Photo from Flickr.com the commons project published on strong-woman.com

See the Beauty of Failure

Failure Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com published on strong-woman.comcan feel awful.

So awful that it’s easy to be paralyzed by fear of failure, so that any new venture, undertaking, or adventure is off limits unless it’s almost 100% safe.

What would life be like if we could the see beauty in failure instead of the terror of it? How can we do that?

How can failure be a beautiful thing?

We learn in Biology 101 that one of the signs of life is growth, and one of the signs of growth is change. If you’re not changing, you’re now growing.Photo from Flickr.com the commons project published on strong-woman.com

Failure means you’ve tried learning or doing something new and different, even if success is not guaranteed.

But it’s scary! I don’t want to fail!

Thomas Edison once said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In the movie Edison, The Man, there’s a pivotal scene in the story. Edison is close to giving up on his pursuit of creating the electric light bulb. He’s discouraged and worn out from years of finding “ways that won’t work”. He’s tired of fighting all the forces against him. Then something happens to set him back on course.

He has a dream that reminds him of why he started and wakes up renewed and determined to continue, no matter what.

Failure’s a great teacher.Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

It takes time and effort to figure things out. If we take Thomas Edison’s approach, discovering a way that won’t work is still a discovery. There’s no failure. What you’ve tried hasn’t worked? Try something else. Tweak a little here and there. Make adjustments. 

What could we do if we were more like Edison and not give up when what we’ve tried doesn’t work?

It’s a pretty big question.

What would the world be like if we were taught to look at failure as a beautiful thing instead of a source of shame?

The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, says dinner conversations with her father centered around failure. He wanted to know what she had tried and failed.

In an interview with CNBC last year, she talked about how those conversations helped her:  The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”

She had her share of ways that didn’t work and people telling her no. She kept at it. Spanx made her the first woman self-made billionaire ever.

The beauty of failurePhoto from Flickr.com the commons project published on strong-woman.com

Failure means you’re trying – you have a dream, a desire. It means you’re working toward a goal.

When you look at it that way, failure’s a beautiful thing.

What will you fail at today?

Photo by Mark Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Have a Dreamer’s Mindset

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. 

~ C. S. Lewis

Age really is just a number. Some people feel old when they’re thirty and some seventy-year olds think of themselves as “getting up there”, but they’re not there yet.

What’s the difference? How can you get the most out of life and be thankful for each day instead of longing for the “good ol’ days”?

You’re never too old to dream

No matter your age, keep setting new goals. Keep dreaming new dreams.

Start where you are now and move forward. Make the most of your life experience and play to your strengths. Or try something new just for the fun of it.

Photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com
You’re never too old to learn or dream.

Every day’s a chance to learn something new. You don’t have to make massive changes or take great risk.

It’s okay to start small.

Be willing to change up your routine and start as a beginner.

Don’t talk yourself out of it. Go for it.

Do it for you.

Where will it lead?

Who knows?

Do it for the love and sheer joy of it. You never know what wonders await you.

Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Have a Mindset of Self-Control

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. 

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Back in the day, we used to call it a “put down”. Something said or done to make you feel bad, to make you feel inferior.

Some one may “put you down” in order to feel superior to you in some way. Maybe it’s an attempt to manipulate what you say or do.

Words have power

We can be mean to each other. It’s normal to feel bad when some one says something

Downloaded from pixabay.com public domain published on strong-woman.com
Eleanor Roosevelt

hurtful, especially if it’s some one you love and trust.

But when a person tries to put you down and keep you down for the purpose of making you feel like you:

Aren’t good, smart, or deserving enough,

Know that you control that.

You can’t change people, but it takes two to play that game. And you don’t have to play.

You can’t control what people say or do, but you can control your reaction to it.

What can you do to help yourself?
  • Let your actions speak louder than your words
  • Listen
  • Be respectful

Then, you can walk away with confidence, peace, forgiveness, and grace.

We can’t control others. The best we can ever hope for is to control ourselves. For most of us, it’s a constant work in progress.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Sprinkle Your Day With Gratitude

Gratitude is a simple concept.

It’s that feeling that what you have is good. And that what you have is enough for you to be happy today.

Why be grateful?

Gratitude brings a level of contentment and satisfaction to each day. And sometimes it takes practice.

Start with a sprinkle.Stretching in Autumn photo courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Instead of looking at what’s going wrong, think of what’s going right.

When you’re tempted to focus on what you don’t have, shift your focus to what you do have.

Rather than getting discouraged about what you haven’t accomplished, look at how far you’ve come.

Instead of saying, “I wish I had…”, say “I’m grateful that I have…”

Gratitude opens your heart

Expressing gratitude opens your heart to the goodness life offers, and an open heart makes way for more blessings.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Do you have what you need?

What are the bare necessities of life? Not much. Air, food, shelter.

And yet what do you have beyond that?

Consider the people and things you use, interact with, work for, and would miss like crazy if they weren’t there.

Don’t take anything for granted. Life is precious.

Sprinkle every day with gratitude. Or go ahead and pour it on. You can’t overdo it.

Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

Why Women’s History Month Matters

March is Women’s History Month.

A little background information:

Women’s History Month started off as “Women’s History Week” in 1982.Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

Beginning in 1987, March has been designated “Women’s History Month”, executed by either a Congressional resolution or Presidential proclamation.

According to the National Women’s History Project, since the signing of the Declaration of Independence  until the twentieth-century, women’s rights were restricted in most states in the areas of:

  • owning property
  • rights to earned wages (keeping money earned instead of handing it over to a husband or father)
  • contraception
  • reproductive issues (not just abortion)
  • the right to claim spousal abuse
  • the right to vote
  • equal pay for equal work
  • jury duty
  • the right to pursue a professional career
  • and many more.Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

People, men and women, worked to change the laws to give women the same legal rights rights and protection as men. In 1920, as a result of years of work by suffragists, the Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote in federal elections.

Women’s Rights

It’s worth noting that equal rights are rarely granted without a fight.

Laws are in place protecting women, but they do not guarantee enforcement, such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The gender pay gap is real and well-known. Read more about the gender pay gap at Pay Equity and Discrimination at Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR.org).

And changing laws doesn’t change hearts and minds. It can take generations to shift attitudes.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Just the other day I had the great displeasure of hearing a guy who seemed to be stuck in early 1900s mentality:

I was having lunch in a small neighborhood restaurant and a group of about six men sat at a table next to me. One man in the group loudly expressed his attitude about women’s rights and women’s equality. I’ll paraphrase his words here,

“Women want equal rights and want to be equal to men, but that puts things out of order. It should be God, then men, then women. Women can’t come before men because that’s like putting on your shoes before you put on your socks.”

I thought this man was an ignoramus. Plus, he was loud and obnoxious in my opinion. But I wondered, “Does he have sons? Daughters? Married to a woman? What would it be like to be around this guy all the time?”

I only had to hear him for a few minutes. And truthfully, listened to what he was saying because I was stunned and amazed by his logic.

 

Laws don’t change people.

Women have choices now because of the battles fought by previous generations of women. My grandmother always said, “We had to put up with a lot but you don’t have to.”

It’s not just that equal pay for equal work is fair.

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com published on strong-woman.com

It’s that our grandmothers before us “put up with” injustice, bowed to men, fought for the right to vote, to participate fully in the freedoms granted by the Constitution for all Americans.

We need to know what’s at stake.

The saying goes, “He who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it.”

That’s why Women’s History Month is important. Let’s pay attention.

And for a detailed timeline of Women’s Rights, visit National Women’s History Project.

Read more about Women’s History Month at Women’sHistoryMonth.org.