Why Do We Have A Fear Of Failure?

I had always had a job since the age of 13, when I delivered newspapers in my hometown of Bradford, PA. I didn’t want the paper route but my mom insisted I take the job and wouldn’t let me say no.
So I did what I usually did as a kid – listened to my mom.

Side note: I miss my mom.
She died on July 7, 1997.
I’m the youngest of eight kids and am pretty sure I was an accident- seeing how my mom was pregnant with me at the age of 40, then my dad left when I was three moths old. But then again, there are no accidents in God’s eyes, only miracles.
I remind my three daughters every day that they are miracles, in hopes they never go through life with low self esteem.
Life is hard enough sometimes, having limiting beliefs only compounds the challenges.

Back to my paper route…..

Each day I would deliver newspapers and once a week, collect money from customers.
I would pay the newspaper company (wholesale) and any money left over was mine to keep (profit).
That same year, my mom helped me open a checking and savings account and I was now off and running as a little entrepreneur.
At the age of 13, I was earning income – giving some to mom to help her out and keeping the rest in my savings account. I even saved enough to purchase a moped – a Suzuki FA50.
Remember the moped craze of the early 80’s?
How cool I felt, zipping around town on my yellow machine.
Fearless.

I never had a fear of failure as a kid. I would try anything from sports to jobs, never giving any mental recognition to the possibility of failure.
Were you the same?
Did you measure success vs failure before you tried something for the first time?
Or as a kid,  did you just do it and have fun?

At some age, we all begin to let failure creep inside our mind and sabotage success.
Usually our fears are unreasonable, stemming from a need to ‘get it right the first time.’ Said another way, we fear doing something new because we may not succeed our first time around.
Schools (and then later in life, jobs) reinforce this mindset.

In school, we study and study until we have all knowledge crammed into our head – hoping not to fail a test.
Although it’s the first time we’ve ever taken this particular test and have no experience with the subject aside from what the teacher taught us, we still need to pass the test.
Or we fail.

If we don’t do well on the test, all the negative repercussions come flying at us. Everyone from parents to teachers are disappointed in our results and tell us we need to do better next time.

Isn’t that insane?
Our entire basis for fear is the need to get it right the first time.

When I went into the workforce, the teaching was the same.

I was in sales, so it was pretty simple – if you did not meet your sales quota, you failed. If you failed too many times, you were in danger of losing your job.
This meant you may not be able to provide for your family and the pressure would mount.
With pressure comes stress, which leads to loss of sleep, weight fluctuation and a whole host of others things that are not healthy for you.
All of this because of an irrational thought that we need to success the first time.

As an entrepreneur, you have to think the opposite of an employee.
You know you will not succeed the first time.
Or possibly the first ten times.

However, those are looked upon as valuable learning lessons of how to improve.
There isn’t an entrepreneur on the planet who will expect you to get it right the first time.
The only person you’re competing against is the person you were yesterday.

Take the pressure off.
Have reasonable expectations.

If you can’t handle a little failure as you learn how to grow a business, you need to get a job and stay there.
And never complain about your circumstances.
You’re being unrealistic.

However, if you can withstand the winds of adversity for a little while, success will find you.
It always does.
Every time.

 

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