fail·ure · noun · The Omission of an Expected or Required Action
If you Google the word "failure", this is the definition that comes up. As I contemplated my desired life changes and starting this blog, I feared failure. I didn't know where to start. I didn't know how to begin. I worried no one would give a crap about what I had to say. I worried I would fail.
It's tough to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable. It's tough to write from your heart and put a lot of work into something, only to find out you've inspired no one and got nothing accomplished. It is scary to think about sharing your hopes, dreams, worries with the world and potentially being judged. Given my age of 39, I worried (worry) about what my friends and family will think of my cockamamie plan and my apparent inability to "settle down" into one career. But what is failure, and why are we all so afraid of it? And why do we so commonly allow it to control our destinies?
"The omission of an expected or required action." Doesn't sound so bad, right? It's not so scary and awful when you think of it this way. Another way of looking at this: if you do what is expected and required, you will succeed. OK, I can do that. I have a plan. I'm dedicated. I'm passionate. I can succeed! I WILL succeed.
I know I have more confidence than many people, and I believe that comes, in part, from my past failures as much as my past successes. I do know that failure must be had in order to succeed. And I believe that failure is not necessarily a bad thing. It's how you learn. It's how you grow. It's how best to know what NOT to do the next time around.
And so I embrace this definition of failure and ignore all others. My fate is in my own hands and failure won't happen. And if it does? Well, it's just a simple omission of an expected or required action! That's all.
I recently started picturing myself in the future...a super successful, fulfilled version of me that I hope to become. I could see it, REALLY see it! And I thought to myself: what did I do to get here? And then I backtracked from future, successful me to now. That reverse-engineering thought-process truly helped me devise a plan of attack.
And it also helped make success a more attainable possibility and not some far away, dream-like concept. Fear of failure occurs in all of us, and even the most successful, confident people have fear at times - but they never let it get in the way and they have embraced the concept of failure as a positive step toward their goals.
If I never generate many followers of this blog, it's probably my own fault (I omitted a required action). But what am I afraid of? In the end, if I failed, at least I kept a fabulous online journal and probably worked through a lot of my own problems and concerns. That's not scary!