How To Practice Failing

Oct 27, 2015

Practising Failure |

Nothing will make you more courageous than practicing failure…


Before you do anything well once, you often have to do it really really badly many, many times.  

Most people hate doing things badly.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a perfectionist, it shakes the ego when we look awkward, don’t know what we’re doing, or make outright fools of ourselves as we navigate the learning process. 

But here’s the catch: if we only do what we are good at, we play small in the grand scheme of things, allowing our our lives to be ruled by fear – of what others will think, of feeling uncomfortable, of being wrong.  With fear guiding our lives, we fail to grow, fail to challenge ourselves, and fail to become better versions of ourselves.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#flexyourcourage”]So what is the more daunting failure:  that of the learning curve or that of stagnating in our own comfort zone?[/tweetthis]


The key is to get really, really comfortable with failure, so that when – not if – it happens, you can shake it off, learn your lesson, and move forward a better, wiser person.  The way to get really comfortable with something?  Practice.

Here’s the gist:  set yourself up for potential failure at least once a week.  Low stakes are key to removing the fear from this practice and creating a “safe-to-fail” environment. So attempt to make a souffle.  Add a really challenging pose to your yoga routine.  Sketch your dog.  

Now, of course, you might actually discover a talent for drawing house pets you never knew you had.  Great: if you experience this you will reinforce the notion that “you may as well try it, it just might work.”  But, if your sketch looks like your three year old did it, let that sit.  Ask yourself how it feels to do something really badly.  It probably brings up some uncomfortable feelings.  Notice that; really feel it.  Now ask yourself what you can learn from your failure.  This is the key to turning failure into the overall success of learning more about yourself.

As your failure practice progresses, you will inevitably find yourself putting yourself out there more, trying new things, and finding the courage to dare a little more.  You will undoubtedly find yourself living bigger and finding possibility everywhere you look.

How are you #flexingyourcourage this month?  Head on over to the Nalumana Facebook page and let us know!

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!