(10) Overcome your Fear of Failure

The only thing that separates life’s winners from the losers is the fact that the winners learn to take power from losing and use it to help them to win, while losers allow failure to take away their power and give up trying.


Winning is not everything; one victory in a life long journey of is little consequence, unless it is something truly unique such as landing on the moon or being the first to run the 4 minute mile. To me, winning is about being the best person you can possibly be in the pursuit of your goals and not giving in to anything in along the way – including your failures.


I have a challenge for you - look at failure as a way of helping you to learn quicker. Think about that for a moment and then apply it to any goal you working towards. If you knew that you could not really fail, only learn how to get to your goal quicker, then what is holding you back from going for it?


The answer is FEAR, or as we call it, False Expectations Appearing Real. Our past experiences and what we have been told by other people build up a picture in our minds of what could go wrong if we try. We play this scenario over and over again until we believe it to be true. This fear paralyses us and means we often don’t even try to achieve our dreams.


I believe that the only antidote for fear is action. Can you remember what happened when you were a child learning to walk or to ride your first bike without stabilisers? When you fell (as we all did), what did your parents say to you?  Did they say, “well, you didn't make a great job of that so perhaps walking/riding is not for you. Why don’t you stick with something you can do?” Or did they say “never mind, that was a great attempt, go on, try again” or maybe, “don’t worry, you are learning so quickly you will soon get the hang of it.” So we carried on trying, maybe getting a few bumps and bruises along the way, but eventually we succeeded.


So the way to work towards achieving our goals is to accept that we may ‘fail’, which will give us opportunities to learn but to believe that we will succeed. Imagine how a motorcycle racer rider prepares for each race. Do you think they picture how they could crash at each corner, or do they picture riding the perfect lap? Well, they are not going to be competitive if they are constantly worrying about injuring themselves!


I am not saying that we should all be taking unnecessary risks with our lives or our life savings – or if we do, we should make sure we are taking all the necessary precautions to minimise any loss; I am saying that we should be prepared to climb out of our comfort zone and reach for the stars.


So ask yourself, what is the fear in your business? Perhaps it is around investing in marketing – the fear of spending money without the guarantee that it will actually increase your sales. Or perhaps it relates to investing in people – in employing or training staff who may leave or may not play the game your way. You may fear delegating tasks to other people in case they make mistakes or you lose control. Or perhaps you are reluctant to ask the bank for money to help you expand the business as you fear being in debt. These sorts of fears are very common and can stand in the way of the success of your business.


>A solution to overcoming this blockage is to make two lists – one of the fears that you have, because by identifying them you can do something about them, and one of the benefits and positive effects that the proposed changes will have on your business.You can then discuss these lists with somebody outside of the business who is impartial and will be able to challenge your fears and coach you to the best decision.


In her well-known book, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway,’ Susan Jeffers introduces a different approach, the ‘no-lose model’ for making decisions. In this process you look at the positive experiences that could arise both from making the change and also from staying as you are. In this way you have two paths you can choose to follow, both of which are ‘right’; both have opportunities for growth and learning along the way, regardless of the final outcome. Using this approach, no decision is wrong. This does require us to think of outcomes and opportunities in a different way but is great for diminishing our fears in all aspects of our lives.


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