We live in a culture where failure is seen as a bad thing. That is it something to run away from. But as you know all too well; failure is the pathway to success.
So many people live completely paralysed by fear of failure that they don’t even make the attempt. And that my friends, is the true definition of failure. Failure to attempt.
The path to success is going to be filled with setbacks and challenges, but they aren’t failures. If we see them as a challenge, something to overcome, something to reconsider, then we will be better equipped fo
r the success that will inevitably come from continuing on the journey.
I am reminded of a conversation that I have had with one of my sisters a few times. But on this particular day we were in a car on a long drive and we were chatting about what she wanted to do with her life. If she could do anything…what would it be? And the fear of failure came up. But what if it doesn’t work out? What if something fails? What if I am not good enough? So many what ifs.
On the other side of that you can ask yourself: What if I don’t try…is this all there is? Will I be happy doing something else?
And she asked me, ‘how do you keep getting back up when something goes wrong?’ And my answer is always the same…’I have no choice.’ Believe me, I have had my fair share of failed attempts at something. But I also have a vision for my life that no one can take away. The moment you say, ‘it’s too hard’, well then you deserve to be a failure. I mean no offence, but it’s true. It is the moments when you are down that determine the shape of your life, the quality of your life. If there is no failure, how can you know success? Just like light comes from darkness, success comes from the failures that have come before it.
So many of my friends have amazing ideas that they would like to get off the ground. But many of them are either crippled by the fear of failure, or so concerned with what others think, that they never make the attempt. Others simply find
the idea of the workload to overwhelming – and that’s ok to! Not everyone is cut out to run their own business.
But this isn’t referring to just business. I am referring to relationships, health, work, spirituality… everything.
What if the next relationship, business idea, blog post, product, weight loss program (there are better ways, but you get the idea!) was the one where you find the ultimate success? Would you be willing to settle or walk away from your dreams out of fear? Are you willing to live an ordinary life out of fear? Are you willing to give up?
The most successful people in the world are not there out of luck. They got there by sheer determination and hard work. Yes there are the lucky few, but they are the absolute minority. You talk to any person who is truly successful and they will tell you that it was not out of luck, it was out of hard work and the ability to rise again, day after day, week after week, year after year, until they reached their goals. And then you know what happens? They have new dreams and goals to work on. Success, in whatever context you look at it, is a never ending process.
But you can’t let your fear of failure determine your life.
So rise up, again and again if that’s what it takes, and achieve your dreams.
Don’t let someone else define you. Don’t let fear control you. Don’t let your dreams settle on the wind. Don’t let the fear of being judged stop you. Think about the people you look up to… have they let failure stop them? No.
There is a beautiful poem by Maya Angelou called Still I Rise. The theme of the poem is partly about race, slavery, oppression, but the context is to Rise. No matter what happens, rise again and again and again.
So what are you afraid of? What have you been wanting to do, but so scared to fail that you haven’t made the attempt?
If you haven’t got a list of your goals – write one up now!
If you already have it written down, look at your list and find one thing you can action right now to turn it into a reality! Do it… NOW. Make a phone call, write an email, apply for that new job. Whatever it is, do something now to put that dream into action.
Don’t let the fear of failure be the death of your dreams.
Still I Rise
BY MAYA ANGELOU
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
*Images via Shutterstock