This One Simple Step Is Essential for Your Success

Is there something you want to do? Do you have a particular goal? Perhaps it’s a habit you want to break, for example, stopping smoking. Or maybe something you want to learn, like how to play the piano.

Have you tried some sort of new business venture that didn’t go according to plan (i.e. didn’t work out at all) despite your having been certain it would be a great success?

Have you tried to achieve that goal, but stumbled? Stopped smoking only to start again? And again and again and again? Then “stopped stopping,” gave up trying, resigned to the fact that you’re a failure?

Perhaps you haven’t even bothered to start trying. One of my favourites is when adults say things like, “I always wanted to play the piano,” and I tell them, “So learn.”

They say they’re too old. And I say, “You still have a pulse.” And they insist they just couldn’t.

Well, I guess if they decide they can’t, they can’t. But it’s really about “They won’t,” because they’ve chosen not to bother trying.

Here’s the secret: The only way you can fail is if you stop trying to succeed.

My mother used to shoot me down before I’d even begun to try new things. Right up until she got dementia when I was 40-something, if I mentioned wanting to do or learn something new, she would still say, “You can’t do that!”

Until I was in my 30s, it had never occurred to me that she was wrong. Fortunately, I did figure that out but it was a hard-won lesson. And to be honest, her words still bubble up from the depths of my soul from time to time and once again I have to do battle with them.

What helped me to see the damage in those four words was her interactions with my children. Or her reactions to mine.

When my children were little, it drove her nuts that I used to have confidence in them. My eldest daughter, Amy, sings beautifully, and when she was 9, she was going to sing at my wedding. I wanted her to stand front and centre in the church so she could be seen and heard by everyone.

Amy was quite happy with this, knew the lyrics inside out, backwards, upside down. She was an extrovert and an outgoing child, not at all nervous being in such a position.

My mother insisted that she should be way over to one side, behind the piano with the lyrics in front of her, “just in case.” There was a lot of heated discussion about this in front of my daughter.

Unfortunately, that was back before I knew how to stand up for myself with my mother. She was relentless, angry and controlling and I ended up caving — which ultimately, I regretted deeply on this and many other occasions.

In this instance, my mother was teaching Amy to feel insecurity and self-doubt, which bothered me. Gently, I tried to explain to my mother that by treating Amy as though she was likely to fail, she was creating the very problem that she wanted to avoid. But she was unable to hear it.

As it turned out, people on one side of the church couldn’t hear or see Amy very well.

And it needs to be said — she never did look down at the lyrics.

Amy was deeply disappointed that she had not had the opportunity to prove that she could do it. She wanted to prove it to my mother, but more than anything she wanted to prove it to herself as well. She hadn’t been allowed the chance to succeed.

And it was a long time before I stopped beating myself up about not standing up to my mother. In time, and with a lot of counselling and healing work, I was a different person. I reached a point where I would never tolerate her tactics.

But in my 20s, I was still a deeply wounded soul and didn’t understand about the dysfunctional dynamics in my family. I had such a lot to learn…

Until my mother died, throughout the decades there were many occasions like this one. Somewhere along the way, I understood that she was doing the best she could. She was born and raised in a different generation, one that did not concern itself with matters of self-esteem and worrying about the impact of one’s words on a child.

Although my mother was capable of plenty of cruelty, she was also capable of showing love in her own way. That was her intention during the issue of singing at my wedding. It was my her way of trying to protect my daughter from failing and ending up lacking confidence, something from which my mother suffered in a significant way until she drew her last breath.

As the years passed, I could see that she had felt like a failure throughout her life in many ways. She projected a lot of her pain and disappointment onto the people she loved, fearing that they would end up in the same state.

In her younger years, there were many things she wanted to try, but her lack of confidence stopped her.

It was such a shame. She had accomplished more than many women of her generation. She had endured such a lot and had many gifts and strengths but in spite of them, she was never able to overcome the deep insecurities that ate at her soul.

I hope she has found peace in the afterlife, something she could never quite manage in this one.

I have to thank her, though. She proved to be my greatest teacher. The toxic seeds that she planted in my earliest years were fodder for a multitude of challenges for me to overcome and lessons for me to learn.

And at the heart of them was one of the biggest: You will only fail when you stop trying to succeed.

So you’ve stopped smoking 286 times, only to begin again. Is that a good reason to say you’ve failed? Of course not. It just means you haven’t been successful at reaching your goal of becoming a non-smoker. Yet.

No one gets good at anything without stumbling, without practice, without making mistakes and getting it wrong. Perhaps even giving up — more than once. The trick is to get back on that horse, as they say. The sooner, the better.

Whatever your goal is, as long as you keep trying you’re giving yourself the possibility of reaching it. If you want to be successful, stop thinking of yourself as a failure.  You will only fail when you stop trying to succeed.

Feeling stuck? Need guidance or a numerology reading to help you with clarity? Visit my shop for self-help tools to improve your life

As a Spiritual Arts Mentor and Master Teacher, I will guide you in discovering who you are, why you’re here, and how to follow that path.

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