an online business, I absolutely love working from home, I get to spend all day with my puppy dogs, I get to go out for lunch if I want, set my own schedule. And it just allows me so much flexibility that I don’t actually feel like I have a job as such, I love the work that I do. So perhaps each time that you feel like you’re failing is actually an indication that you want this so badly that you’ll keep trying. So, consider that.

Number eight, there’s a boundary I didn’t know I had type of failure. This one occurred for me when I found that I just worked myself into the ground. And I could do that in my 20s, you know, I can’t believe that the just the amount of work I used to do that I could never do today, or at least I would never make myself do today. I think I was just so incredibly perfectionistic. And initially when I stopped working that hard, I was thinking, Ah, is there something wrong with me? Like should I be doing, I should be doing more other people work more, they work longer hours than me. And so initially, I did think that I was a bit of a failure like I was copping out or that I was lazy. But I actually realised over time that the more I have boundaries over when I work and how much I work, the more I get out of myself when I am actually working. So rather than sitting here procrastinating, I can be really focused on what it is that I’m going to do. So actually, I’m more efficient and more effective if I work less, but for more focused periods of time. And that’s what those boundaries taught me. You might find that you’re crossing your own boundaries. And in doing so you think you’re failing in an area when actually you’re getting valuable data about what’s important to you and how to distribute your personal resources?

Number nine, this might help me better align with what fits. But because I’m not continuing to do it, I’m failing. Are you though, are you? When I was 18, you probably know this story if you’ve listened to the podcast a little bit, I started learning to fly. That’s a bit random if you haven’t been listening to the podcast, but when I was 18, I had my driver’s licence and my grandfather, who was a private pilot said to me Beck, if you can drive a car, you can fly a plane. And I thought, what, no way, he lied, by the way, I actually found flying much harder than driving. But um, he has a maths brain, and I do not. But I was really anxious. And I kind of felt like I had something to prove to the world. And I thought that going and getting my pilot’s licence would do that. It did not do that. I was still anxious, even though I learnt to fly. But what flying taught me is about my life, non-negotiables. So it taught me that I actually really like routine, I really liked going to the same place ie my desk in my house each day and I like having my schedule look fairly predictable. Even though the types of work that I do is really, they change, and it’s creative, and it’s really fulfilling. So walking away from flying felt like a huge failure, because all this money had been spent on my flying training. And I just felt really ashamed. I’d even won a scholarship to continue my training scholarship through an airline called Ansett hat was operating in Australia at the time. But what that change actually did was allowed me to align with what actually fits for me so much better. I could never imagine flying as a career now, it just would violate so many of the things that I need on a daily basis.

Number 10, this tiny success is not enough, so therefore it’s a failure. But is it? Is it, is it, is it? I want you to think of the tiny successes that you’ve had that you’ve decided, because they’re not bigger right now, they are a sign that you’re failing, when actually I think they’re they could be a sign of the bigger future that you’re creating. I’ve now started to see the small successes in my life as indicative of what potential is to come rather than grading a small success against what I decided should have been, and therefore making it fall into the category of failure. Instead, I look at those small successes and think, wow, how can I build on this? This is a sign that my future could be even bigger. What’s that for you? Where are you seeing small successes, but you keep writing them off because you’ve decided that they’re actually signs of failure because they should be bigger? What if they’re just a sign that you need to continue in that direction, because bigger things are coming.

And finally, number 11, the type of failure where your timing is wrong, and you consider that poor timing as failure. This often happens when we meet someone at the wrong time in our life and get really caught up in missing them or thinking that they’re the one that got away, only to allow ourselves to then open up to meeting someone better in the future. So I want you to consider is your timing actually wrong? Or is this timing situation a case of allowing you to open up to the magic that’s yet to come?

So, 11 types of failure that could be setting you up for future success, lovely one. I want you to consider very strongly what you’ve decided is a failure in your life, and how it could be reframed for your future success. I can’t wait to catch you very shortly for the next episode of Hello Rebecca Ray.

Lovely ones, thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you got something meaningful from this episode, and the most meaningful thing you can do is jump on over to wherever you listen to your podcast episodes and leave a review. Because it’s those reviews that help this podcast stay here. Make sure to subscribe, and if you’re generous enough to share this episode, thank you so much. I love seeing your shares on social media, so please tag me. Catch you next time.