I admit it. I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie. My latest obsession? Why Not? with Shania Twain on the Oprah Winfrey Network. It is fascinating to watch this Grammy Award–winning singer struggle with her Inner Mean Girl’s Big Fat Lies, especially when she has so much evidence of what a badass she is. Just goes to show how our external circumstances can have very little to do with our internal dialogue. I love witnessing Shania win her voice back. I find myself rooting for her at every turn, hoping that she will wake up her Inner Superstar so she can shine bright once again.
I can see how she is beating herself up with Big Fat Lies like “I’m a fraud,” “I’m a failure,” and “I’m not enough.” If I were her coach, boy, would we have a blast busting through all the lies and locking in on the truth of her magnificence. So I thought I’d give you a peek at one of the Lies featured in my book, Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves: Ditch Your Inner Critic and Wake Up Your Inner Superstar, that I see Shania telling herself and believing. Check out the excerpt below from my book to break free from the “I’m a failure” Big Fat Lie.
Big Fat Lie #22: I’m a failure.
The Truth: Human beings fail. In fact, we fail all the time. Winston Churchill put it brilliantly when he said, “Success is leaping from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
The problem is that when we fail, we tend to believe that we’ve become failures. In reality, we just experienced failure — that’s it. Failures are opportunities for reflection, growth, maturity, and wisdom. After all, failure is a part of life — no matter how successful you are. Check out these stats:
*Babe Ruth had 1,330 career strikeouts.
*At one point, Donald Trump had $900 million in personal debt and four years of repeated failure and financial ruin.
*Oprah Winfrey’s movie Beloved was a box office bust, losing approximately $30 million.
The truth is that the road to success is paved with failures. It isn’t in avoiding failures that we achieve success, but in processing our failures effectively.
Challenge: Write down a list of all your failures over the past year. Next to each failure, write down how it helped you grow. In other words, what did you learn about yourself and about life? Make sure to phrase your learning in a positive way. In other words, instead of saying, “I learned that I suck at accounting” try phrasing it “I learned that delegation is key to my success.”
Take a look. Did failing the bar exam lead you to a better understanding of how to study? Did failing in your marriage allow you to learn how to stand up and love yourself above all else? Did failing to meet your budget on a project teach you how to negotiate better? Transform your failures into learning and opportunities for growth, and your Big Fat Lies will fade into the background.
Affirmation: Like all successful people, I leap from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm, and I learn more and more each time.
Amy Ahlers is a celebrated certified life coach, the CEO of Wake-Up Call Coaching, and the cocreator of Inner Mean Girl Reform School. For over a decade she has offered teleseminars and workshops to inspire women. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, daughter, and rescue mutt.