I’ve had a hard couple of days. As much as I teach it, I still haven’t mastered failure. It doesn’t feel good to get bad feedback; to be told you haven’t done a good job or haven’t quite hit the benchmark you set out to achieve. I’m lucky in that I’ve never really had an employer (other than the fact I was a terrible waitress) evaluating me. My clients have always been my direct feedback line; and because most of the people I work with are specifically wanting the service I provide, I’m surrounded by a lot of positivity.
So, when the feedback’s bad; it can be hard to regulate/manage that sick feeling that runs through your body. To stay open, receptive and learn; rather than shut down and self-criticize. The reality is though, that what gifts are there in spending time in that headspace? Does one failure, discount a thousand wins? It’s so easy to let ourselves focus on the one negative, rather than the many positives. Humans thrive on acknowledgement; so, it’s hard to see beyond not being seen. Especially to not be seen in the way we’d prefer.
What I’ve learnt about development, for me, is slightly unconventional. I’ve learnt how important it can be sometimes to ignore the reality in front of you, and focus on the reality you’d prefer. It’s not necessarily about pushing and pushing against the problems in front of you, exhausting your energy; but rather refocusing on who you’d prefer to become. The universe can then weave magic and support you in your becoming; rather than continuing to mirror your limitations.
Look at like a marathon; the first 25 years only being the first quarter – as you begin to get older (as you’ve run a further distance); it becomes harder to maintain the same energy, enthusiasm and agility, you hit blocks, you hit limitations, you hit comparison and pressure from those running the race faster than you – maybe even overtaking you. It takes more to keep running; and to remind yourself what the race was even about in the first place. You might even need, at some points, to stop and stretch. You will need to regulate your thoughts and demonstrate resilience.
It’s funny, as I enter the second quarter of my marathon, only now am I realising this. As fast as you can run the first 10ks, without endurance; it will soon be meaningless. I never saw myself as 24. No one ever guided me to understand that my achievements when I was young; would weigh less as I aged. No one taught me how creativity and inspiration become harder when you constantly put yourself out there as the inspirer. That when you take your art, and make a living from it, it becomes a job. These are all barriers; mental blocks; that I need to work through and past. When you start the marathon, you can’t anticipate and what point you’re going to hit the wall. Everyone will, at some stage; it’s not about whether we’re going to, instead who we are in the face of it.