To be afraid of failing is something everyone experiences. It seems that I am especially experienced at being afraid of failing. Being afraid of failing can keep you from taking action.
So you may just fail and of course you might succeed. If you fail, so what? Every successful person (name any successful person you know) has failed and failed strong on their way to success. What makes them a success is their full acceptance that failure is part of the process.
My high school band teacher encouraged failure. He would state he expected to not hear any quiet mistakes. He would say “if you play the wrong note, play it loud.” This ultimately allowed the band to have the full confident sound. The more we practiced the fewer mistakes we made and when it came time to perform, we were confident.
I recently read an unfortunate article about Steve Perry, the former lead singer of the 80’s rock band Journey. Steve is known in the rock & roll industry as “the voice”. His die-hard fans clamor for anything he sings. However, Steve has said that he is not too motivated to release new music even with his reportedly arsenal of new songs waiting to be recorded. His reason comes down to his fear of failure (compared to his huge success with his former band and solo career).
You may know that in addition to speaking and writing, a large part of my work is as an executive coach. If I were coaching Steve, I would ask him, “so what? So what if you fail to release a successful song.” There are plenty of examples of rock & roll failures that didn’t stop them from being successful.
Elton John, for example, wouldn’t be considered a failure but he has had plenty of released songs in recent times that were “failures”. Flipping through channels a few days ago, I came across a DreamWorks movie on TV (not Lion King) featuring Elton John singing the majority of the songs in the movie The Road to El Dorado. Have you ever heard a song from this movie on the radio? I had never heard these songs before and quite frankly I didn’t really like them, but would if keep me from buying future music from him or going to see him in concert? . . . heck no!
“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward.”
- Thomas Edison
Does Steve really think his supporters will abandon him if he fails? Do you think your supporters will abandon you if you fail? I argue that supporters abandon people quicker for not doing anything than they do for failure.
Doing nothing because of fear of failure is to keep people from the great things you will create. If you fail, pick yourself back up start over in a different way. You are now wiser for your failure and closer to the success you deserve to have.
Come on Steve. Record a new song!
What are you afraid of doing that you might fail at doing?
When have you pushed past a failure to bring you closer to success?