“Fear does not prevent death, it prevents life.” I live by that quote written by Naguib Mahfouz, faithfully. I think about the moments where I could have succeeded, could have given it a shot, could have made a call, could have sent an email, or could have went to an audition. I chose not to move for fear of failure. Shoulda, coulda, woulda got me no results. That’s because fear doesn’t give you results. It’s stagnant, never-changing. Fear is what gives us anxiety before an interview, what makes us sweat before going on a date, it’s what makes you hyperventilate before telling your boss you deserve a raise. Fear is what stands in between you and everything great that stands in the distance. Fear is failure to believe in what you have to offer. If you didn’t know failure existed, you’d be ecstatic to fight for all your goals, but failure is the key to success.
Now knowing this, you’d think it’s easy to forget about it, grow some chest hairs and take charge of your life. Except, that’s not how most humans are. We are natural-born worriers, over thinkers and doubters, which creates this thick barrier separating us from what we desire the most. The crazy part about this is we have the power to switch off these emotions, but our second-guesses supersede the faith we have in ourselves. Think about when you were a child – nothing stopped you. The most you were afraid of was an ass-whooping and the crypt keeper off “Tales From the Crypt,” (at least I was). All that aside, you were ready and willing to risk your life climbing trees, scraping your knees, running from neighborhood dogs, investigating that spooky room your parents forbid you from and dare I say…breaking a nail. You were fear-LESS, and not to mention not afraid to speak your mind. But as you got older, what happened? Puberty kicked in and your endless amount of courage diminished.
And we can’t have that. You must remember you are capable of any and EVERYTHING. You have the power to do amazing things and destroy obstacles you never thought you could. Never let your fear of failure stop you from moving forward.
So first things first, stop thinking you aren’t enough or you can’t do something. You are perfect just the way you are. As they say, “Perfectly imperfect.” Stop expecting yourself to never make mistakes. In reality, that’s all life is – a journey of mistakes, trials and tribulations. No one is perfect at life. We’re all experiencing it at our own pace and no one is given the same battles nor tools. The great thing about mistakes is that they make you stronger. People didn’t know fire was hot until they touched it. You may have gotten burned, “But did you die?” Nope, but you got new information that will take you just a little bit further in life. Apply this when you’re prepping for your pitch meeting or exiting a dance audition. Whether they liked your product or not you still have something valuable and you’ll make it better the next time.
One thing I tell people is you don’t really know the value of a win unless you lose. If you won all the time, would there be an extraordinary feeling the next time? Naw, not really. When you lose you’ll always remember until you get that “W.” Failure is essential to growth. As I said before, fearing failure makes you stationary. “Diamonds didn’t know their worth until they were put under pressure.” Take each day to learn more about yourself and what makes you the most uncomfortable about failure. Never fear failure to the point of ignorance and always reach for new information and welcome critiques. At the end of the day, “You win some, you lose some, but you live to fight another day.”