“I feel like a failure” she said

I had a very interesting conversation this week where the person was convinced that what she was doing wasn’t working.  In her own words, “I feel like a failure.”

When I asked her what that meant, being a failure, she said “I don’t know, but I feel like it.”

This sparked an interesting dialogue that had two parts to it:

1.  What does failure look like?,

2.  And equally importantly, how will you know when you are successful?

She had fallen into the trap of comparing everything she did or did not do to everybody else around her instead of tracking her own progress.  And it’s an easy trap to fall into.  We try and keep up with the “Jones”.

The important step is to be very clear about your goals and how you progress over a reasonable time frame.  Sure others might be faster in some areas, but they do have their weaknesses as well.  I see this all the time in yoga where for years, practitioners (including myself at times) can feel like they are getting nowhere compared to the person on the mat next to them yet they themselves have a beautiful practice.  Or people who feel they are making very little money in comparison to those around them, but live comfortable lives themselves.

What YOU DO needs to reflect your efforts and abilities.  By working backwards and defining your goals from the get-go, you can then also define the conditions that will indicate failure as well as what you define as success.   But without your own personal path, process and criteria, you’ll be trying to place yourself into a mold made of another person.


Have you been staying true to your progress and hard work in different areas of your life or have you been trying to live up to expectations of those around you?  What could you change to measure your progress accurately?  Could you celebrate yourself as well as those that you perceive to be leaps and bounds ahead of you?

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3 thoughts on ““I feel like a failure” she said”

  1. I love this post and the question is poses.

    In my experience, we can often make it hard for ourselves to succeed. I hold myself up to a higher standard than anyone else and I know lots of others, who do the same.

    In recent years, I have embraced the mantra of giving something my best. If something is worthy of my time, I do whatever I can,. with whatever I have, to make it as good as I can.

    Thanks for an insightful post, Craig!

    1. Hi Jim. Like you said ” do whatever you can, with what you have to make it as good as you can” is important because it is based on your realistic abilities. It is the awareness to know this and move forward from a sense of self rather than a sense of comparison. This will then help in knowing when you are progressing (succeeding) as well as falling short. Thanks

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