How often have you found yourself scared to start something for fear of failing? Or beaten yourself up when things haven’t turned out as you had hoped? Fear of failure can be a massive obstacle for so many of us when making decisions, trying something new, or perhaps looking for a new career path.
When growing up, I was very aware of my dad’s huge success in business and his ‘failure is not an option’ mantra. By his own admission, his biggest fear in life was ‘failing’ which propelled him with his business success but also created a very stressed and ‘sweat the small stuff’ kind of man. I believe this instilled fear can come from ‘over critical’ parents or having too much pressure put on us at a young age, making us feel we have something to prove. It is a difficult thing to let go of and the more important something is to us, the greater the fear; but with the right mindset, it is possible.
Another famous quote comes from Soichiro Honda who said, “Success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents 1 per cent of your work which results only from the 99 percent that is called failure.”
So, knowing this, in my opinion, makes it easier to be a little less ‘stressed out’ and far kinder to ourselves. In true Cadbury’s Caramel style ‘take it easy’ and accept that failure is both an inevitable and beneficial step towards any accomplishment; we simply won’t learn and improve if we have nothing to learn and improve from. And there lies the key… to embrace and learn from the lessons it teaches us. If we fail in our relationships (I have a few ex-husbands to my name!), weight loss endeavours (no comment here!), career, or any other area of our life there are always lessons we can discover about ourselves and ways that we can improve the next time. Even when the failure appears to be due to someone else or ‘out of our hands,’ we can still look to see what lessons it teaches us… tolerance, strength or ability to forgive perhaps.
In my experience, many women who have joined my team over the last 5 years have said ‘no’ to trying new things or resisted setting a new goal, as they believe they ‘lack confidence.’ I have constantly come up against these confidence issues which I believe are often mistaken for an overwhelming fear of failure. For example, an ambassador may say ‘I don’t have the confidence to do a pamper party’ when the reality is they are scared to ask someone to host a party for fear of that person saying ‘no’. It is this fear of failure/rejection that holds them back. Another example is when someone doesn’t want to ‘go for an incentive’ in case they don’t achieve it, believing this will embarrass them in some way. But when we look at how to reshape these thoughts; to question ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ They then decide to go for it, and strive for what they really want. It has been so rewarding to watch many ladies in my team grow their business and find new levels of success instead of being held back by fear.
But what are the real benefits in our daily lives? … well, when we let go of ‘thinking of failure’ amazing things start to happen and life gets so much richer: we embrace opportunity when it comes our way, we do that thing we’ve always wanted to do but never dared try before… in essence, we really start ‘living’. Dare I say we find that little something ‘extra’ as we go about our ‘ordinary’ lives.
So, next time you hold back, ask yourself why? What’s the worse that can happen? Face your fear of failure head-on, no matter how big or how small, and do that thing just outside of your comfort zone; the more we learn to fail the sooner we will achieve amazing things and feel great. Start small, test the water… but do something no matter how small that scares you – if not every day, then every week! Remember, If you do fail…use it as an opportunity for growth and a tool for improvement. Failure is a positive part of the process.