I’m a pretty adventurous person. I like to explore and get myself into bizarre situations. (One time my mom and I came within about 1/4 mile of Lebanon via a bus full of Israeli soldiers and had to hitchhike our way back to Tel Aviv, speaking broken Spanish to someone who also only spoke broken Spanish…)
See what I mean? Weird.
I love it, though. Seriously, I love it. I don’t regret that moment for a second. Or any other bizarrely amazing moment. And there have been plenty.
I am realizing, though, that I am terrified of failure. I know I shouldn’t be. I’ve got enough of a coaching spirit to know that if you fail you have two options: let it defeat you, or learn from it. I could have been terrified enough to never find my way back to Tel Aviv. Instead, I learned that my Spanish is better than I give myself credit for and that I am very capable of maneuvering my way through unfamiliar territory.
The thing is, though, I’m not really great at failing. I hate losing board games. Failure. I hate losing fantasy football. Failure. I hate getting 99 out of 100 on an assignment. Failure.
I’m smart enough to learn from failure, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying. The possibility of failure is as bad as the anticipation of acupuncture needles. Completely real, yet completely unnecessary.
Why is failure so scary? Why is it so dreadful?
I think it’s perfectionism. The need to be perfect and successful and live a life worthy of a highlight reel is enough to cause awful anticipation in the face of potential failure. The fact that the possibility of failure can haunt my dreams tells me I’ve got to change my relationship with failure immediately. I’ve got to get over it. I need to accept the fear of failure exists, then kick it to the curb and change the locks on my door.
There is a hymn called “God Speed The Right” that contains a beautiful lyric: If we fail we fail with glory. I think that needs to become my mantra. Perhaps if I tell myself that line enough times I’ll stop being afraid of failure.
I had an orchestra teacher say one time “If you make a mistake, make it in the grande style!”
Fail with glory.
Because, just as in all things, there is balance. If the possibility of failure exists, guess what?
The possibility of success is just as strong.
Which possibility do you want to pursue? Failure? Or success.
Failure is only one direction. Success, knowledge, power, inspiration, and information are found on the other side of the compass.
Have the courage to turn around.