Don’t be afraid of failurePosted: July 31, 2011
When you first approached the high dive jump in a swimming pool, do you remember being paralyzed with fear? I do. When I was a kid I would slowly climb up the rungs of the ladder – confident I could jump from the high dive board. However, when I got to the high dive, I would suddenly be gripped with fear. “What if it hurts?” “Can I really get myself to do this?” “Is my diving form good enough?”
I wish someone would have been there to tell me:
“Don’t be afraid of failure”
I’ll come back to my diving story at the end.
I want to first share with you one of my work stories:
In one of my jobs, I was tasked to implement a regional marketing plan to drive business for a multi-million dollar territory.
After analyzing the customer segment (their buying patterns, their priorities, their needs/challenges), the market opportunity and the potential marketing models, I came to the conclusion that I had to implement a new creative way of doing marketing.
The only challenge was – now that I had the plan drawn up – I wasn’t able to put it into action.
I spent days thinking of the pros and cons of the marketing model and began creating self doubt by asking questions like “Would it work?” “What if it doesn’t catch on?” “Is it truly creative enough?”
Ultimately, the real issue became that I continually asked these questions over and over again.
I had become paralyzed by the fear of failure.
I soon realized the biggest issue I had wasn’t about taking the wrong step. It was about not taking any steps at all. Sure, I could fail along the way – but if I was diligent in learning why I failed, I could continue to improve the model.
And that’s exactly what we did. The regional marketing plan I put together became a huge success.
So don’t be afraid of diving in. You’ll realize it’s better to take action than to be left standing paralyzed in fear.
(And yes…I eventually did the high dive and it was easier than I expected!)