The fear of failure in life and leadership has killed more dreams than all other fears combined. The fear of failure is deceptive because it’s largely in your imagination. It can also prevent you from even trying in the first place, which guarantees failure.
Leaders' young or old can take lessons from small children. It’s interesting that small children have no concept of fear or failure. They couldn’t care less if they fail to do something. They just try again. There are no negative thoughts or emotions involved. They just keep on going. But it doesn’t take long before children learn to fear the opinions of others. It’s usually around the time they start school. After that first day of school, we’re all changed forever.
It might not be possible for leaders young and old to go re-capture the mentality of a toddler, but they can come close. The fear of failure doesn’t have to impact your life significantly.
Consider these facts:
Failure is temporary - unless you quit. Failure isn’t final unless you give up. All the most successful people have experienced some failure. But they ended up being successful precisely because they didn’t quit. Failure is just a temporary state that means nothing, because it’s only temporary. Failure is common and so is fear. You’ve failed hundreds of times and you managed to survive. Consider how many times you failed to walk or to talk well. Babies have constant failure. Successful people fail all of the time. It’s a huge part of how human beings learn. We realize that our approach didn’t work, we adjust, and we try again.
Failure is educational, and so is fear. You can learn something new from every one of your failures. Failure makes you more knowledgeable and capable. The more you fail, the stronger you become Others are far less concerned about your failure than you think. A few people might notice your failure, but they quickly turn their attention back on themselves and their own challenges. There’s nothing to worry about. Feel free to fail as much as necessary. Fail enough and you’ll quickly see that no one relevant cares.
Failure directs you to focus. Focus on how great it will be when you succeed. Instead of worrying about possible failure, consider possible success. Make yourself feel excited and positive about taking action. With high enough expectations, you’ll do just about anything without worrying about failure.
Now ask yourself: What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing? Probably a lot more than you’re currently doing! How much has the fear of failure limited your life?
We’ve all allowed the fear of failure to influence our decisions. We’ve allowed this fear to stop us from trying new things or taking risks. We all have smaller lives than we could because we’re too concerned with what others think.
Rejecting the fear of failure is one of the greatest things a leader can do for his future and the future of the team! You can start today. Ask your What are you going to do today that you’ve been afraid to try?
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