>Inspiring Your Authentic Week

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Inspiring Your Authentic Week

Absolutely Positive

Posted: 10 May 2009 11:40 PM PDT

Fear of failure haunts many of us, but what is failure in this sense and how does it happen?

As Lance Armstrong says “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.”

There are two sides to “failure” the most obvious is to try before we give up. The most pernicious is when we give up before we try.

Lets take the obvious one first. When we try before we give up – giving up is mostly a decision. A decision we take when we get to a point of pain, discomfort or recognition that what we are doing is not working.

We might decide that we would prefer to do something else, or we might find that there is another way, that we could not have foreseen before we started. It is not easy to really describe that as failure. It is just a decision.

Making a decision is a learning process, it is a recognition of changed circumstances that alters the strategy. It is not failure.

When it is not a decision, it is force majeure. Some outside element crashes into your strategy and you have to change strategy, but this is still not a failure. It is still a decision, albeit one where your choices are reduced.

I often find this when cycling. If I am climbing up a hill with another rider and I find myself going into the red zone for too long, I might recognise that the other rider is stronger and change strategy, back off and hope to catch up later. Or I might keep pushing and just run out of steam. I don’t see either option as failure, they are different strategies for doing my best, if neither works it is force majeure.

The pernicious one is where we give up before we try, a sort of self censorship that is usually based on a fear of “failure”. And as we have seen above failure is a phantom. It is not real.

When we test this notion of failure, we usually find that it has more to do with some one else’s idea of what we should or should not, can or cannot do. It is not our fear it is someone else’s we do not own or need to own that fear.

Whatever action, project or decision you might be struggling with put it to that test. Is it really your fear of failure or is it someone else’s?

If you are not prepared to “own” the fear then it is time to commit and move forwards. Belief precedes reality – not the other way around. Someone always has to believe that something is possible before it can happen – even if they are the only one. You can always adjust or change your strategy later.

The outcome may not be exactly what you expected, in fact it is very likely to be different. The outcome will be exactly what you need it to be, to learn whatever you need to learn to take you to the next stage of your journey.

I hope that this is helpful, if you want a more detailed or personal analysis – give me a call call.

I have started a Facebook page where you can comment on these messages and on all of my books – come along and share your thoughts and observations.

There are those who describe A Mentor For Every Child as “ambitious” which is usually code for “you are mad to even attempt it.” I am not sure I see it that way. Whatever happens progress will be made and the experience will be interesting and valuable for me personally. The more who believe this, the more likely it is to prosper – come and join us:-)

With love


Neil Crofts
inspiration innovation motivation

+44 (0)7775 658534

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About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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