No-one aspires to be a failure! But we all do fail…at lots of things…all the time. Admit it….at least to yourself.
Just this week I wrote the wrong phone number down and called a total stranger and had a very confused and embarrassing phone call based around a whole lot of wrong assumptions on my part for which I had to apologise.
As someone who has made more than his fair share of mistakes, and who knows what failure feels like and tastes like. (Basically at the time it sucks!) I have a few thoughts that I hope will assist you to deal with what is one of the most basic fears that lurks within every one of us….the fear of failure.
I’ve been thinking about this and I strongly believe we have all bought into some rubbish….well at least very unhelpful and untrue thinking and beliefs around failure.
Learning from a baby about overcoming failure
When you look at a baby pulling herself up and trying to stand, she doesn’t stand first time and never fall over ever again. As her little legs grow stronger she takes her first tentative steps holding that coffee table tight. Then it can be a few more weeks before she takes her first steps without holding on. Every day she falls over many times but then starts to get up and try again. No adults in that baby’s world are upset at all the falling down. Remarkably, there is no judgement passed. The falling down is not even focused on unless there are a few tears from a bumped head. As she starts to take those first baby steps everyone gets excited and Facebook has another whole picture album posted. The fact is that this little girl has not yet learned to walk, she has only taken a few steps. She has fallen over more than she has walked. But everyone is excited and celebrating and making phone calls and wanting her to show grandma and aunty Josephine.
I believe that the process by which a baby learns to walk, with lots of stumbles and falls (failures!!!) along the way, is the same process by which we learn anything new in life.
Remember learning to drive a car? It was not easy and felt at times like it would never become natural and easy, but after a few weeks or months it did. Learning to play golf or to play a musical instrument involves lots and lots and lots of mistakes. It’s the same with relationships, work skills, mathematics and …..everything.
If you focus on the failures, and want to learn without falling down, you will never learn anything. In fact the person who never made a mistake never made anything!
So, can I leave you with a challenge. Like the baby and her parents learn to focus on the getting up again and the excitement of another step rather than the failure of falling down, and another mistake. Failing and making mistakes does not mean you are a failure, it actually means you are a healthy human being who wants to learn and grow.
What you focus on in life is what you will move towards! True! (I learned that the hard way too on a mountain bike at 60 kph on a bush track – focus on the tree roots and you will hit them, focus on the narrow path and you will miss the tree roots).
If fear of failure is holding you back can I suggest that you seek out a decent coach and get some help to leave those limiting fears behind. (Check out my contact details on this website and email or call me and I would love to assist you)
How have you learned to overcome the fear of failure?
Good post John
When i start something new i like to get the so called failing out of the way fast so i can move on to the things that work and it's only by finding out the things that don't work that we get the most learning from anyway
Remember that song where the singer sais, "I get knocked down and I get up again"?
Like a baby gets knocked down and gets up again. And tries again and gets up and down repeatedly.
Eventually it is all a lot of fun.