How To Reframe Success When Failure Feels Inevitable

How To Reframe Success When Failure Feels Inevitable

Are you working on a professional project with high pressure to succeed? Do you see your career as a continuous line of linear advancement where any side move feels like a failure?

I meet many women who say it feels like they are in crossroads right now. Yet their current track is almost suffocating. “I don’t know how to start looking outside what I do now. Am I so programmed to succeed that even when I feel miserable I'd rather stay there than step aside?” said one woman who recently attended our LifeWorking workshop. She had become a prisoner of her own success, a career so bright that when deep down she wanted something else she was unable to let go.

If you look at success as a linear, ever increasing direct line, then it’s almost impossible to challenge what you have right now.

I see this all the time in our groups. Even when women suffer from stress, lack of motivation and anxiety it’s seen as a better option to stay where you are than to let go and explore the unknown. A real manifestation of ‘better the devil you know’!

The feminine way to live is naturally cyclical.

Our bodies are aligned to the cyclical way of the Universe. Yet, we try to function in a very linear patriarchal system where the only way is up (or doom!). We are expected to bring in bigger results and more is never enough.

In a linear concept there is a beginning and an end and if the end doesn’t meet the expectations it's doomed a failure. There’s no room for mistakes, reflection or course correction. You are expected to deliver your answers promptly and correctly.

The linear mind wants to know how you are going to get from A to B. It doesn't trust the journey, it wants a detailed plan. It wants to know you will succeed even before you start. We put on our brave face, apply positive thinking and hide when we feel down or unsure.

The cyclical way accepts that from time to time we will fall into darkness.

We will destroy old patterns making way for new ones. We will sow seeds, grow, cultivate and harvest. And then start again.

I can see this clearly in my own life. I can observe that my life shifts every 4.5 years. Towards the end of the cycle I start to feel restless and begin clearing out and letting go of things that no longer serve me. This is the dark part of the cycle but necessary as renewal only happens if you let things ‘rot’ and then clear space for planting new things.

In the beginning of the new cycle a lot of work goes into building the foundations of the new, and my creativity flows. I have no fear of where this will lead and have learned to trust the cycle - the flow of life. If I second guess myself I’ll miss my most creative period. Then comes time for cultivation and soon again I start shifting and letting go of what no longer serves me.

The pattern in cyclical and linear mindset is very different.

With linear mind you always must aim higher and have more and achieve more. It doesn't allow for exploration or side way steps or a new direction.

A couple of years ago I was building an online fashion tech start up, along side DrivenWoman. I was experiencing this highly creative period. Though that startup didn’t survive to the next level I’m happy I ‘wasted’ my time, late nights and weekends. Had I not embraced that challenge I would not have shifted my patterns from linear, ego lead success mindset to more organic, feminine mindset that allows cyclical patterns to emerge.

Letting go of that start-up was super hard but I learned to let go of things, creations and projects that no longer serve me. My life is becoming very fluid and I'm free of anxiety as I feel enough. I’m no longer afraid of the dark part of the cycle: destruction, sadness and letting go.

It’s like hanging onto an old boyfriend. We’ve all experienced that. You start thinking this is the only guy on the planet. And when you finally let go of the relationship that no longer works, you look back thinking – what did I see in him in the first place!

In cyclical thinking death, an ending, is seen as positive. It opens up new possibilities. In linear thinking death is, well death. It IS the end. 

Learn to embrace the darkness to shift old patterns and habits, old projects or careers that no longer serve you. Allow yourself to explore outside of your current track of success.

But be gentle to yourself – to explore new routes is not the same as saying your old track failed. It served you well until now.

Do you see how life is cyclical, not linear?  The great part is that there is always a new morning and you can start again fresh,  and each step will teach you an invaluable lesson.

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