Playing with failure

success-failure1It’s the New Year! Woo hoo! You’ve made your vision board and right there in the middle is that big project you’ve been dreaming about! This is the year you’re finally going to make it happen!

I bet the last thing you want to think about right now is failing. But sometimes, thinking of the worst can bring out the best.

Why do we fail? I know, I know…many dislike that word – so negative, such icky mojo! We like to think of it in other terms, such as:

“The planets weren’t aligned properly for the time frame I wanted, I need to re-align what I’m putting out so I can attract success, the universe has better plans for me!”

Ok, all of that may be true, and it sure sounds more warm and fuzzy than “shit, I failed”, but in my experience the real reason we don’t succeed is much simpler. It’s because we don’t actually plan for success.

We dream and then we keep dreaming…

We think big! We live without limitations! But dreaming is a lot different then planning for success.

Dreaming is sexy and fun. Planning is monotonous drudgery, like the doing multiplication tables over and over again. Sure, sometime when you’re dreaming you’re planning, but in that moment you’re not really looking at it from all sides.  Usually it’s “First I’ll do this and then that will happen, Yay! And then I’ll do this…” and so on until you’ve done nothing but regale at all the wonderful things that are about to happen. In our constant need for positive thinking we forget to visit the dark side.

We often don’t want to look at the possibility of failure, what would it look like? How might it happen?  We perceive true examination of all possibilities as an invitation for something bad to happen.

But the truth is entering into a project with your eyes wide open is the best way to set yourself up for success.  Somehow the idea of being realistic, pragmatic and honest about what we are capable of and what might happen has become a bad thing. It seems spending time with the “negative” is seen as setting limitations, not believing in yourself or your dream, focusing on  failure. Yet this is one of the first exercises I undertake when I begin a project.

Don’t get me wrong- I am a huge dreamer.  I love the feeling I get when a flash of a new idea comes to me, the exhilaration of thinking of the possibility of it coming to life. But after that I get down to the real business of making it happen.  And sometimes that business is dirty.

Deep down inside, underneath all that positive “I can do it” is a whole lot of fear of failure. Hidden between the crevices of our happy thoughts is a little thought monster of doubt. You know it’s there – don’t deny it! Play with it!

Instead of pretending it’s not there, spend time looking at how failure might happen. Make it fun! I have found spending time with how my project might fail inspires me to greater possibilities.  It also helps me become less attached to the outcome. It allows me to enjoy the process of planning for success because my eyes are wide open to all the potentials I can think of and even if a few pop in I hadn’t, I feel more prepared for them.

We have a tendency to want to get to the fun stuff, the good stuff, but in our rush to feel the juices of success cascading through our bodies we often miss the important steps it takes to really get there. The truth is launching a project isn’t easy and thinking if it doesn’t come with ease it shouldn’t happen is just silly! It takes alot of work to create something and most of that work is good old fashioned sweaty, uncomfortable and scary! But I love it! You should too!

Before I launch any new project I spend a lot of time “nerding out”, digging deep into the realm of all potentials, analyzing every layer and asking a lot of questions and making sure I have an answer before I move forward. It’s often a slow process, but well worth it when I look back after I have achieved my dream. Yes I said dream- it’s where it all started and then with work, I made it a reality.


Hey if you’re in LA January 16th I’m doing a workshop on how to launch your project! Come ready to work asking the important questions you need to in order to make your dream a success! Find out more here:


  1. Hi Betsy. I’ve just got acquainted with your new blog. I really like it. I sincerely apreciate you sharing your knowledge of life with us. I mean, it’s really mind opening to me. I perfectly understood the “vision” of always considering the negative part of a project that we may start. It’s much clearer to me. I mean, nobody likes negative feedback from others, in something that we achieve. It sure is worth thinking about, and training yourself, along time. I do feel it really makes us think more about things, which is good, and caution can never be enough, I think. Also, that I think that your point of view is something that can be felt at many things in our lives, like at small things in our day to day life, and also to big projects that we wish for. With love, it’s very important, and makes us really think more about things, and what might happen in a relationship. But, still, never giving up on our dreams, which is important. Thanks 🙂

  2. Every endeavor starts with an idea. Planning for success involves making a step by step analysis of what it will take to bring completion of that idea into the realm of reality. Visioning is a strong part of this. First, to with the idea. Next, see it happening, Then plan in implementation. The final result will be to kick back and enjoy the fruits of success!
    Barbara Altman, author of Recovering from Depression, Anxiety, and psychosis