27 Jul Is fear of failure the monster in your closet?
”If you want more success, you’re going to have to be willing to live with more failures. Failure is the flip side of success, and you can’t have one without the other.” – Tina Seelig
This quote sums up the most striking lesson I learned from the inspiring, Tina Seelig. How do you deal with setbacks? Is failure, the end, or just the beginning of growth? Let me digress a little bit here.
Think back to when you were a child. Did you ever ask your parents to check under the bed for you at night, or in the closet, or behind a dresser? Maybe you never asked, but you always remembered to close your closet before the lights went out, and you never left any part of your body out of the covers. As we get older, we grow out of these irrational fears of night monsters and ghosts, and we learn to fear more concrete menaces. Or do we?
It seems to me that, as entrepreneurs, our fear of failure is our night-time monster. Every otherwise steel-couraged entrepreneur has faced this anxiety before. And on first glance, it is a completely rational thing to fear, especially when you have so much of your capital, faith, and soul tied up in a project. But don’t let it stop you from doing what you have to do because failure is not the end.
Part of striving for excellence is learning to put yourself out there, understanding that you may get burned, but accepting that and moving on. Do you think you can make gains without any risks? If you do, the entrepreneurial lifestyle may not be for you. Because this lifestyle will never be cushy and quiet. And if it were, would it be so much fun? So exhilarating?
There will be setbacks. There will be times when you will consider pitching the whole thing in the wastebasket and trying to forget it ever happened. It’s okay. I won’t say it will be great, but try to think how it might be “good”. Good in a way that maybe you will experience failure and realize that it’s not as bad as you thought, and next time you won’t hold yourself back from tackling the big challenges. Then you can pick yourself up and start again with a new perspective. Or maybe it won’t be good, and you really will give up on being an entrepreneur. But even then, you took a risk and you attempted to do something out of the ordinary and follow your dreams. That’s the worst-case scenario, that you attempted to follow your dreams. Think about that for a second.
Failure is not the end, and it is no more life-threatening than the creature you thought lurked in the closet. So take a leap of faith, listen to the (constructive) advice you are given, and accept the help that is offered. Trust the process and work hard, and fear of failure can’t hold you back.