January 24, 2017

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Fear of Failure

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.

William Shakespeare, “Measure for Measure”

Bob and Greg (the “Why Guys”) asked me to write an upbeat blog about successful entrepreneurs.

And I will, I will. But first- I want to talk about failure.

Failure–or, more accurately, the fear of failure– is probably the number one reason that each and every one of us isn’t our own boss.

“The reality is a lot of people have good ideas. But people are afraid to lose, and one of the main characteristics of practicing entrepreneurship is to be unafraid of losing. If you are afraid of losing you will never attack something. It’s good to have a risk-taking mentality. Even if I do lose I am not frightened to get up and try again.” -Sheldon Adelson, billionaire.

To most people, ‘failing’ is something irrevocable. But that idea of failure just isn’t realistic. In reality, failure is something that happens again and again.

A little girl learning to walk may “fail,” or fall, over and over again. It’s just gravity. She’s not going to walk by beating gravity, or avoiding gravity. She’s going to learn how to walk by working with gravity.

And so we must with our failures. Failure is only permanent if we give up because of it. (And most of us are walking, so that should prove something.)

Tellingly, the word failure can be traced back to the Old French word faillir, meaning to almost do something. Not to do something and fail, but to almost do something. To me, and to the countless entrepreneurs who have picked themselves out of the dirt time and time again, the idea of an “Ultimate Failure” isn’t some terrible, looming possibility. It’s a choice.

Almost a century ago, the philosopher Ernest Holmes said, “It is not a question of failing or succeeding. It is simply a question of sticking to an idea until it becomes a tangible reality.” – “The Science of Mind”

Failures, Holmes says, are the last things we should be concerned with. The only way to accomplish anything is to hold the idea in our mind until it is a reality.

It’s a sentiment that’s been echoed over and over by successful entrepreneurs.

In this day and age, with the financial crisis going on, it’s easy to get disheartened.

It’s too easy. My goal is to provide you with something else: stories and news about success. Believe it or not, there’s an awful lot of success in the world. Even now.

In the coming days, we’ll be looking at stories like Daredevil Strategies–  about a woman who went from being unable to climb a flight of stairs, to climbing mountains all over the world, and built a million dollar business based on the lessons she learned.

These stories are about real people who have overcome their fears, and have manifested their dreams into reality.

And sure, I’ll be talking about failure. But make no mistake, we’ll be seeing failure for what it really is: a prologue to success.

Stay tuned.

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