We all have fears in our lives. Fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of death to name but a few of the most common.
The issue is not how to avoid fear but rather, how to face it down. How to stare our fears in the face and know it will be okay, and thus disarm them right there and then.
Let’s focus on just one of those fears – the fear of failure.
My very first job in sales was in a very high-performing office in central London, selling financial services. One of the rising stars was a guy called Steve. During one of the daily motivational meetings we would have, to get everyone pumped up and ready for some serious selling, he confessed to having to deal with a fear of failure. I couldn’t relate to this at all.
It wasn’t about arrogance or over-confidence. I just didn’t even think like that. But then I was only twenty-two years old at the time.
I hadn’t even begun to live – let alone experience much failure, that in turn can lead to a fear, even expectation of yet more failure.
Since then, I have failed often. Usually in areas where I was not adequately equipped – both in terms of experience and training.
But then here’s the thing. Learning from failure is a whole lot different to being paralysed by a fear of failure.
There are banks in California who will not even grant you a meeting to discuss a possible loan if you haven’t already failed at least once in business.
What is that about? It’s called “failing forward” and it is all about that defining feature of our lives called attitude. Our attitude towards anything but especially failure is what truly separates people on this earth.
There are countless quotes that start like this “There are two types of people in the world…”
Well, here’s my very own contribution: “There are two types of people in the world; those who have failed and fallen, and those who have failed and risen.”
I love likening life to a journey but the truth is for many of us, it is also a battle. And people get wounded in battles. They get shot at. They lose friends. They lose territory. They lose faith. Worst of all, they lose hope.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because unlike a physical, military operation, the battles that buffet us in life are largely focussed on our attitude, not our bodies.
I’m not a massive fan of so-called ‘positive-thinking gurus’ but the fact is, they do have a point. If we journey through life with a largely positive attitude, then the likelihood is that positive things will eventually manifest in one way or the other. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff we need to do also of course but in the main, you will find that the happiest, and many of the most successful people in the world are people who have learned to cultivate a positive attitude.
So, here’s the takeaway:
What one situation in your life are you feeling the most positive about and why?
What one situation in your life are you feeling the most negative about and why?