One of the most common mindsets I come across in my coaching practice is the failure mindset. So many of us, deep down, believe we're deficient in some way. We believe we are not enough. We believe that we've somehow failed life in one way or other.
So, my question today is this: Is it possible to stop thinking of yourself as a failure? Especially if this kind of thinking has been one of your default mindsets for years?? And if it is at all possible, then how?
How does anyone go about changing their 'failure mindset' in a way that's truly believable and lasting?
I used to think of myself as a failure. Constantly!
Even with a degree in medicine, and the experience of starting, building up and successfully managing my own medical practice, I saw myself through the lens of 'failure'.
A happy marriage, thriving children and fulfilling friendships wasn't enough to shift my thinking.
Completing a full marathon wasn't the answer either...
No amount of striving, performing or achieving seemed to be enough to shift this belief that I was somehow a failure. So, if there was a way to truly stop believing this, what was it?
Merriam Webster definition of FAILURE:
- Omission of occurrence or performance
- A state of inability to perform a normal function
- Lack of success
- A falling short
According to this dictionary definition, my life definitely did NOT meet the criteria of a failure.
So why the belief?
This brought me to a different question. Possibly a better one.
Where do beliefs come from?
And more specifically: Where did this "I'm a failure" belief come from?
In a nutshell, most of our deep-seated beliefs about ourselves are formed by the time we're seven years old. From the moment our brains are able, we search to give meaning to events. Early childhood events lead us to asking questions like: "What does this mean about me?"
We gather the meanings of a few of these early events... put them all together and there we have it; our concept of self. Our belief-about-self.
This belief-about-self then becomes the lens through which we filter all future life circumstances. Rather than seeing the simple truth about the facts in our circumstances, our self-concept lens distorts the truth to align with our belief-about-self.
This belief-about-self leads to our own unique version the truth, rather than the precise factual truth. Nonetheless, this is our truth.
So I ask:
Is it possible to upgrade an old belief and thereby exchange a poor belief-about-self with a better one?
Is it possible to create a more resourceful and truthful concept of self?
Thankfully, the answer is YES!! I know without a doubt that it's possible, because I've done it myself!
The first time I heard about the way we form our beliefs, it was truly confronting. It rocked my foundations because it had me questioning ALL of my current beliefs! What if my current beliefs about myself (beliefs I've had for years) are not really true? Some of what I believe may be true. But what if there are big parts to my beliefs that are simply not true?
What if it is possible to create better beliefs? Beliefs that align more closely to what God's truth says about me?
"If I'm the one who chooses what to believe about myself in the first place, then I'm also the one who can decide to choose a better belief!"
I can try as hard as possible to perform, strive and achieve my way toward believing I'm not a failure, but unless I address the underlying belief, nothing will change!
So, in short, I was attempting to change my 'failure mindset' from the outside in, rather than from the inside out.
From the outside in, my strategy is simply to perform, to strive and to achieve my way toward a better mindset.
From the inside out, I get to examine my existing beliefs and exchange them for better ones. I get to partner with God to create more truthful and more life-giving beliefs about myself.
I can choose to partner with beliefs like these:
2 Corinthians 5:17
Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. (I get to exchange old life thinking with new life thinking!)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us new in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
If you're interested in discovering more about what the bible says about YOU being enough, then click here
If you're uncomfortable handing this over to God, or are not sure what you believe about God, I still encourage you to have a think about an upgrade to believe something better about yourself, rather than "I'm a failure".
What is a better belief (still a truthful one) to have about yourself?
If this is an area you struggle with, then I invite you to schedule a coaching session with me. (Faith is not a requirement for coaching).
During our session we'll help you explore your current beliefs and to create new, more resourceful ones.
If one-on-one coaching feels too much, yet you're still curious about figuring out a way to create more resourceful beliefs about yourself, then I invite you to join my NEW mini eCourse: Overcoming a Failure Mindset.... releasing in Mid-October 2022. Inside, you'll be able to work self-paced through modules fully designed to help you explore the things you believe about yourself!