Don’t Let Fear of Failure Keep You From Success

Playing it safe may slam doors to your future.


Creating an energizing, inspiring life inevitably brings with it some degree of failure. Sometimes it's just a little stumble, sometimes it echoes with a resounding splat.

The important thing isn't that you've screwed up—we all do on occasion—it's what you do with the experience. You can either learn and move on, or let that failure limit your life.

In my most recent M.A.P. Maker podcast, Howard Behar (former president of Starbucks Coffee Co. and author of It ' s Not About the Coffee) stresses the importance of a positive mind-set. Learn from failure, try not to repeat the mistake, but ultimately accept it with a positive attitude. If you don't, he says:

Fear sets in—"Well, I don't want to make a mistake again"—so now you start to become more conservative about the things that you do, in an attempt to only have successes. Once that happens, you pass by so many things that could be a success because of your fear of failure.

When you begin playing not to lose, your world of possibilities starts to shrink. Bit by bit, your future's potential atrophies as you close doors to efforts that have the risk of another stumble.

Failure is no fun. But in my book, a life of fear-based compromise is even less fun.

Are there any failures in your past that are keeping you from your future? Are you playing it safe anywhere, not because it's the wise thing to do but because you're letting your fear close your doors?

What one step can you take to start opening those doors again?

After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker , explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.


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