Dr. Kate Truitt & Associates

Related Resources

For Leaning Into Failure

A Havening Therapeutic Exercise to Change How You Think About Failure & Create An Empowered Mindset

In this guided meditation, Dr. Kate Truitt leads us to a healthy and empowered relationship with the idea of failure. She begins by asking us to welcome in havening touch and healing breath. Once we have reached a calm state, she asks us to imagine that we are standing in front of a board with failure written in big block letters.

Then, she asks our mind to wander and think about our reaction to the word failure. Does it have a color, feeling, or weight to it? What does the construct of failure look like in your mind’s eye? Are these associations that we have made or that our circumstances or surroundings have taught us?

Many of us have learned that failure is bad or unacceptable. Dr. Kate asks us to look at why we think this way about failure. As we wander and explore failure, Dr. Kate welcomes in breath and having touch to comfort us in this journey. She then asks us to imagine that we are filling up balloons with these constructs of failure. They can be filled with thoughts, feelings, experiences or anything we relate to a bad connotation of failure. By altering our relationship and connotations associated with failure, we can shift our mindset.

A Havening Guided Meditation to Overcome Mistakes and Build Motivation

In this guided mediation, Dr. Kate Truitt helps us to create space when mistakes are made and lean into the opportunity for forgiveness and growth.

Dr. Kate asks us to bring in havening touch and soothing breath and calm our mind. Then she asks us to look back for a time when our brain was excited about experiencing or learning something new. What does it feel like to be curious and driven about something new? She invites us to bring this experience to the front, and examine what the energy feels, looks, and smells like? How do our senses bear witness to this experience?

She then asks us to shift our attention toward a time when we felt we made a mistake or weren’t our best. Once we have noticed that experience, Dr. Kate asks us to connect briefly with that energy but return to the optimistic feeling of learning something new.

By working through these experiences next to each other, Dr. Kate helps us to realize that we can release the negativity surrounding mistakes and treat them as an opportunity for learning.

Why You Need to Learn to Love Failure: It's the Key to Success and Personal Empowerment!

In this educational video, Dr. Kate Truitt explains that we have the power to change our brains’ relationship with failure. Our brains are hard-wired to respond strongly to mistakes, so that our brains are able to remember and learn from them. While this can keep us safe from an evolutionary standpoint, it can also hold us back.

Dr. Kate suggests redefining failure as learning, which would allow for mistakes to not become a part of our core identity. If we have the right mindset, failing is no different from learning any other way.

Unpacking the Relationship Between Failure and Motivation - Change Your Thoughts to Create Success!

In this psychoeducation video, Dr. Kate Truitt explains that most of us have grown up in an environment that taught us to have a fear of making mistakes, despite the fact that our brains are designed to make mistakes.

She says that our brains are curiosity based and love to learn new things; however, when we carry a negative association with mistakes, it can hinder our brains desire to learn.

Our narrative with failure directly affects our motivation to be successful, thus Dr. Kate asks us to think about how we react when we make a mistake. Are we kind to ourselves, or do we respond negatively? If we react poorly, we can employ the exercise CPR for the Amygdala in order to reset and calm our system.

Once we are present, we can greet our mistakes with the same love and kindness that we give ourselves when we succeed.

Releasing Your Critical Thoughts to Create Personal Empowerment

In this psychoeducation video, Dr. Kate Truitt asks us to examine who the most important person in our lives is and then explains the importance of having the answer be us.

When we make mistakes, we are often unkind to ourselves. If we are the most important person in our lives, then we must treat ourselves with kindness. She then explains that we carry tapes in our mind that replay harsh words from our past. However, since they are tapes, we have the ability to press pause and evaluate if the tape is a necessity in our lives.

These tapes are also known as automatic thoughts, or thoughts that constantly roll through our minds. Dr. Kate explains that Amy the amygdala encourages these thoughts of self-protection, for our brains have learned to play small in these situations where we have previously made mistakes.

Dr. Kate recommends that we start paying attention to the thoughts that we have when we aren’t living up to the expectations of the tapes in our mind.

A Guided Meditation for Releasing Critical Thoughts and Building Loving Kindness

In this guided meditation, Dr. Kate Truitt teaches us how to release the negative tapes of our past and create new opportunities for empowered healing.

As always, she invites us to welcome in havening touch and soothing breath. Then she asks us to notice a time where we have felt like we let ourselves or somebody else down. Once we have found one of these times, Dr. Kate invites us to watch the memory occur from a stage.

She guides us to look inward and examine what thoughts and feelings come up when we watch this experience. Then she asks us to put those feelings into a tape, where we have play and pause buttons at our disposal.

We often have these tapes playing in our heads, so once we realize that we have the ability to stop these unhelpful tapes from playing over and over in our heads, we can begin to build loving kindness within ourselves.

Compassionately Leaning into Failure to Create Success

By Dr. Kate Truitt

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”

—Richard Branson

Failing… failed… fail… failure.

Any version of that word naturally makes us humans cringe, especially when it is coming from a voice inside of our heads: You let your department down when you failed to make your goals this month. And worse: You’re failing your family. And worse yet: Don’t try this, you’re just going to fail. And worst of all: You’re a failure.

Why Does Failure Have to Hurt?

The truth is, failure can hurt—our egos and self-brain often have a hard time dealing with it—but the fact is we all fail, and we do it pretty much daily. Failure is how we have learned and grown every day since the earliest days of our lives. In fact, failure is a critical part of nearly everything we have succeeded at in life, but it’s often difficult to gain a full appreciation of that in the moment.

When you find these words rolling around in your brain, think of how many times an infant falls down in her quest to succeed in becoming a toddler. She is not failing. Every time she falls, her brain is learning how to move better going forward. And what do we do as adults when we see this happen? We cheer her on, encourage her, right? It’s ingrained in us to automatically do that, because we know the result of all of that effort will eventually be success, and we want to be on hand to witness it.

So why do we have such a hard time supporting and motivating ourselves when we fall short of what we want to happen in our lives?

One of my favorite frameworks for failure is the adage that the word FAIL is an acronym for First Attempt in Learning. That is because we humans are biologically hardwired to make mistakes so that we can learn from them. We have even identified a specific brainwave in our brain’s information-processing sequence that is designed to react strongly when we make a mistake, so the brain remembers it and learns from it. Giving you an appreciation for that little nugget of neuroplasticity is where I want to go with this article.

Seeing Failure as Learning

What if failure doesn’t have to hurt? We obviously can’t do anything about those occasions when we don’t do our absolute best, or when someone is disappointed with us no matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished. But we have so much potential to change the way our brain is in relationship with failure.


Our brains and bodies learn from failure, and we should appreciate it for what it is: that First Attempt In Learning. I would like you to intentionally look at your relationship with failure—in fact, lean into it. What if when we “fail” we are simply learning to be stronger and wiser? What if failure is just a way for us to ensure that we are learning what we need to learn rather than having failure be a part of our core identity? 

Many of us carry tapes around with us in our brains from the past that replay harsh words and criticisms that have developed during our lives. Our minds press play on these tapes in difficult situations, like when we make a mistake or feel like we are not accomplishing the tasks we have set out for ourselves, or we are feeling demotivated. In those situations, these tapes can call us names we have heard over and over again throughout the course of our lives, such as “stupid” or lazy or “failure.”


These are automatic thoughts that roll over and over in our minds and Amy, the amygdalae of our brains, which is the hub of our primal survival mechanisms, encourages these thoughts for self-protection. In a way, our brains have learned from a very young age to “play small” in situations where we have made mistakes or otherwise let ourselves down. But playing small doesn’t work so well for us when we are trying to do big things in our lives. These tactics we have learned get in the way of what we strategically want to accomplish in our lives.

When you find yourself in these situations, I would like you to start paying attention to the thoughts you are having when you feel you’re not living up to the expectations of the tapes in your mind. Notice the distinction here: I said, “not living up to the expectations of the tapes.” These automatic thoughts in your mind don’t belong to you—they are something you’ve learned over the course of your life to help you avoid risk. But life is a risky proposition and taking risks can be fun and rewarding when we believe in ourselves and learn how to be courageous.

The opportunity in this is because they are tapes, we hold the power to push pause on them and evaluate whether these tapes from the past make sense and whether it is necessary for them to play a role in our current lives.


When things feel like they are going poorly and we feel like we’re screwing up, and making mistakes, welcoming in self-compassion and self-understanding can often feel downright impossible. Yet, this is critical for creating the space our brain needs to transition from guilt, shame and other amygdala-driven issues to feeling present in the moment and engaged.

A Thoughts and Beliefs Challenging Exercise

I’d like you to grab a pen and paper for a little exercise that is designed to help you challenge some of the thoughts and beliefs that we use to beat ourselves up.

Think of a time when you made a mistake that caused you to really get down on yourself, even to the point of calling yourself names. It’s O.K., we have all been there at some point: I’m so stupid! I am always screwing things up! I can’t believe I did it again! What’s wrong with me?! I’ll never learn!

Does any of that sound familiar? It certainly sounds like some of the old tapes that have run through my mind from time to time. When you find that you’ve kicked yourself for a mistake you made, write down some of those thoughts at the top of the paper. Then, below that, write down the following question:

Why might my amygdala be saying these things to me to keep me safe?

This question is important because when we are criticizing ourselves, it is because our brains are trying to keep us safe. When this happens, our brain will start pulling up a host of past experiences like when we’ve let ourselves down or have been hurt, using difficult moments from the past in an attempt to keep us alive and safe in the present. It sure doesn’t feel like that when it happens, though. Still, it is important to ask yourself this question to give you a framework for what is happening in the moment.

Underneath that question write down three numbers: 1. 2. and 3. In those blanks, fill in three hypotheses you have about why Amy might be saying these things to you in an attempt to keep you safe. Many times, you’ll find these are old tapes from your past, perhaps the voices of people who once mattered to you, and you felt you had to do or say something to please them.

Our young selves do that all the time. As children we looked at our primary caregivers for safety, especially if they were harsh or rejecting or critical. In those cases, our brains might create stories about how we were wrong so we can have agency to create change so we are not wrong in the future and can stay safe.

The next question to write down is this:

How can I respond to Amy from a state of compassionate understanding and love?

Then as before, write down three numbers: 1. 2. 3. Write down three ways you can give yourself love and care going forward.

Leaning Into Failure With Self-Compassion

The more we beat ourselves up, the more we create pain and get in our own way. So, lean in with self-compassion, and try the above exercise whenever you find are beating yourself up of calling yourself names. Also, try a few of the guided video exercises linked into the sidebar of this article.

Every day our brain is being built, no matter how old we are. Nothing about your brain is stagnant. This creates such an incredible amount of opportunity, and an incredible amount of power. When we fail, if we have the right mindset—giving ourselves permission to lean in with curiosity to learn about failure—then failure holds no more power than a library of books over our identity and sense of self. So, embrace failure, learn from it and let your ego aside, because we are actually stronger when we fall down and learn from the fall. By altering our relationship and connotations associated with failure, we can shift our mindset.