Happy weekend, my friends! Success and failure are two words we use describe the quality of the results we achieve in our lives.
We often evaluate ourselves using these words and others do as well. We tend to evaluate our relationships, our finances, our careers, and other aspects of our lives in these stark terms, as if we get a pass or fail grade.
At their worst, these two words can paralyze us. We can become afraid of both failure and success. So, we get stuck or do just enough to keep us in a murky mediocrity that cannot be described with either word.
A few years ago, I wrote a very brief parable about a simple way to release ourselves from the twin fears of failure and success.
I recorded it this evening and posted it to my YouTube channel. I hope you’ll find it useful in moving these two words out of the road that leads to your dreams,
Wherever you are on your journey today, remember to let your kindness start with you.
There’s an old German proverb that says, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”
You want to build your side business, change jobs, or go back and get that degree, but something is stopping you. Sure, time, money, the ease of staying put are often the easy culprits. Are they really the reasons you haven’t taken action or is there a conscious or unconscious fear anchoring you in place?
Change is a wolf and our fears about it do make it look bigger than it is. Are you feeling a little fear about the change? It doesn’t mean you’re coward or weak, it just means your human and you’ve allowed the wolf of fear to swallow your dream.
Want to know a secret? Most of the time, that wolf is a shadow puppet on the walls of your mind. It’s only as big as you make it.
Powerhack: Here are some things you can do turn stagnant fear into action when you’re stuck.
Just jump – do you remember, as a kid, the first time you jumped off a diving board?You had that same lump in your throat you have about this. You stared at the water, you counted, and you heard your self-talk talking you out of it. Finally, one of your friends yelled, “Just jump!” That was the solution. You shut down your mind and just acted. Before you knew it, you were hitting the refreshing water and rising back to the surface in joy. That worked out and so will this.
Dream bigger – yeah, this one gets a bad rap because everyone says it, but it’s applicable here. Maybe you don’t have a dream big enough to overcome your fear of acting. Have you ever REALLY wanted something? I mean REALLY? You let nothing stand in your way. If this dream doesn’t have you that passionate, dream a bigger dream.
Find examples – maybe you’re thinking, “Someone my age can’t do that” or “Someone in my situation can’t do that.” Wrong! I simply guarantee you’re wrong. There is someone out there who overcame none than you to get what you want. Find them and let their story inspire you.
Past is prologue– you’ve done this before. At some point in your life, you faced a challenge, thought you couldn’t, but did anyway. Remember those examples and be inspired that you’ve done it before and you can do it again.
See, that wolf isn’t as big as he seems. In the face of your determination, he turns into a lovable pup.
Just in case no one else had reminded you today, you’re AWESOME!
The fear of failure is the shortest route to it. ~Ray Davis
Today is the last in this little mini-series about following your dreams. It’s a theme we will revisit before the year is over.
Ellen Johnson once wrote, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Many people have been taught to avoid fear and failure. They’d feel embarrassed to try and fail. What would their family and friends think? This is an evil trap that keeps many people in the starting gate when it comes to their true dreams.
A few years ago I read an article about a study where they compared Japanese and American students’ approaches to learning. The writer pointed out that it is not uncommon to see a Japanese student fail numerous times on his or her way to learning something successfully. In Japan, there is no stigma to failing along the road to success. It is an expected and accepted part of the learning process.
In the United States, we attach a tremendous amount of stigma to failing. So much so that American students are generally not willing to go through the process of failing to learn. American students tend to focus their attention on subjects where they can be successful and shy away from subjects where failure might be involved.
So instead of going through the failure to learn the process we often hear our children say things like, “I hate math.” They don’t really mean that they hold a personal grudge against math. What they are saying is, “I would have to fail too many times to get math and I’m not willing to do it.”
I’m not here to say that one nation’s approach to learning is superior. However, this fear of failing extends beyond school and impacts our adult lives as well. Many people have big dreams or goals they would like to accomplish, but, again, they are still not willing feel the sting of failure to get there. Instead, they learn to play it safe just as their children do with the math.
That’s where my little aphorism at the top comes in. When fear failure so much that we are unwilling to try, unwilling to risk learning new things and failing a little; we cannot achieve our goals and dreams. Most this revolves around our stigma of fearing to fail.
Recondition yourself to overcome your fear of failure. In an outstanding article, Olimpio Zapanta offers five steps for overcoming the fear of failure.
Divorce failure from your self-esteem.
Failure is not all bad. It can be a great teacher.
Failure and success are intimately linked – failure is often a prerequisite for success.
Successful people fail constantly. That’s how they succeed.
Everything doesn’t have to be perfect before you go for it.
With these five great steps and little determination, you don’t have to let the fear of failure sidetrack you from your destiny! Remember that “A Success” is what we call someone who had the courage to persist through fears and through the failures.
Just accept it. You’re going to have some fear when you step into new arenas. You’re going fail when you try new things. So what!
Joseph Campbell called out the irony of human striving when he said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
Refuse to allow your dreams to die on the sword of inaction.
Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.
Here are three fantastic quotes that remind you how important it is to try new things.