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I find myself constantly being afraid to take the leap. I want to submit my book to an agent, but it’s not quite ready. I want to write the article for Fast Company magazine, but my skills aren’t quite there. I want to get another hourly job in South Dakota, but maybe I should just wait another day.
I constantly come up with excuses for myself. They’re all based around the idea that I’m not good enough today. I’ve built up in my head that maybe by tomorrow I will miraculously be a better man, more talented writer, and all around just awesome human being.
But I’m wrong.
I acknowledge I have a fear of failure. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I want people to like me and I want my writing to be known, but I struggle with the process that will allow those goals to happen.
A few days ago as I was struggling to submit guest entries to large publications, I jotted down a few notes to myself. This is what I wrote.
“I’m as smart today as I’m going to be for at least a little while. I am more capable to tackle this problem right now than I’ve ever been, even more so than yesterday. If I fail, then I’m much closer tomorrow than I was today because I will edit my faults. If I succeed, then all is well.[stag_intro]The only way I will never achieve my dreams, is if I stand still and do nothing.”[/stag_intro]
The best advice I could give you to conquer your fear of failure, is don’t stand still. Take some initial steps towards your goal. Create some kind of action in your life. It sounds simple, but when you’re paralyzed by fear it can become easy to just do nothing at all.
I get it. I’m with you. But listen, you have to take some kind of risk. And you have to do it today. You have to make the phone call, you have to ask out the girl, you have to quit the job.
Why, Heath? Why do I have to do it today? You’re crazy, and I’m going to quit reading your blog if you keep telling me to do stuff like this.
You have to take the risk today, because you’re as capable today as you’ve ever been. You really are, you have to believe that. There is no magic genie that’s going to land in the next 24-48 hours and grant you surreal powers.
You have to act now. Because believe it or not, you have all the necessary tools already inside of you. And if you don’t have the necessary tools and you face some form of rejection, then the very rejection in itself is what will provide you with the equipment you need to eventually succeed. The obstacle is the way (also the name of a great book I’m reading right now by Ryan Holiday).
Although I have to be fair and warn you, the more action you take the more failure you will inevitably incur. You will no doubt face more hardship through action than you ever did standing still, it’s one of the by products of a life well lived. Nobody kicks a dead dog. If you aren’t moving, nobody cares about what you do. It’s once you stand up and take action people begin to throw rocks and bring you down.[stag_intro]The more you fail, the less daunting it seems.[/stag_intro]
Once you’ve began to practice failure you’re going to realize it’s not so bad. It’s not. Ask a professional failure such as myself. I only consider my day a success if I gave myself an opportunity to fail at something or be rejected by someone. I will send outlandish emails to super high profile CEO’s and celebrities on a regular basis just because I never want to settle. Most often I really am seeking out genuine council, but the point is I practice taking risks on a regular basis.
The longer you sit in a cozy chair in the world of comfort, the harder it will be to get up and do work that matters, to do work that beckons greatness.
If you’re reading this and acknowledge that’s you, I challenge you to do what’s scaring you today. And to let you know that you’re not alone, I will join you and take action on something today that scares me.
I will send a guest article into Fast Company Magazine today and ask them to publish it in an upcoming issue. It’s the largest publication I’ve offered up my services to yet.
What are you scared to do today? Leave a comment below and let me be an encouragement for you.