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April 03, 2007

Fear of Failure - The Aftermath

There have been a lot of great posts in the blogesphere lately around failure and the fear of it. Brad Feld wrote a piece a while ago, and there have been several others offering their perspectives. Although we use the term "fear of failure" a lot in our every day language, I'm not so sure it's actually the failure itself that most people are afraid of, but rather the fear of the aftermath of the failure. While we go through failure after failure in our everyday lives, both professionally and personally, I'd suspect that most of us are more worried about what the failure will actually cause and how we're going to handle that. It's inevitable that you're going to screw up, I don't know anyone that hasn't and if we all admitted to it, I'm sure that there are a ton of failures in our lives that we just don't own up to. Sure I'd like to succeed, but I get much more juice out of the fact that I'm willing to set a goal, set some high standards by which to live by that either has me pass or fail. Then, for me what really defines someones character is their ability to own up to and handle the success or the failure that they just had. That's where integrity is born - how you handle issues. If you're willing to try it on, the formula works pretty well; set some goals, have some rules for your life and then go for it. If you succeed or there's a perception of success, great, must have done something right - acknowledge yourself and those around you for that success. If you happen to fall short, or FAIL, that's OK too. It sucks, but you set some standards for yourself and did everything you could to live to those standards and you failed to do so. Now - acknowledge the failure, what you learned from it, clean it up with those around you, those that were involved, and move on. I think that's the part, the "aftermath", where most people fall short. And that's probably the part that has people not to reach beyond themselves, to not set higher standards and goals. I also happen to think that people earn respect from handling the aftermath, from owning up to the fact that they may have failed. I will take someone any day that owns up to the fact that they screwed up - those are the ones that you know what you're dealing with and can address whatever the problem is, big or small. Geeze, what a novel concept - being up front. Just my perspective.

April 3, 2007 | Permalink

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