“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J. K. Rowling
I have lived 2015 with the motto of “living without fear” and I have failed. Yes, I have conquered some fears along the way up to and including facing my fear of heights (or falling) by walking around the outside of the tallest building in North America (CN Tower Edgewalk). I have even slightly pushed my limits a bit in terms of facing some social situations by sharing to the world my deepest secret. I realize that nobody can live without all fear. Fear is an emotion and it is natural. You cannot live completely void of fear unless you have an underlying mental illness. That being said, we can control our fears; and that is where I have failed.
After a conversation with a mentor of mine, I was reminded that my biggest fear in life is a fear of failure. Next to it, and somewhat similar, is the fear of shame. I have always spent my days avoiding possibilities to push the boundaries in life in fear that they could come crashing down on top of me. I have always had great ideas (at least to me) but I would always dismiss them before I would ever share or act upon them. I would meticulously calculate all of the scenarios of failure and if there was any degree of risk, I would back down. I could simply not gamble. The fear of failure and the shame attached to it was too great.
When you are plunged into a lifetime of vanilla living -always choosing to be safe- you tend to blend into the landscape. To some, that is perfectly fine. To me, I detest it. While my inner self wants to stand out as a great leader, great teacher and great inspiration; my outer self (fear) will not allow me to take the necessary steps to get there. Sometimes those necessary steps are failure. In order to be on top, you must know what the bottom feels like. Well, I have lived a life of being stuck somewhere in the middle.
So, how can I get over this? I need to work at failing. Sounds counter productive if you ask me. But it is true. My energy must be spent executing my ideas instead of sending them off to be executed with thoughts that I may fail. I need to stop listening to that little voice of reason and step out onto the battle arena of the unknown. If I fail, then great. I really haven’t. But damnit! I may succeed! How will I ever know what success is? if I don’t make friends with failure. Fearing failure is a life sucking exercise. I need to fail, now.
1,068 / 1,000 KMs walked | 48 / 50 blog posts | 17 / 10 books read
2 thoughts on “Executing Failure”
I remember walking in New York with a European co-worker. He said that he loved the US because failing didn’t stick with us in the US like it did in his country. I don’t think that is quite right. In some of the other countries I worked with, a failure can follow your reputation. In the US, failure can follow your self worth . . . . . but only if you let it.
Failure only sticks when you stop trying. Nobody ever remembers failures once you finally succeed.