January 2nd, 2017 — Southwest Florida.
I clicked “Publish” and then sat back in my chair, wondering what I had just gotten myself into as the fear of failure washed over me.
The first video in my long-awaited “Build Your Online Business From Scratch” video series had just launched.
Can I actually do this? Can I build a successful online business from scratch?
Plus I’ve only given myself a year to complete this goal…
I must be out of my mind!
What are people going to think if this doesn’t go as planned, as hoped?
All of these thoughts, and more, raced through my head after I published my first BYOBFS video on Monday.
I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to watch it, or if anyone was going to like it…
And yet, the response so far has been incredibly positive! (Thank you so much to everyone who has watched, commented, or voiced your support!)
But this almost didn’t happen.
Many times leading up to this first video, I contemplated calling off this series.
I didn’t have time…
I didn’t know enough…
I don’t have what it takes…
I’m an introvert, I can’t do this…
Alas, all of the promotion I had been doing, all the work, all the build-up, all the expectations prevented me from backing down (there’s a lesson for you right there!)
Do you fear failure too?
Fear, and especially the fear of failure, as incredible destructive and stifling power, and the demise of this fear should be ruthlessly pursued!
There Is No Reason To Fear Failure:
So if I’m going to tell others to forsake the fear of failure, then I'd better do it first myself!
And so, in this blog post, that’s what I’m here to do.
I’m here to tell you that I’m desperately excited to fail in front of you!
Of course just saying this doesn’t make the fears all go away magically…but the simple act of stating that I am desperately excited to fail in front of you does actually make it a little more true.
I encourage you to do the same!
Be desperately excited to fail in front of others; it will change your life.
Though I can’t fully endorse him because of some of the language and ideals he uses and supports, Gary Vaynerchuck did help drive home for me the importance of embracing failure.
“I’m desperately excited to fail in front of you,” he said in a short video clip I watched.
That line stuck with me.
So often what holds us back isn’t anything real, but the ersatz fears in our heads.
We shouldn’t fear failure for 3 reasons:
1. We Shouldn’t Care What People Think
This really applies in every area of life, not just business.
What causes us to fear what other people think?
Ultimately, it’s pride.
We want to look good. We want to be admired.
We don’t want to look bad. We don’t want others to look down on us.
It all comes back to pride.
The only thing we should care about is doing the right thing, no matter how it makes us look.
The only opinion we should care about is God’s, no matter what it makes others think of us.
If building your business is the right thing for you and your family…why care what others think if you fail?
Letting the cares of others direct our actions makes us the slave of a thousand masters.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be a slave to the opinions of others.
There is also the hard truth that you can’t please everyone, no matter what you do.
By allowing the pursuit of good standing in the eyes of other people to drive us, we turn ourselves into Sisyphus from the ancient Greek myth.
We doom ourselves to forever rolling a heavy stone up a hill…only to watch it roll back down to the bottom before it reaches the top.
2. You’re Going To Learn From It
A common phrase you hear in sports is that, “You learn more from losing than from winning.”
This may sound like a phrase losers use to console themselves, but it’s actually true.
When you lose, when you fail, you are made aware of your weaknesses, and you learn what doesn’t work.
Pain and failure are often our best teachers, going all the way back to when we were learning to walk or ride a bike.
Now, we don’t often experience the physical pain that accompanies the failure to ride a bike correctly, but there is definitely an emotional blow.
But I don’t think there needs to be.
Instead of calling our unsuccessful attempts to achieve the results we desire “failures”, I propose we follow the example of Thomas Edison, and use the word “learning” instead of “failure”.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas A. Edison
Can we really call Edison a failure when he invented the light bulb and so many other incredible devices?
Not at all!
All the time he spent between when he started trying to invent the light bulb, and the time he actually succeeded in achieving his desired result, he wasn’t failing, he was learning.
The only way we could call Edison a failure would be if he had given up, quit, before he succeeded.
We should adopt this same mindset!
As long as we continue to strive, we are not failing, we are learning!
3. Battle Scars are Attractive
Think of your favorite main character from a movie or book.
They had a mission, right? A goal they were trying to achieve, whether it be saving the Princess, defeating the Evil Emperor, or winning a game of chess.
This hero achieved their goal easily, right?
He or she just rolled out of bed, and easily accomplished their mission.
As it turned out, the princess was only tied up with silly string.
The Evil Emperor suffered from narcolepsy, and so all the hero had to do was give him a bowl of water for a pillow.
The hero’s opponent, it was discovered, didn’t even know how to play chess.
Not at all!
The hero had to overcome incredible obstacles, and he or she received devastating blows, and had to experience incredible sacrifice and loss to achieve their goals.
Would you have admired your favorite character as much if their achievement was easy?
Or, what if your favorite hero had simply given up in the middle of their quest, and the book or movie ended with them simply going home, allowing the Princess to suffer, the Evil Emperor to execute his reign of terror, or the arrogant nerd-bully-chess-player (hey, it could happen) to go unchallenged?
I’m willing to bet that this favorite character of yours wouldn’t be your favorite character if this had been the case.
The battle scars of your hero communicate two things:
1. That their mission was so valuable that it was worth the cost of all the pain, loss, and failure.
2. That your hero possessed the valiant inner character necessary to succeed.
This is true in real life, not just fiction.
We admire people who had to overcome incredible failure or lose to achieve their goals.
So see each of your “failures” as beautiful battle scar that is simply making your story all the more attractive.
You’ll be able to relate to others going through the same struggles, be an inspiration, and help others in ways you couldn’t were it not for the “failures”.
Failure Isn’t Failure
An old football coach of mine once told me that if you aren’t trying to cheat, you aren’t trying to win.
I understood what he meant. The rules are set in place to try and keep a game even. It’s the job of the rules (and the officials) to police the game.
It’s the job of the players to try and win, and get every competitive advantage they can to try and win…even if this means bending the rules a little.
However, I think I have to disagree with my former coach.
Rather, I would say, “If you aren’t trying to fail, you aren’t trying to win.”
If you want to achieve anything great, whether it be a great business or a great marriage, you’re going to fail. That’s just how it goes.
The way I see it, we have 3 possible responses.
1. We get depressed and give up.
It’s too hard. It’s not really possible anyway. Well maybe some people can do this, but it’s not for me.
These are just a few of the excuses we’ll make in order to cope, and justify opting out.
2. We ignore it.
We don’t even realize we are failing, or we ignore our failures.
We delude ourselves into thinking things are better than they actually are, yet we still experience the results of not achieving, while never tasting the fruits of success.
3. We embrace it.
We celebrate failure, and see each failure as a chance to learn, grow, and beautify our story on our way toward achievement.
Of course, there are an infinite number of variables and factors that influence whether or not we achieve our desired outcome.
So I’m not saying that positive persistence is ALL we need. I’m never going to be an NFL quarterback no matter how much I want it, or how much I embrace and celebrate my failures.
That said, we are capable of much more than we realize, but we give up too soon, or never even try because we fear failure.
Instead, we should see failure as the formula for success.
Failure allows us to learn, which allows us to adjust our course, which in turn leads to us to performing different actions than we had done previously.
If we keep repeating this formula, Learn, adjust, act, repeat, more often than not, we will arrive at our desired destination.
But none of this is possible if we fear failure, instead of embracing it.
Go Out There And Fail!
Meet The Robinsons (A truly underrated film) illustrates this message expertly, wrapping it all up in the theme of “Keep moving forward.”
Think we would all achieve a lot more if we viewed failure the same way the Robinson family does in the scene below:
So go out there and fail! Lean from your failure! Adjust your course! Try again! And Repeat!
Just keep moving forward.
“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, so long as you don’t stop.” - Confucius
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3: 13-14.
If you have your own fears concerning starting you're own business, you probably shouldn't. Click the image below to watch a video I did addressing some of the common fears that prevent people from starting their own online businesses.
Have you had any failures recently? That’s great!
Post about it in the comments so we can celebrate!
Or, go ahead and resolve now that you are embracing failure, and post below: “I am desperately excited to fail in front of others!”