Where’s that Life Ring when You Need It?
You Suspect You Might Be Failing
There comes a time when you are working on something and things aren’t going the way you hoped they would. You tweak this and jiggle that and still, nothing is improving that project. There’s got to be something you are missing.
You go online and begin to explore, hoping to find a solution. You see that there are other people working on their projects and they are doing wonderfully well. No one else seems to be having the problems that you are having. You suspect you might be failing. Where’s that life ring when you need it?
The Big NO
Quickly Denial Begins to Set In
YOU must be missing something or doing something wrong. How quick we are to blame ourselves. Or others. Probably the kids have been too noisy.
Or it’s because you need new equipment.
We look to blame something outside of ourselves.
Failure? Heavens no. This isn’t failure. This is just something that must be worked out. Well, maybe this part of it is failing.
Where’s that life ring when you need it?
Quick. Where can we look? Is there a book
that has some information to help us? Or maybe we can find something on the internet that will give us a clue about what is happening. Hence, we rack our brains and then start a search on Google, hoping to find a quick answer so we can get on with our project.
Looky – Looky
In looking at what happens when you fail, I am immediately reminded of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 Stages of Grief. While failure is not the death of a person, it is in reality, the death of an idea or a project that one has worked on. The same stages are to be expected. Kessler, her co-author makes the following statement on dealing with grief and we need to look at it.
“The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Our hope is that with these stages comes the knowledge of grief ‘s terrain, making us better equipped to cope with life and loss. At times, people in grief will often report more stages. Just remember your grief is a unique as you are.”
Kubler-Ross and Kessler are talking about the grief of losing someone to death. And they identify those 5 stages people go through when coping with that loss.
Not mentioned in the book, but from my own life experience, I note that loss of any kind tends to bring on a form of grieving and we go through those same 5 stages in coping with the loss.
Thinking about it
Sharing Some Experiences We Have Had
Can you remember some experience that you have had where things did not go as planned? Maybe something that was really a failure? Sharing in the comments below will help all of us understand just how common that experience is for all of us.
Last week I talked about My Fear of Failure. Being a new blogger, it’s a very real fear. I go up and down the ladder of the first 4 stages of grief – sometimes more than one stage in a day, depending on how things are going. It’s like I’m on one of those exercise wheels
we used to put in the gerbil cages.
The blog is still up so I know I haven’t reached acceptance of failure (yet). My most frequent stages are going between denial and anger with a lot of bargaining sprinkled in anywhere I can find a place it will fit.
Grrrr – Oh No
Coping With the Anger Stage
I don’t cope with anger well. Consequently, if I have to get angry, I will most likely do it by blaming my equipment, my service provider, or myself. I’m really good at passing blame to something when I’m dealing with anger. Oh yes, I can expand it too. Let’s see:
- Either I can blame the economy;
Or blame the weather;
- maybe it’s my health that is to blame;
- And in addition, of course, Nana has to blame her age.
I am forever reminding myself that my frugality got me into this too early before I was prepared. (That’s a story for a whole other blog someday.)
I’d love to know how you cope with that anger stage. Isn’t it great to know it’s totally normal and you’re not a freak?
Trade off time
Bargain Away Any Hint of Failure
What Happens When You Suspect You are Failing? Heavens, we don’t fail. We just need to go in another direction. If I change the focus on the site it will be more attractive.
More people will want to come for a visit. And of course, everyone will want to share it with others.
Actually, this is a very healthy stage in dealing with the threat of failure. This is the stage when someone who is dying chooses to have surgery or chemo for cancer treatment and very often this puts illnesses into remission and may even cure the problem.
The same happens with projects we are working on. Here is the time for additional education.
We begin to ask for help and we listen to the advice of others with more experience.
One of the things I did, was to read my advice in the Resource section here that I gave when Readers ask – Should I start a Blog? And then I read the next section Step 2 – Exploring Topics and Titles. The suggestions there were ones I was already using or had used. What was I missing?
The Ah-Ha Moment
Time to add a New Section
Here was where I came to the decision that another stage needed to be added to Kubler-Ross’s hierarchy. I found that somewhere after the bargaining stage there needed to be another stage added before Depression set in.
While here I am talking about the stages of grief as I relate them to the grief of failure. I believe that this new stage might be added to Kubler-Ross’s focus on Grief also.
I call this stage The Interruption Stage. You deny, you rage and argue, you bargain, yes. But before you let depression set in, I believe one needs to interrupt the sequence. I needed to walk away from thinking and stressing over the topic. The brain can only handle so much and needs to take a rest. This is the time to stop everything one is doing or thinking about and go into something totally divorced from all the problems. I know I needed a break.
When one starts a project, focus centers in on the topic. Now when the possibility of failure raises its head and actions are focused on throwing life rings at it, a point is reached when you need to rest in your efforts.
Your head is filled with all you have searched for and studied. You have observed and listened to others who were expert in the field. It seems like your brain is whirling with the fullness of information while meanwhile, your project sits smoking and smoldering. Will it ignite and burn up or will it singe off the dead ends for a chance of new growth? Do you care? Do you want to continue? Where are you in this mess?
This is the moment that I recommend Interruption.
- First of all, take a walk in the woods
or at the seashore.
- Whistle a tune. Do you remember how?
- Another suggestion? Sing a song and whirl around.
- Giggle with children and play games
with them or create crazy
- play-doh or Lego concoctions.
- Take a cruise on the ocean or a river.
- Go sit in church
and listen to the stillness and perhaps the voice of God speaking to you.
While doing these activities, your brain puts the project into a sensory deprived compartment. It doesn’t disappear. Nor does it change. You realize the project is a thing. Hence, it is not you.
Time of decision making
Now you can look at this project of yours with fresh eyes that are rested. Yes. Now it’s time to make a decision. Let’s look at the possibilities.
- You close it all down. It’s over.
You’ve learned a lot – both about the project and yourself. And yes, now would be a time for a period of depression. But with the interruption you just had, it is short and you’re soon into acceptance.
- Another option: You continue and accept that success will take time.
The interruption has given new energy and focuses to continue. You leave the stages of grief behind and continue the journey you started, knowing success is on the horizon. You accept that time can become your friend.
- Finally, you can decide that changes are needed in the project
and you now see where and how they can be accomplished. You still are in the bargaining stage but with renewed energy and commitment. Your focus is more positive now and you feel energized and ready to tackle the problems you have identified. There are new options you can try.
Your turn to act
Call to Action:
If you are working on a project and you suspect you may be failing, I’ve put together a worksheet for you to use. Hopefully, it will help you begin to define the direction and actions you must consider in making a decision in what you are going to do.
And for those of you not working on a project – why are you wasting this opportunity to move forward in your life? You too should do this worksheet but in the ‘Project Line’, put down the opportunity you wish you had and then answer the questions. If you are not moving on your opportunity – Probably, You Might Need a Life Ring to get started. Where is that life ring when you need it? It’s here and within you. YOU need to take action. Better come back for next week’s post. Next week we’ll be talking about taking action.
Where is the worksheet, Nana? Oh yes, forgot to tell you – it’s for subscribers only. The link will be in Nana’s News this week.
Love, Hugs, and Prayers,
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