When I ask clients about their biggest fear, what I hear most is: fear of failure.
We are a society of overachievers, and for many, failure is not an option. We’re expected to produce the right results every time. We must succeed, no matter what.
“Many people dream of success. To me success can only be achieved through repeated failures and introspection. In fact, success represents the one percent of your work that results from the ninety percent that is called failure – Soichiru Hond, founder of Honda Industries.
But here’s the truth:
It’s not our failures that limit who we are, but the belief that our failures define us.
We stop ourselves from grabbing the golden ring of success because we don’t know if we can reach it. Play from the sidelines, watching others take risks, and wishing we could do that. Holding ourselves back before we’ve even had a chance to find out how far we can go.
We Are All Afraid of Failing
In relationships, to fail means you have failed as an individual. You’re not good enough, or you didn’t try hard enough. When I divorced my first husband, my mother said it must have been something I did! She stayed in her marriage for over thirty-two years until her death, and frankly, she should have ended the relationship much sooner.
When you avoid failure, you also avoid risk. Without risk, there is no innovation or moving forward.
You take risks when you ask for something you want, when you push harder than you thought possible, when you stand up for what you believe in. All of these risks bring the gift of experience, knowledge and fulfillment in life.
When I started my career as a coach, I knew a lot about people, but I knew nothing about starting a business. My failures were pretty dramatic. Too much money spent on programs that were not right for me. Coaches who didn’t help me move out of my own way. Chasing magic bullets that missed the mark entirely. Lots of disappointment, frustration and expectations that vanished into thin air.
Standing on a NY subway station, lost in thought about how to take the next step, I saw the word RISK written on a grubby white tile. This became my acronym for RISK: Respect Your Intention and Show Kourage!
FAILURE: a decision, a choice, an expectation, a direction that didn’t go the way you had planned.
There are several ways to look at failure:
- Seeing that you are off course
- Realizing you need to learn more
- Finding you need help
- Exploring your options
- Discovering you’ve been misinformed
- Experimenting with new ideas
The biggest failure is the failure to try.
Mistakes Are Our Greatest Teachers
One of the most powerful indicators of long-term success is learning from our mistakes. Having a positive attitude and taking the next step is key to failing our way to success.
Next time you confront a failure there is only one word to say… “Next!”
Be Fearless: see where it gets you!