Celebrating Along the Way: How to Grow When You Fail

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV

“UGH!” I groaned as I stepped off the scale. I was “trying” to eat healthier and watch my caloric intake. My scale proved that two days in my attempt was not very successful.

I don’t like processes. I prefer to decide to lose weight and then just lose it. If I want to be able to run a long distance, it would be easier if I could just decide to do it and then successfully run a marathon. Sort of like the movie The Matrix. I could just download how to fly a helicopter into my brain and I could do it. Suddenly I would know Kung Fu. There would be no process, no tries and failures along the way.

But that isn’t reality. How many times did we have to fall in order to learn to walk? Do good parents yell at their kids’ wobbling attempts to stand or take a step? NO! We cheer them on when they start pulling up and offer them our fingers to help them “walk” with assistance. We don’t give them an F when they fall. We encourage them to try again. And even when they begin to take wobbly steps we cheer. No, they are not walking briskly, they look more like tiny drunkards. But we cheer each step in the process.

So why do we stop doing that? Why do we expect perfect results today? Why don’t we cheer on each stumbling bumbling attempt? Each wobbling step brings us closer to our goal. So we need to celebrate even the tiny things.

A friend recently told me “Doing something imperfectly is always more productive than not doing something perfectly.” What keeps us from not doing something perfectly? I believe we fear falling and failure. What if instead of fearing falling and failure we celebrate attempts as we keep our goal in mind?

“Good try. Get up and try again!”

“So close. Try again.”

“Maybe today isn’t your day, but you tried. Now let’s try again tomorrow.”

Celebrating those crazy out-of-control wobbling steps will encourage us to keep trying. It will free us from the fear of failure and maybe one day we will fly.

What can you do today to celebrate your tiny steps forward?