I failed the other day. It was frustrating, and I clearly wasn’t at my best.
The reality is, I have learned over my career that I will fail at something again soon. In a world where we often tend to promote the big wins and success stories, I felt compelled to write about the other side of this.
In the words of poet William F. O’Brien, “I’d rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see.” If we are pushing outside of our comfort zone, we will all fail at something. We are human and pursuing perfection is an unreasonable goal.
Many of the greatest lessons in my life have come not from succeeding, but in accepting a new challenge. Consider glossophobia – or a fear public speaking. The National Institute of Mental Health says 73% of people have anxiety around this. 25 years ago, you could count me amongst this group.
Putting yourself in front of a crowd is daunting, whether you have done it once or hundreds of times. However, I pursued it because I wanted to grow. There were certainly awkward moments, but it pushed me in unique ways. Fast forward over my career, through these engagements I have built relationships that never would have happened otherwise.
Some people also shy away from taking on leadership roles. I understand the why – taking on these positions in a thoughtful, forward-thinking way is difficult. I also appreciate it’s not for everyone.
However, for those pondering a future leadership opportunity, consider another thought – leaning in and saying yes. Start with something small and build from there. The various roles I have been fortunate to serve in have expanded my thinking and opened my eyes to so much more.
While far from perfect at public speaking or leadership, I take the chance knowing there will be risk. There are also limitless possibilities. In failing comes an opportunity to gain experience and discover new ways to solve problems.
So, I say embrace the fear of failure. If it makes you uncomfortable, stretch forward. Rejoice in the challenge. Don’t allow fear to steal your future and the opportunity for irreplaceable, personal, and professional growth.
More importantly, be nice to yourself along the way! After all, there will be those days you just aren’t at your best and that’s part of the journey…