Fear of failure is something that I struggle with. Who wants to fail, right? But I “fail” all the time. I wrote a little snippet on failure last week on Facebook. I admitted that if you looked at my life, you would see that I “fail” a lot. I make recipes that bomb, I get stuck in Negative Ville and can’t create a Dose of Positivity, I release a program that requires changes because it was missing something, or I try Facebook Live chat for the first time and ramble on and on because I was so excited and totally missed the point I was trying to make. Or, sometimes I try something new for the first time and I bomb.
Here was I have learned. None of those things are really failure. They are all learning opportunities. They are a slight detour that leads me to the right direction.
I want you to remember this the next time you think you fail: F.A.I.L. can be described as a First Attempt In Learning. If you keep trying, you will keep learning and eventually you will get to exactly where you want to go. Some of us have this mindset (limiting belief) that if we are not sure if we are going to succeed, or do something perfect the first time, we shouldn’t even bother trying. I truly believe we need to shift our perspective on this because I believe that you can only fail if you refuse to do nothing and not even try.
You don’t always have to feel confident to do something for the first time. Actually, most of us don’t. I write about this in my upcoming book Out Of The Darkness, Into The Light. Confidence is gained by getting through the firsts. In everything that you do, there is always a first time. Your first breath, cry, laugh, crawl, walk, run, date, kiss, love, job, boyfriend, heartache, change, home – life is all about firsts. First Attempt In Learning. You don’t give up trying to walk because you fell down. You don’t stop kissing because your first kiss was a slobbery mess. You don’t stop dating after your first boyfriend. You keep trying. You keep putting yourself out there, practicing, and never giving up until you get it right – until it feels good.
Thomas Edison was the best example of this when it came to trying and never giving up. When he was inventing the first light bulb, he failed over and over and over again. Did he give up? No. He said, “I didn’t fail one thousand times. The light bulb was an invention with one thousand steps.” Every step was a lesson, not a failure. Those lessons are what got him closer to the results that he wanted. Now can you imagine if he had let the fear of failure keep him in the darkness? Yes, that pun was absolutely intended.
Thomas Edison wasn’t the only famous “failure” that never gave up.
*Einstein was declared, “mentally slow” and was expelled from school.
*Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
*Bill Gates first business failed.
*12 publishers rejected J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book.
*Walt Disney was told that he had no imagination when he worked at a newspaper he got fired from.
*Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit” for television.
*Century Fox dropped Marilyn Munroe telling her that she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to ever become famous.
*242 banks said no to Howard Schultz looking to fund his dream of opening a Starbucks.
*Vera Wang failed to make the 1968 Olympics figure skating team, which led her to create a successful career at Vogue. She was only 23!
*Arianna Huffington, who worked in the publishing world, had her second book rejected by 36 publishers. She is now the author of thirteen successful books.
*Jerry Seinfield froze the first time he went on stage and completely bombed.
*Harrison Ford was told that he didn’t have what it takes during his first film.
I give you these examples because these completely different people had one thing in common, persistence. They could have let the fear of continued failure to hold them back, but instead, they learned, persevered and never gave up on their dreams. Fear was not their decision maker!
So my question to you is this: where in your life are you allowing the fear of failing to keep you from doing what you desire to do?
My second question is this: what can you do today to look that fear in the face and give it a big F-You?
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl