What is bigger for you: the fear of failure or the fear of starting over?
What if both of these concepts are lies?
That’s right – there is no such thing as failure, and you never get to start over!
Let’s start with failure:
Have you ever been so afraid of failure that you decided not to even try at all? Believe me, you are not alone! Most of us have probably experienced this at one time or another. The fear of failure can be immobilizing – it causes us to do nothing. No action, no movement. Result: we miss out on the great opportunities and deliciousness of life.
It’s so interesting that, as humans, we do or don’t do things based on how we think we will feel. Think about that – we go on a date or a trip because we think we’ll feel loved or have fun. Failure works the same way – we don’t do something because we are worried about failure – that we will feel like a failure (how does a failure feel anyway?) or that we will be rejected, and we don’t want to feel the rejection.
How do we experience Failure?
If you have a fear of failure, you have probably experienced at least one of the following symptoms:
- A reluctance to try new things or to get involved in challenging projects.
- Self-sabotage in the form of procrastination, anxiety, or a failure to follow through with your goals.
- Thoughts of low self-esteem or self-confidence… I’ll never be as good as _____. I’m not smart (charismatic, skilled, articulate, etc) enough to be on that team, get that promotion, get high quality clients.
- Perfectionism – a willingness to try only those things that you know you’ll finish perfectly. Here’s the challenge, though – how will you ever create a perfect plan to go somewhere you’ve never gone before??? And if you are a woman who wants to break thru the Perfect Syndrome – join us at our Piss Off Perfect Retreat!
Why do we fear failure?
Fear of failure can be linked to many causes – for example, having unsupportive or critical parents growing up. We carry negative feelings and experiences from our childhood into our adulthood.
Experiencing a traumatic or embarrassing event in your life can also be a cause. For example, say that several years ago, you gave an important presentation in front of a large group, or important leadership group, and did very poorly. The experience may have been such that you are now afraid of failing in other things. And so you continue to carry that fear. And you are not alone.
But what is failure really?
How do you define failure? That’s the real question. And where did you learn that? Be with that for a moment. I bet if you are honest, failure simply means that something didn’t turn out the way you wanted it.
The wonderful thing about failure is that it’s entirely up to you to decide how to look at it. What if you looked at the ‘fact’ instead of the meaning that you give it? Is ‘failure’ the end of the world, proof of our inadequacy, or…. Maybe simply feedback, a learning opportunity, or information for the next steps. Your choice – and after all, you are the manager of your thoughts, aren’t you??
The truth is that there really is no failure. There is only feedback. Be with that for a moment.
We’ve been getting feedback since we were babies. If we cried, we got fed, or our diaper changed. When we learned to walk, we fell down, assimilated the information, and gave it another shot. Not a single one of us stayed on the floor into adulthood in defeat. All success involves falling down in some form or another. There are so many famous examples of ‘failure’ on the way to success: Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her TV station job, Warren Buffet was rejected from Harvard University, and… go ahead and add your claim here.
Imagine if any of them had given up on their dreams. You have everything you need to be successful, just like they are. You have to stay your course! Think of the opportunities you’ll gain if you change your relationship with failure!
But if I try and fail, don’t I have to start over?
NOOOOO!!!! That’s the beauty of it!! One of our worries that goes along with fear of failure is that if we fail, then we’ll have to start over.
We never start over. We may head in a new direction, but we never truly start over. Because with each new step we take, we don’t start over; we start from a new level of experience, a new level of awareness, and with an additional layer of information. So now that you are informed – what’s the next step from where you are?
So now what?
Create a new relationship with Feedback! Every result you get is simply feedback. Success is feedback, too, you know! Feedback teaches you what works and what doesn’t work. Feedback teaches you amazing things about yourself – how resilient you are, how creative you are, how committed you are, and how smart you are….add at least three more things to this list. By taking a step and daring to risk and daring to fall, you discover new possibilities and new ways of doing things.
True failure only comes from the way you think about something. So turn your stinkin’ thinkin’ around! Instead of being discouraged for what you didn’t do, what’s missing, what you didn’t finish, begin acknowledging yourself for risking, for trying something new, for being courageous, for connecting with a new person, for taking a step toward your dream, for showing someone else something new, for daring to live a life that makes your soul sing! Celebrate each time you try something new. That’s a success, isn’t it?
Turn on your own news channel every night and replay the highlights of your day. Spotlight your accomplishments. Plan for your successes tomorrow.