Dear Baby, Don’t Abandon an Idea out of Fear of Failure

Photo by Yener Ozturk on Unsplash

Dear Baby,

You got your first bike, a pink radio flyer tricycle, for Christmas when you were about 3. It was an adjustable one that would grow as you got bigger. You had no idea how to use the pedals to make it go. But that didn’t stop you from trying.

You were so determined, partly because you caught on that I loved watching you and you used this to stay up past bedtime. As long as you kept trying and making progress, I let you keep going. However, you didn’t learn to pedal that night. Or the next day. But eventually, you did and rode the tricycle all around the kitchen.

As kids, everything is a learning process.

We have no choice but to try and fail and try again until we ‘get it’. But as we get older, we fall into comfort zones. We’ve accomplished expertise on the things we’ve learned so far and there’s safety in that. We can manage just as we are.

When we’re in the comfort zone and we see an exciting opportunity that requires us to learn something new, there’s a temptation to abandon or sabotage our plans to make a go of it. And it’s not always intentional. You may not even realize that you’re doing this. Sometimes you may even convince yourself you don’t want it anyway. But that’s just fear talking.

Don’t get me wrong. Fear can be a good thing. There are plenty of bad opportunities that at first appear to be a good idea. A healthy dose of fear can slow you down enough that you are able to think rationally and realize this isn’t something you should be doing.

Plus, you may not be able to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along. Fear can once again slow you down enough to help you decide which ones will help you get the most accomplished.

Ask yourself this

What is keeping you back from trying? Is it fear that you’ll be laughed or yelled at? Fear it won’t be good enough? Fear that it will be good enough? Or maybe you’re worried once you get what you want, it won’t really be what you want.

Now, picture the opposite of your fears happening. Picture a positive outcome. Not an unrealistic one, but something that is possible. Wouldn’t it be nice to see this happen? It never will, if you don’t try.

Being a failure isn’t about not succeeding. Each time we try something new, whether or not it’s successful, we’re learning something. As long as we’re learning, adjusting, and moving forward, we are making progress and may fulfill our dreams. The only time we’re failures is when we don’t try. If you don’t try, you’re guaranteed not to succeed or fulfill your dreams.

Make Adjustments

It’s okay to change your dreams around as you go. That’s the learning and adjusting part. It’s okay to try something and switch direction later. You haven’t wasted time. You learned something valuable, that you wouldn’t have known otherwise, and applied it.

I’m excited to watch you as you move through these stages of idea, trial, leaning, adjusting and perusing. Just keep swimming.

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