Are You Scared Of Failure?
Do you think failure is bad – and should be avoided always?
Maybe you intend to learn a new language, how to play music, lose weight, quit drinking, or build a business…
You can’t do any of those things without failing. Nothing worth doing is going to be achievable on the first try, or third, or…
However, by the time most of us reach our 20’s, we’ve become very failure averse.
What got me thinking about this was a discussion with someone who wants to quit drinking. He has a clear vision of how his life could be if he didn’t have alcohol in it.
However, he has so far been unwilling to take action to get that life because of his fear of trying and failing. It was pretty sad because he’s got most of the ingredients for success. But his view of failure is keeping him from getting the life he wants.
The word ‘failure’ is actually very broad with multiple shades of meaning. It can mean:
- attempting and not achieving the desired result on the specific attempt
- not making enough attempts – quitting too soon
- making attempts, not achieving the desired result, and never quitting – not knowing when to give up
- not making any attempts
- it can be applied to an attempt or a process, or a person. We can say that the attempt was a failure, or we can say that the person attempting is a failure
Out of all of these possible definitions of failure, my prospective client thinks about the situation like this:
If I attempt to quit and don’t succeed on the first try, I will become a failure.
How To Make Failure Work For You
I want to propose a different way to think about the situation:
I will make many efforts to quit, and with each effort that doesn’t succeed, I will learn something about myself that will make the next effort more likely to succeed. I will keep making efforts, and learning until I eventually succeed. My individual attempts will fail, until finally they don’t, but I am not a failure.
This example actually sums up what I do as a life coach. I help people think about things differently so that they are empowered to keep taking action until they get what they want.
And I teach them specific powerful tools that help them learn from their efforts and enable them to better manage the emotional discomfort they experience along the way.
Now answer the questions below:
How are you thinking about failure?
How could you choose to think about failure, so that you could move forward? What life could you have if you were to get moving?