Does fear of failure hold you back too? A lot of us cringe at the thought of failure and avoid it at almost any cost. Causing us to run the risk of having regrets and not following our dreams. Fear of failure is one of the things that keeps us stuck, that keeps us small, that keeps us from enjoying the dance of joy. In the process of avoiding the unpleasant feelings that typically surround failure, we rob ourselves of the pleasant feeling of joy. The sweet taste of success, of accomplishment, of courage, of celebration.
Here's the problem, we think that it's bad if we fail, that it's embarrassing. Failure makes us feel vulnerable like somehow we weren't good enough, smart enough, wise enough, that we wasted time and/or money, that we took an unnecessary or even stupid risk. We often don't look at it as a learning or growing opportunity and we may not view it as courageous.
I work hard to keep in mind my belief that I am here in this lifetime to grow and learn. How can I grow and learn if I don't stretch myself, try new things, explore and take some risks? I also keep in mind my belief in curiosity, viewing things as an experiment, staying light-hearted and playful. We tend to get so serious about things, I don't believe that we are meant to be so serious and to play things so safe, or to judge our so called "failures" as bad. Instead, I work hard to pay attention and listen to my intuition and to let that guide me in my choices.
We often hear that failure builds character. Failure helps us to build character traits of compassion, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, courage, wisdom, vulnerability, patience and determination. All of these traits are hard to embody until we have experienced them first hand.
As a parent, it can be hard to not try and keep our kids from failing at things in life. It's a natural instinct almost to shelter them and protect them and steer them away from failure.
I was recently watching an interview done by Marie Forleo of Abby Wambach, an American retired soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion and a recent author. During the interview, Abby said, "As a parent, what do we want our kids to be? Wise, brave and kind. Failure makes you wise, brave and kind. We need to recognize that failure is not going to kill us, it will send us on a different path, a different trajectory. Failures are an opportunity to reflect, to reassess, and to begin again and again and again."
Spiritual teacher Wayne Dyer said, "Everything is either an an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose." Fear of failure robs us from experiencing our best life. Every moment of every day we get to choose, we get to make a choice as to whether we're going to grow or remain the same. I invite you to set aside your fear of failure, and instead flirt with failure in order to dance with joy.