06/05/2012 08:35 am ET Updated Aug 05, 2012

How to Begin to Cultivate Hope After Failing

The scariest part of failure is being seen when you're most vulnerable and least perfect. It is far safer (and easier) to hide behind dreams and schemes. It is even fun to dream and scheme -- to think "what if," and to create our own fairy tales -- you know, something to look forward to, one day when you just know that it's the right time. But while we wait for the perfect time, we watch others soar -- we listen closely to their tales and imagine how one day we will be telling a similar tale of triumph and victory. These tales, over time, often grow as we gain new experiences, watch others' experiences, and engage in endless daydreaming.

Now, back to the point at hand -- the scariest part of failure. When we abandon the confines of "life as usual," we leap, hoping that we will fly and garner the awe of those watching from the valley as we soar. But what happens if we don't fly?

What most people aren't prepared for is how to cope with the reality of hitting the ground. It's not pretty -- definitely not the fairy tale story that has been growing for years in your mind. And once you're there on the ground, it hurts... a lot. Your ego is bruised. More than that, your ability to dream and act on your dreams becomes painfully difficult. You no longer wear rose-colored glasses. Leaping becomes harder because you've lost your childlike naiveté.

So what do you do? How do you begin to tell your tale and cultivate hope for the future? You realize that you can't rewind your life. You can either hit pause or play. While hitting pause is a powerful part of the healing process, at some point, you need to begin hitting the play button more than the pause button. To do this, there is one thought that has helped me along the way: You have nothing to lose. Failing (especially failing BIG) provides you with a sense of freedom that you can never gain by playing it safe. It's this freedom that separates you from those who never leap. It's this freedom that you will one day tell about in your tale. It's this freedom of knowing how to get back up after hitting the ground that will allow you to soar far higher than you ever imagined possible.

This is your tale, are you ready to tell it? Begin by hitting play.

P.S. I realize the topic of failure is difficult to discuss in a public forum. But it's my hope to begin to open up the dialogue around this very real/scary topic so that we realize (we = myself included) we are never alone on our journey. I would love to know if this topic is something you like reading about -- you can let me know in the comments or via email/Twitter. I am truly grateful for your support.

If you enjoyed this post, please visit my personal blog: A Beautiful Ripple Effect.

For more by Carolyn Rubenstein, click here.

For more on becoming fearless, click here.