016 – Afraid to Fail: When it’s Okay to Fail and When it’s Not
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Are you afraid to fail?
Are you afraid to set challenging goals or take risks as a leader or manager because you are worried about what other people think?
As Robert Kiyosaki said, “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success”.
In today’s episode, I’m going to share a goal that I set… and missed. We’ll also discuss when it’s okay to fail and when it’s not okay to fail… because if you aren’t giving your best to what you do, then you kind of deserve the results you get.
Click to Tweet: People you lead will run through walls when they know that you care about them and are giving 100% effort.
I’m brutally exhausted right now
I’ve been working on an absolutely massive project over the past week and although I’m so close to the finish line… I don’t think I’m going to complete it on time, which sucks because I’ve been putting everything I have into this and I really wanted it done before Christmas.
However, I am a firm believer in doing it right the first time and so rather than mish-mashing the end of the project together just for the sake of a deadline… I’m going to have to push this thing off until the new year…and that’s what we are going to talk about today.
I’ll give you a sneak peak into this project I’m working on, but we are going to talk about failure. When it’s okay to fail and when it’s not okay to fail.
Afraid to Fail? This is an important topic for this time of the year
Christmas is less than a week away and right after that comes New Years… and many well-intentioned new year’s resolutions. However, the reality is that regardless of intentions, most people who set goals in January are going to fail. In fact, worse than that, most of the people who create new year’s resolutions won’t just fail, they’ll give up before they have the chance to fail.
I think part of the reason for this is a fear or failure. New Year’s is often filled with optimism which encourages people to dream big and set goals. The problem is that a few days later, we get caught up in our typical routine, fall a little bit behind, stop mentioning the goal to our friends and colleagues… and well… slowly fade and eventually give up.
Maybe most of us are just too rigid with our goals. Perfectionists.
We want to lose say 20 lbs but we’re afraid to let the world know and create accountability because we might not actually achieve it. Maybe we feel better not having a goal and fooling ourselves into thinking that we can make some minor adjustments improve organically by small changes without accountability. Maybe it’s easier to avoid talking about it than it is to push hard for the 20 lbs and only lose 15 lbs.
Do you sometimes give up on your goals because you are afraid of failing? Afraid what people with think?
Afraid to Fail? I know I’ve felt this way as a manager.
I’d make mini resolutions and say, “this year I’m going to spend 15 minutes a day do this or that with my employees or for my employees.”
Sometimes I’d make a well-intentioned January announcement about these mini improvements, but other times I wouldn’t say anything about them. To be honest, by the time February came, I didn’t want to talk about these mini goals at all, because I was afraid to fail because of how my team might perceive me if I didn’t actually do what I said I would do. I was afraid that they would judge me because, “well you said you would do X, and it’s March now, or it’s august, or it’s been 3 weeks already and you haven’t done it.”
I was worried about my reputation. I wanted to be seen as perfect sometimes. I was afraid to fail.
You know, I recently participated in a webinar that leadership expert, Michael Hyatt put together on goal setting. He painted a really interesting picture of an archer aiming at a target. He described how aiming directly at the target would pretty much guarantee failure… because you have to account for resistance.
I found that interesting.
If you were to look at the spot where the archer was aiming, that mark would be missed every time. Even if the arrow landed in the middle of the bullseye, it wouldn’t land on the small marker the archer actually had aimed at.
Afraid to Fail? It’s okay to miss the spot you are aiming for.
It’s the same principle as this saying, “shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.”
Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. (Tweet This)
But when is it not okay to miss the mark? When is it not okay to fail?
Afraid to Fail? It’s not okay to fail when you didn’t really try.
Failure is just failure sometimes.
When you don’t give something the attention or energy it deserves, and you fail… you shouldn’t have anything positive to take from that other than the hard lesson that you just didn’t try hard enough.
Let me encourage you to approach everything you do with the following attitude and say, “If I am not going to give my best to what I do (whether that’s my job, my team, my family, my business, my hobbies), shame on me. I’m going to give it my best or do something different!
(just a side note, when it comes to family… you don’t have an option, give it your best)
Now, I said that I want you to give it your best (not everything). I don’t want to hear that you quit your job to tinker with arts and crafts because you decided to give that area of your life, your ‘best’.
But, let’s say your hobby is arts & crafts. If you are going to create art, I want to encourage you to create the best art you can. Take pride in it and enjoy the process!
Similarly, when you are leading people, I want to encourage you to give them your best, your very best. The people you serve crave that type of leader and will run through walls when they know that the person who is calling the shots cares about them and is putting in 100% effort… which is what you expect of your employees isn’t it? 100% effort? Now we are talking not just about effort, but about being a good example.
Anyway, you get the message.
It’s not okay to fail when you don’t really try – when you’re not giving your best.
Afraid to Fail? When is it okay to fail?
Well… every other time.
Only one team wins the world series each year. Many compete, but there is only one winner.
Additionally, sometimes you just won’t arrive on time. You’ll take a wrong turn, your circumstances change, you’ll come to understand something you didn’t know when you started, you’ll run into an unexpected roadblock. Keep moving… keep competing… keep pushing… but understand that failing… that losing… It’s okay.
As Robert Kiyosaki said, “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success”. (Tweet This)
I said at the beginning that I’ve been working on a major project. A project which I don’t think will be completed on time. In fact, I know it won’t be completed on time because it should have been done by now.
I’m putting together an online event. A live masterclass where I’ll be teaching managers and business leaders 7 strategies to retain their best employees in 2017.
This live webinar will be about an hour to an hour and a half long and through this training session, I’m going to talk about the reasons why people quit their jobs. I’m going to specifically talk about why top performers quit their jobs. Then I’m going to cover how to identify those potential situations and how to address them.
Afraid to Fail? Yes, but not anymore.
If you asked me early last week, I really thought I could pull it off and have the live webinar scheduled for the week before Christmas (which even that was the latest that I wanted it done). However, the reality is, it’s not ready. I’ve been consistently working until midnight over the past couple of weeks and last Thursday night, I got to bed at 2:30 AM just to get back up at 4 AM to continue working and prepare for a 6 AM podcast interview.
I’m giving it everything I’ve got. …and I’m so close!
Which means that I’m admitting defeat and what I’m going to do is continue my push to get everything done, but schedule this live masterclass for the 3rd week of January, which is the week after I return from my own holidays
So, if I think about my goal. I wanted to have the masterclass on Wednesday, December 21st (at the latest). I’m not going to hit that goal. I’ve failed, and it hurts because this project has been part of my business plan from day one and if I get behind on my business plan, that impacts my business, which of course impacts me and my family financially.
But while I said I never said failure wouldn’t hurt, I did say it’s okay.
It’s okay because…
At the end of the day, my goal is to serve my audience to the best of my ability.
I can confidently say that I’ve given it my all, I’m continuing to create, continuing to build and I know that the final product is going to be extremely helpful for managers and business leaders next year… and that by giving it my best, I’ll be able to get my overall business goals back on track.