You know what’s absolutely terrifying? Getting close to something we know will shake our worlds and radically transform us. These types of changes are so freakin’ scary. They mean work, risk, the opportunity for failure are on the horizon. Let’s say your dreams are dangling right in front of you, what do you do? Do you self-sabotage because you’re terrified to dare be as successful as you dream? Do you let fear stand between you and the success you know you’re capable of? What would happen if you did succeed? Who would you leave behind in the process? Are you afraid you’d be rejected by people you love? Or do you just sit around psyching yourself out with “what if I fail? What if I can’t do it?”.
Before we dive into the inner workings of your mind and your fear of failure, let’s touch on something else. If you feel that someone in your life is holding you back from achieving your dreams, get rid of them. I know that’s harsh, but no one is worth sacrificing your destiny for. As long as your dreams don’t involve harm to yourself or to others, anyone who truly loves you and wants the best for you will want to support you in the pursuit of your goals. If someone is going to put you down and not support the betterment of your life, they don’t deserve to have you around.
Now that we got that out of the way, so what if you fail? What would happen? What does failing really mean anyway? Failing doesn’t equal failure. To fail is to do something (a verb), a failure (a noun) is to be something. One you’re actively participating in and you have options to make things better, the other you’re accepting defeat. See the difference? I just looked up the word “failure” and the most closely related words are “breakdown, collapse, and defeat”. Failing at something does not mean you’re broken or defeated. Quitting, on the other hand, makes you a failure. Holding yourself back from doing what you love because you’re afraid of failing makes your a failure. Keeping your gifts hidden from the world because you’re afraid of not getting it right the first time makes you a failure. Your gifts are not meant for you, your gifts are meant for the world. If you allowed yourself, whose life could you change? Who could you inspire? What impact could you have?
Nothing great ever came easy and failing is a part of all of our journeys. It’s literally the process of learning, there’s no getting great at anything without it. How did we all become so afraid of the thing that makes us grow? How did the thing that ultimately leads to success become so horrifying? Failing doesn’t define you or your abilities. Your persistence, resiliency, and drive to continue forward are what define your success. It’s time to get out of your own way and start to pave the path that leads to your goals. You’re the only one holding yourself back from achieving anything.
I’ll part ways with some great quotes about failure.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” – John Green
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley