Overcoming failure and/or the fear of failure is crucial for success. For many highly successful men and women who have accomplished great things in life, failure was merely a stepping-stone to achieving greatness. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Laura Silva, JK Rowling and men like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Jose Silva, to name only a few, have each had their share of so called failure before achieving a major breakthrough in their work.
Numerous studies in places like the Harvard Business review, find that the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform. Keeping this in mind, it is safe to say that the way we manage so-called failure will also profoundly influence our level of achievement.
The 3 things we are going to cover in this article are:
Point #1 – First, we want to redefine failure and shift our point of view to a more supportive perspective.
Point #2 – Then we want to explore some of the causes of this fear.
Point #3 – I’ll offer you some tips to transform failure into an opportunity to grow and transform the fear into hope.
When you start seeing the benefits of How to Overcome Failure and/or the resulting Fear,
You will build strength of character and focus.
You will find more ways of being creative and sharpen your problem solving skills.
You will enjoy an opportunity to redefine your goals or set upon a new path, if necessary.
You will build flexibility and open mindedness.
You will increase self-confidence and self-worth.
So, stay with me so that you get what you need to have the happy life you want.
Point #1 – First, we want to redefine failure and shift our point of view to a more supportive perspective. We have all come to recognize failure to be the disguise of a great teacher and a necessary step to achieve greatness, make a difference, and enhance performance.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers identifies what he calls the “10,000 Hour Rule”. He gives numerous examples to support his supposition that it is only after 10,000 hours (+ or -) that one will achieve a high level of Mastery. Gladwell cites Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and their early days in the Greater Seattle area logging in thousands of hours honing their programming skills on the University’s computer at a time when computers were not easily accessible to most people. He also reminds us of the Beatles in their early days in Liverpool clubs playing night and day to small audiences.
I can remember my early days as a Silva instructor. I was full of passion to make a difference and change the world (I still am) and yet I lacked the business skills necessary to support my Vision. I cannot even remember how many mistakes – so-called failures I made. I nearly bankrupted myself. I found myself loading trucks for UPS from 4AM to 9AM and then working as a waiter in a restaurant from 11AM to 10PM just to pay the bills and subsidize my passion for Silva. It was not fun.
I eventually came to realize that I was getting closer and closer to become a full time, top producing, prospering Silva Instructor. I feel very blessed and appreciative for this accomplishment.
Walt Disney was once fired as a newspaper editor because “he wasn’t creative”. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times and finally accepted by the same publisher who had told her to get a day job.
The lesson here is that we are in a constant state of flux, strategizing, implementing and making adjustments along the way. It is much easier to make corrections once we have some momentum. It is inevitable to make mistakes along the way. No body is 100%. It is not a problem to fail. It is, however tragic to not learn the lessons from the mistakes or so called failures.
And as Lao Tzu once said,
“Failure is the foundation of success, and the means by which it is achieved.”
Point #2 – Now let’s explore some of the causes of this fear.
There are many factors that cause the fear of failure and make it difficult to overcome failure. I would suggest that when we have unrealistic expectations and strive for Perfection, we are doomed to experience shame based, toxic emotions of shame, and guilt resulting in us feeling less than deserving of success. This lends to low Self-Esteem and greatly weakens the Attractor Factor to create the life of our design. The net result is procrastination and thinking small.
It is important to remember that no one is perfect and there is no such thing as perfect. We are just not wired for perfection. Science teaches us that even the universe is continually changing, correcting and growing. Psychiatrists and Psychologists offices are overcrowded with people suffering from guilt and shame due to the unrealistic expectation of Perfection. Business and production stalls as a result of the inevitable reaction of small mindedness and procrastination due to the fear of failure when people get stuck in this trap of Perfection.
You may remember the classic book – Psycho-cybernetics from DR. Maxwell Maltz- where he speaks of his patients spending thousands of dollars for cosmetic surgery only to still feel bad about themselves. He cites numerous experiments demonstrating that self-esteem and self-image are an inside game of mental effort. Which leads us to the third point I want to address with you – the How To heal this misconception.
Point #3 – How to transform failure into an opportunity to grow and transform the fear into hope.
First, you’ll want to shift your perspective and acknowledge right here and now that S……(Stuff) happens. Even the most fortunate of men and women experience occasional setbacks, so-called failures. Some of these life events are NOT within our control and surprisingly many are. The one thing that you and I have absolute control of is our viewpoint and interpretation of life’s events. Psychologists call this the “Point of Power”. So reframe your attitude about failure.
How? The Second step – embrace the fact that you are not perfect and are bound to make some errors along life’s journey. It is not personal and when the s….hits the fan, it is feedback that you need to evaluate, assess the situation and make a change in your approach.
Third: Celebrate and appreciate the failure! That’s right you heard me correctly. Keep affirming that with each and every mistake, you are one step closer to realizing your goal. Express gratitude for the feedback and learn from it.
Fourth: Remember that no one does it alone. Seek help, advise, support, training and maybe even take someone you admire who is achieving big time, to lunch. We become just like the people we spend most of our time with. So be more selective of who and where you spend your time. It is called modeling and is a very powerful tool that even neuro-science will verify.
And most importantly, Believe in yourself. I know, everybody tells us to believe.
Well it is true and the surest way to build your belief in yourself is to begin with small, tangible goals and then celebrate and appreciate the small success.
These small baby steps will lead to even grander accomplishments. This action will strengthen your Courage Muscle. You do this by planning, strategizing, research, hire a coach, and attend a live seminar with like-minded people.
I also want you to look in the mirror and affirm…”I love and accept myself, just the way I am and I choose to get better.” Another powerful affirmation is… “I deserve to succeed.” I also want you to integrate this into your daily dynamic meditation practice, like you learned in Silva Seminars. Add the visual component to these affirmations by creatively visualizing yourself making constant progress and future pace it. That is imagine your life vision continually expanding, as the weeks, months and years pass.
In closing, remember the words…”Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
Make a commitment to yourself right here and now that you deserve to succeed. Failure is not an option. Perhaps, you remember Jerry C. Bostick, the NASA flight controller who prevented a disaster when he reportedly stated during the Apollo 13 damaged mission that Failure is not an option. Let’s bring them back to earth!