#3 – You don’t need to fail to be successful.

fear of failure

Is failing a necessary path to success? Do you have a fear of failure? There are many quotes about experiencing failure as part of success, some using images of great former athletes such as Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky.

The problem is, the quotes in isolation can be misleading. Sure, persistence is necessary for success as we will experience many hurdles at anything we do and will experience failure of some degree.

It becomes misleading when failure is quoted as the path to success. Failure is a result and an experience all of its own, it doesn’t guarantee success and these quotes repeatedly rephrased and spouted by some inspirational speakers, are the reason many continue working at a goal long after it is no longer working.

What we need is rethinking failure as a path to success and thinking about how to deal with failure and recognise the difference between the dip and when to quit. We have to start by defining what failure means for us so we know if we are succeeding.

Define failure by defining success

Before we start any project, we should define what failure and success look like. We write down goals or create vision boards always focused on success.

This makes sense as positivity is important but we have to define how we will measure it and the steps to achieve it. By writing this down we are also defining failure without the negativity.

Drew and I discuss failure on the Dads Like Us podcast, it is a pertinent subject for us because we forgot the basic advice we already know, we started the podcast without defining success (we make many mistakes, as is admitted regularly on the podcast).

Even at the time of writing this blog, we are yet to define success and although we have no idea if this show will work, it is important we know that measure of success and failure. Whether it is number of listeners or number of visitors to the site dadspodcast.com

Defining what success is, makes it possible to quickly make small changes to avoid big failures in anything we all do. We can easily see what is failing without getting disheartened or discouraged. This does need us to  be realistic about both are goals, possible achievements and how much time we have to allocate it.

Learn from others mistakes

One of the shortcuts to avoiding failure is learning from others’ successes (and their mistakes). Experience and the act of doing things ourselves carries a lot of value, we can’t live vicariously through others or imitate them to guarantee success, however, there are benefits in learning from those who went before us.

A wise person learns from others mistakes.

One of these benefits is we can see where things went wrong and avoid some of the same actions.

If the goal is to learn a language, say Spanish, using YouTube videos or a Rosetta Stone CD we know it requires a high level of commitment. From others who have failed, we know without the opportunity to practice with anyone makes is extremely difficult to master the language. However, many have shown living in a country, say Spain or South America will increase success exponentially.

Although the above is a simple example, we can apply the logic to so many things we do. The only caveat here is not using the excuse of learning from others to procrastinate or avoid trying because deep down we are scared of failing.

Own the failures, don’t fear the failure

Success isn’t guaranteed, in-fact, starting and finishing are the only guarantees in anything we do. When we do fail (it will happen), it comes down to owning the failures, not hiding from them like they are an embarrassment. Fortunately, failure isn’t viewed as a negative as it was a couple of decades ago, nor does it carry the shame it once did. This changing mindset of embracing failure makes it easier to bounce back and absorb the lessons it brings to move forward.

This rewiring of our thought process means we stop holding back from chasing our goals, following our dreams and ultimately changing our lives. We can fail, and succeed and then fail again. Ultimately we must own our failures and successes no matter the size, after all, we achieved them both and can learn from them equally.


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