"I don’t know if I can do it. I can’t take that risk."
Consider this, so many of us busyaholics, perfectionists or not, are determined to wait until we can have the strongest showing possible, or the most courage possible before we try something. We don’t want to fail (and, by the way, why not?) or not be “good enough” (again, why not?), so we build a homestead around the fire of “I’m waiting until I’m ready,” or "that will probably never happen for me, so I just won't even try." We roast marshmallows, talk to others also homesteading there, make good friends, get comfortable, even feel sorry for ourselves because, "see it's totally unlikely that my dreams could come true," – but still have nights when we’re looking out beyond camp to the place off in the distance that is calling us, wishing and hoping.
It may sound crazy, but why not collect perceived fails and no's? If you never give up, even if you get the door slammed in your face 100 times or more, you CAN get the results you want... That love relationship, that job, that free time for yourself, that financial security, etc., etc., that life you have always wanted. It's yours for the taking if you have the right mindset.
It's normal to get no's and failures on the way to success. And if you expect them, they are not such a big deal and you move past them pretty quick without a scratch, or a least build the muscle of dealing with rejection and failure without letting it stop you in your tracks.
One of my mentors, tells her certified coach students that if they "are not experiencing one epic failure a week in their coaching business, they are not doing it right." I love this because to be great or get the results we want, we have to be willing to fail. But in being willing to fail epically on a weekly basis is brilliant because it removes the constant fear of putting yourself out there, and normalizes rejection & failure, so it just becomes a normal part of your life experience. No big deal. Think of what would be possible if you were no longer afraid of rejection and failure.
Learn to say, "So what?" to rejection and failures. Because at the end of the day, does it really matter that you tried and failed? No, what really matters is that you tried and stayed committed 100% to what's most important to you. No matter how many obstacles, you stayed committed to yourself, and believed in yourself, until you by golly got the result you were after.
Caveat, I am not talking about sticking to your goals in duress, or staying in an abusive situation. Sometimes, we have to know when our goal is not healthy for us for sure! But often times, we stress ourselves waaaaaaay more than is necessary because we don't know how to manage our minds. Great news is, you can learn how to manage your mind. This is the best news I have for you my friends.
No successful person I know has NOT experienced MANY failures and rejections. The difference between them and the rest of the world is that they never gave up in face of failure, missteps, and rejection. They were willing to put themselves out there and risk humiliation and fear. And those are not fun feelings to have, but if those are the feelings that stand between you and your dreams, I'm willing to feel them, are you? Bring em on. You coming with me? Let's do this work together. Share, shine, be bold, go for it!
What's failing ahead of time?
Preparing and practicing, are absolutely important too, but waiting until we can do something perfectly is failing ahead of time. Or thinking about how bad we want that relationship, but never doing anything about it, except thinking about it non-stop for 5 years while we sit on the couch night after night, falling into the fear and pity party trap, wishing for someone to ring the doorbell and turn out to be "the one," and then finally giving up before we have even gone on 100 dates. Try a 100 dates and then tell me you "can't find someone," you really like. What effort besides a lot of thinking are you willing to do about it? That makes all the difference.
Consider how much we "just think," about our goals or dreams regarding any area of our lives, without taking any action and then decide to give up, because we are tired of trying but we really haven't lifted a finger. It's ridiculous and absurd really. But don't blame yourself! It's not because you are lazy or unintelligent, it's your mind trying to protect you from putting yourself out there. It wants to stay warm in the cave and not get eaten, right? When I realized how much I was doing this in my own life, I was shocked!!!! But, "I was working so hard I thought." But oh no, my mind was on overdrive with worry and overwhelm, so I felt like I was taking more action then I actually was because I was exhausted (by my thoughts and emotions).
Do you see what's happening here? We opt not to do “the thing” yet in case we’re not good enough, or ready enough, and the act of choosing to not try is failing ahead of time.
We need to look closely at our minds, if we don't want to be run by them.
Stop failing by default
Most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. It can sound like so many things, “it’ll never work,” “I’m too old/young,” “I’ll never have a relationship,” “I’m not ready for that job,” you get the idea? When we listen to our fear and let it stop us from trying things, we fail by default.
Getting what we want does mean we have to take action. And keep taking action until we get what it is we’re wanting. "Wanting and commitment are two very different mindsets."
We have to do our part. Can you hear the difference between “I want to stop working late” and “I am going to stop working late?” The word “want” gives us an out. We’re not committed to the change we’re wanting, more observing it, thinking about it, and exhausting ourselves before we make any real progress.
Get 100% committed! It's so much fun, and so empowering!
And your language, believe it or not, does help with this. “I’m working late only 1 day a week.” The clarity and intention in the language is putting yourself on notice. It can create discomfort because all your thoughts and beliefs about working late, and why you must, are going to come up. And the awesome thing is, you now have “The Model” to work through the mental roadblocks and choose differently.
As always, this isn’t about judging or condemning yourself. Our minds do these things to protect us, but they are not always telling the truth. Will it hurt you more to "Fail Ahead of Time," on something that really matters to you, or learn to experience some uncomfortable emotions and move through them, when on the other side is your desired result?
It’s simply about observing your behaviors and choices. And determining if they are helping you create the results you’re wanting in your life. If they are, great. If they aren’t, interesting! Be curious. No judgement. Notice where you find yourself giving excuses why you can’t or won’t do something. Sometimes these are places we are “failing ahead of time.”
A coach friend of mine has a cool exercise around this. Designed to help us recognize what we are choosing in our lives. Ultimately it leads to more purposeful decision-making. Give this a try —
1. Write down one of the top excuses you hear yourself use for things.
2. What are 3 other choices you could make about that situation? Don’t let yourself off the hook here. It can be illuminating.
3. Identify what are you currently choosing and why.
4. If you like your why and your results, great! If you don’t, see #2 and try a different choice.
Bottom line, our fear of failing, or not doing it perfectly, has us fail ahead of time.
We make choices where the outcome feels more reliable, and sometimes this is perfect, but to yield different results in your life, you’ve got to try doing things differently. By approaching life differently, in just little ways, you will surprise yourself at what you’re capable of.