Failure. Such an ugly word.
No one wants to fail. No one wants to be a failure.
This is what we fear. We are so afraid that we won’t succeed. That we’ll look back on our life and say “I failed.”
What could be worse? What could be worse than wasting your one chance at life? And so, this fear grows. It plants roots in our soul like a weed that feeds off of doubt. Our hope, our dreams, our very beliefs are choked to death by one thing:
Fear of failure.
If we try, we might fail. The greater the goal, the greater the chance for failure. So we sit back. We take it easy. We only do the things we absolutely know we can do.
The irony is, by avoiding failure, we end up failing.
The Fear Behind the Smile
As I’ve said before, I recently started a new job. A job that actually uses the skills I developed in college. A job that I’m not embarrassed to tell people about. And it’s funny, because as excited as I was about getting the job, I was scared to death about starting it.
For the first time in my life, I wondered if I was good enough for the job I had been hired to do. I was afraid.
Afraid of failing.
And truth is, there was a part of me that didn’t want to go in my first day. A part that kept saying it wasn’t going to work out. That I should just stay where I was at.
I wondered why I was so afraid.
Here was a chance to prove myself, to show I wasn’t a failure, and I was scared to take it. Even as I celebrated personal victory, I had this doubt in the back of my mind.
I had gained something which meant I now had something to lose.
The Turning Point
When you have nothing to lose, there’s little reason to be afraid. A person who is losing doesn’t worry about losing. They’re already doing that.
I realized I was afraid of failing because I was no longer failing. The stakes had been raised. There was something on the line. My performance mattered. My decisions mattered.
What Always Remains
If I’m going to be honest (and I try so hard to be), I’m still afraid of failing. It’s been almost a month on the job, and there’s a tiny part of me that still wonders if I’m going to blow it. I don’t know if it’s a feeling that ever stops.
The most famous of performers still get nervous before they go on stage. Lawyers get worked up before a big court date. A writer gets anxious when someone starts reading something he wrote.
But it’s not necessarily a bad things.
Like the parent who constantly thinks and worries about their child, they do so because their child means something to them. This job means a lot to me. I don’t want to mess it up. I don’t want to fail.
And if I give it EVERYTHING I have, then I won’t. Even if it doesn’t work out, and I go on to a different job, there is only one way I can fail:
If I stop.
If I give up.
With all of this I’ve realized maybe failure isn’t based on whether or not things go according to your plan. Things rarely go how you plan them anyway. Maybe failure is based solely on effort.
Either you did, or you didn’t.
In your life right now, are you succeeding? Or failing? Do you feel that fear? Is there something at stake? Is there a chance that maybe you can’t do whatever it is you’re doing?
If so, good. Keep going. In the end, even if it doesn’t work out like you thought, you will have succeeded.
(If you like this, share this)