1/3 of the female population would start a business if it wasn’t for the fear of failure.1
Fear of failure?! What is this about? Women are the most powerful creatures on earth. Women are the creators of life! They actually grow human beings in their bodies and then extract them through the most painful way possible and they’ve been doing this since the beginning of time! Historically, it may have been the men that went marching off to war but it was the women holding everything together at home – and today we’ve evolved to where women march right beside men on the battlegrounds. Women handle and control crises every single day. Can it be possible that fear of failure is holding women back in the business arena?
Fear is a powerful force and we have to acknowledge that the fear of failure can be crippling. Nonetheless, one of the first things to be noticed about true leaders is their utter lack of fear – at least on the outside. Summoning up the courage to let go of our fears must be the first real move to greatness – shedding all the pettiness that surrounds us and taking that first step forward. When we realize that fear is the greatest dream killer known to man and when we realize that the worst that can happen is that we fail is when we will start opening doors. Remember, failure is only failure if you accept it as such.
The world won’t end if you don’t succeed the first time. You got up when you fell off your bike and you got another job after you were fired (because we’ve all been fired somewhere along the way) – life goes marching on so it’s time to get in the parade. Thinking that dreams don’t come true or that great things don’t happen to normal people is just a cop out as well. Coco Chanel spent many years in an orphanage after her parents died. She started designing her own clothes simply because she couldn’t afford to buy any – the rest is history. Oprah Winfrey was raised by her grandmother in a house without plumbing. Today she has a personal fortune estimated at more than half a billion dollars. If success can come to these women, why can’t it come to you?
If you’re unhappy with your life, there’s only one person who can accept the blame and you look at them in the mirror every day. Choice. You choose where you are in life. If you don’t like your job – leave. I don’t mean walk in and flip your boss the bird but take some time, seriously analyze where you want to be in this world, how you can get there and then DO IT. Realistically, we only have 80 good years on this earth – you might as well be happy with them because the effects of stress and depression will cut 15 –20 years off of what little time we have.
Most people look at successful people and think “that could never be me” – Why Not? Muhammad Ali – the greatest professional boxer that ever lived – do you think that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth? No – he had to fight the U.S. Government, and the boxing associations to realize his dream. He had mouths to feed, he went broke but he still persevered to become one of the most beloved figures in history. You have to realize that he started with nothing but talent and a dream and he made it work. Martha Stewart was a housewife; Oprah Winfrey a weather girl, Emeril Lagasse worked in a Portugese bakery in Massachusetts. None of them were born wealthy and they aren’t any different then you and me – they just stayed on course, never bending and worked endlessly towards their own dreams.
Of course there will always be bumps in the road but : “Failures are the highway to success and the mistakes help us learn how to succeed” Remember – your life, your responsibility, your choice – the buck stops here. Use these stories as a leadership lesson plan and begin to live outside your comfort zone. Use the story of a successful restaurateur in your city and use it as a leadership lesson plan – it’s not just the famous who are successful, there is success around us everyday – learn from it.