This was written for and originally published my friends doing WILDLY EMPOWERING THINGS at stnce.ca
Fear of failure is something that plagues too many of us. We can get clear on what we want, and then just before we launch into it, this overwhelming wave of “what if this doesn’t work” comes and washes us back to the shore from whence we started.
But there’s a hidden conversation about fear that we’re not having: at some point in our lives, we are bound to fail – it’s inevitable. So what if we could re-direct the conversation in heads to not being afraid of failing, but rather embracing it as a stepping stone to our success? What would it feel like if we accepted that:
1. We are just as likely to succeed as we are to fail, and
2. We can take every single failure we’ve experienced in life, love, and business, and transmute it to being a critical part of our learning progress, en route to our own success?
Our fears always serve a purpose: they are designed to warn us of danger to our immediate environment, and that’s a really good thing. When we stop and listen to that fear, and that fear alone, however, we are holding ourselves back from so many good things that we might not even know we are capable of having or experiencing.
Failure is at times, inevitable. For all of us. Relationships, businesses, investments, friendships, the perfect bolognese – sometimes we mess up, and it doesn’t work out. But chances are, when you have the courage to be self-aware and hold yourself accountable for what you bring to the table and the role that you play, it doesn’t take much to see those mess ups as training for the next and better thing.
The outcome never matters as much as the lesson you learn along the way. Each person, each experience, each situation is an opportunity to give and receive, moving you one step further along on this winding road of life. Sometimes we just don’t get it right the first time around. Knowing that this is a human truth, think about how you react when you do fail. How can we use failure as a means of getting closer to success?
If you strip away the emotions behind the fear of judgment, shame, and being vulnerable, and embrace the acceptance of failure as a learning experience, you’re already winning. And that “winning” mindset, that feeling of relentless optimism, is essential in cultivating tenacity and resiliency in this life.
When we expect ourselves to succeed overall, and we expect that things will work in our favour, this amazing thing happens: things start working out as if they were absolutely rigged in our favour. Conversely, if we elect that we will fail and that things are working against us, the same “magic” thing happens, only this time, it moves in favour of exactly what we don’t want.
Err on the side of possibility. Change that inner dialogue to support your vision, allow you to take action – both in the small and mundane, and the big and bodacious. Err on the side that “this might just work” and hold the vision of your long-term success so tight that it offends you to even entertain the idea of anything else.
We need to accept that we are all flawed. We are human, and are in a constantly looped cycle of try, fail, learn, repeat. There is no such thing as perfection; perfection is a total illusion. We experience perfect moments, and sometimes those moments are blissfully longer than others, but there is no perfect state. We live our whole lives tangled up in these bodies on a journey of discovery.
Our deeply rooted fear of failure is often disguising a fear of judgment. “What will people think of me? Who am I to do this? There’s no way I’m good enough to pull this off. If I do this, everyone will know I’ve been faking it all along.”
Fear holds us back from not only doing, but trying. We’re so terrified of getting it wrong that we forget we have an equally strong chance of getting it right. In order to start something, you just have to get started; it’s that simple.
There is nothing more tragic in this life than playing it safe the whole damn time. So get started. Do the thing. Make the phone call. Send the email. Quit the job. Take the leap. And do so from a smart, strategic, informed place, keeping the volume dial on your intuition turned way up.
And what if you fail? My lovely, what if you succeed? You will never know until you try. Leap. Risk. Try again. Try it, and be smart about it. Learn how to fail with grace, and let that be your success.