Successful Failure

This week I facilitated a class at work for a team who wanted to learn more about each other and how they could work together more productively. I actually co-facilitated with an AWESOME co-worker, despite the fact that he legally had his name changed to Timm so he wouldn’t be like all the other Tims. That’s another story. Anyway – the class. I didn’t feel good about it. I felt like I got some stuff wrong, I didn’t prepare enough and that I came off looking like an idiot. It wasn’t a super interactive group and as I sat there, I was very conscious of how the energy (or perceived lack thereof) of the group really affected my energy. I was confronted with the symbiosis of learning & development – the kind that’s not as good. The last class I did was the complete opposite.

The most interesting thing about this event was how much I allowed the vibe of the room to affect my view of my performance. It was a mark of an amateur to me, which is what I hated the most. I was attuned to it, for sure, which is good, but I allowed it to drag me down and that was something I wish I could learn to avoid.

The day before this, I was on-boarding a group of interns to our store, and one of the fears they express is making mistakes and doing something wrong. I told them that first, they do not have the power to single-handedly bring down our company. Second, for most of them, this is their first job ever, so I want them to see our store as a safe place for them to make mistakes. They will need to fail to learn, but I want this to be a positive start to their working lives.

Then I go and send myself down a shame spiral for one bad class. Can I bring down the company for one less-than-stellar workshop? No. Will I learn from this? Yes. It’s taken over a week for me to bounce back from this. I have been unable to celebrate even the smallest successes and I’ve been dressing REALLY cute to work (for those who don’t know me, the better I look on the outside, the worse I feel on the inside). I have lost 6 lbs in the last 4 weeks. I should be happy about that. Instead, I’m focused on how much I have left to lose. I’ve led a successful onboarding and have completed summer seasonal hiring. All I can think about is what could go wrong. This is not awesome or normal for me, but this is where I am.

I’m starting to get better – the last 2 days, I’ve just dressed normally. I am sleeping better too, which helps me immensely. I’m asking myself how I’m being formed and healed through this experience, for which I have no answer but am open to the process.


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