There is a popular aphorism that goes something like this:
– “What if I fall?”
– “Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
Of course, this is what we want to hear. It’s lovely to see it in posters or cards, on beautifully-designed images on our Facebook or Twitter news feeds. It feels good to read it and be reminded of all the possibilities we might never ever know, unless we go for it.
What If You Fail?
Sometimes you will go for the job, and you won’t get it. You will volunteer for a project, and you’ll get turned down. You will put something out there, and it will be panned or at least, not get the reception you were hoping to get.
I have been more acutely aware of this reality when I jumped into the world of entrepreneurship. Never before have I been so fearful, paralyzed at times, of failure. Scared of missing people’s expectations. Scared of missing mine.
I don’t remember being this afraid when I was younger. It makes me think that although fear is age-agnostic, perhaps it becomes more acute as we get older.
There is the quiet perception that there is more to lose as we progress in our lives. There is the reputation to protect, the identity that we have already formed of ourselves (and others have formed about us) to maintain.
I have no prescription to offer against this other than to say we learn from every experience – the good and the bad.
The failed project, the hand-up that was rejected, the turned down job application, the written word that nobody read, the panned idea, the embarrassing presentation, the rejected proposal – these are all learning experiences.
We grow the most following our failures.
We learn about ourselves. What we may be lacking, what we can do to improve our chances the next time, how we can present ourselves and our ideas better to reach the people we want to reach.
Most of all, we learn about what we are capable of. What we can produce and the ideas that we can give birth to. Our potential. Our team’s potential.
We can only learn all these when we step forward, away from the comfortable spot and toward something that challenges us fully and sufficiently.
Isn’t it worth it, regardless of the possibility of falling?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lou Blaser is the founder of Second Breaks, a company dedicated to the pursuit of rewarding and fulfilling career.
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