In ancient cultures, business owners who failed were publicly shamed and humiliated, often brought to the city centers where they were stripped naked and forced to do unthinkable things at time to make up for them failing. Sometimes they were a given a green bonnet they had to wear that identified them as a failure, in the same vein as The Scarlet Letter.
“When we punish those who fail we stifle creation and innovation.” Would you take on a challenge, knowing that if you weren’t able to succeed immediately you would be forced naked and publicly humiliated? There are very few people out there who would subject themselves to that kind of risk. The fear of humiliation and shame outweighs the fear of not pursuing our dreams.
Leticia Gasca said that we all can relate with the pain of failure, but we don’t share those failings with others or on social media. We only share our successes on our resumes. It makes sense, because we want potential employers to know we are competent. But as an employer I would much rather read a resume that outlines how someone failed and applied those lessons for future success, than see another resume that says they are competent in Microsoft Office.
“Sharing failures makes you stronger, not weaker.”– Leticia Gasca
As you may have seen or heard, I have been working on creating a new podcast with a good friend of mine called Freedom to Fail. We are hoping to break the negative stigmas surrounding failure and focus on helping people view failing as a stepping stone to success. We also want to help other people get over their fears of failure that so often stop us from pursuing our goals. My own fear of failure stopped me from doing this podcast for years.
I’ve never had a shortage of goals, but I have had a shortage of action many times throughout my life. I always have known what I want, but a lack of knowing the first steps to take, fearing failure, and not feeling like I had anything valuable to contribute have held me back in my pursuit of dreams. The one thing that overcomes all of these? Massive action.
With all my business ideas or personal goals in life, getting started has always been the hardest thing. Even when I have knocked doors, getting started is always the worst part. The fear of the unknown results and not being in complete control paralyzed me into inaction. But as soon as I got that first door out of the way, I have been able to continue just fine.
If you have an idea for a business, or feel you have a calling in life, stop thinking about it and preparing for it and start taking action. The more you do, the more overwhelmed and unprepared you will feel, and you will continue procrastinating. You’ll try and put a positive spin on it and say you’re doing research or something else, but we both know that’s BS. You’re procrastinating because you’re scared, and we both know that you know it deep down.
I know this is the truth, because it’s exactly what I’ve dealt with in my life. I have a sick way of trying to turn something negative into something positive. It’s good to be an optimist, but it’s bad to lie and that’s what I was doing when I would tell myself I was just preparing. No time will ever be right. You’ll never be ready. The sooner you accept that and start taking action, the sooner you’ll be happy.
“People feel attracted to success but feel connected by failure”
Being productive, no matter what you’re doing, makes you happy. Do you feel more accomplished and satisfied after spending the day mowing the lawn and making the yard look beautiful, or after binge-watching the latest crime series on Netflix? Even if it’s not as enjoyable in the moment, it’s much more rewarding when you look back. When you’re dying which would make you feel like your life was meaningful? The answer is obvious.
This post changed direction a little bit, but I am extremely passionate about not letting people lie to themselves about why they can’t do something. I’ve done that for much of my life in business and in relationships, and it literally destroyed what I had built. I don’t want that for you. I can’t have that for you. I lost years of my life, relationships, to not doing what I knew I should do. You know what you need to do, at least to some degree. Go out and do it.
I’m putting myself in a situation where I can fail big by doing the podcast. Neither of us know anything about it, but we feel so strongly about connecting with others through failure that we need to do it (Side note: if you think you have a good story of how you were able to use failure as a stepping stone in your life, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org). We are not letting ourselves learn everything before starting, just the bare minimum.
The best-case scenario is that we can reach millions of listeners and help them overcome their fear of failure and take the steps and actions reach their goals despite those fears. The worst-case scenario is that nobody ever hears about us, we can’t help anyone, and then we can share what we learned and have a good story. Even in the worst-case scenario, even if the shame of failing is what’s holding me back, nobody will even know we failed.
Looking back at it, this talk does apply to my rant. Take action, because even if you fail you will be strengthened. You will have a story to share that will help your children learn. Live the way you want them to live. It will help you relate with others in a way you never have before. People are attracted to success but connected by failure. It is something that everyone can relate to. Be willing to fail, because the thought of not trying is too unbearable.