Journey Blog with John
We have been looking at my two least favorite F words - Fear of Failure and the four steps that I use to dig to an awareness that can actually help me grow and move forward.
After realizing that fear is keeping me from moving towards my goals, and I finally Declare "I am ready for change”, then I get to Discover what is really going on (in my previous example, it was “fear of failure”). Now I am ready for step three, to Diagnose the reason why this fear has such a grip on me.
I have read a lot of the science about positive thought, willpower, and developing habits, so when I need to do something difficult, I typically start by reminding myself of things I have heard before, like:
- No risk, no reward.
- Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.
- You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.
- 99 percent of success is built on failure.
- You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Even though I believe these, I often find that I love these ideas more than actually doing risky things! So when faced with the opportunity to actually try something and fail, I don’t feel so motivated by these sayings.
How about you? Whether it’s putting yourself out there in a sales meeting, pulling the trigger on a new marketing campaign, presenting before a new group of people, or leading the business/department in a new direction when failure is high probability, do you too find these sayings only goes so far to get you over your fears?
Even though I know all of these sayings and concepts, and I really want to move forward, I shared before that I find myself hesitating because of a Fear of Failure. But now I want to know why that Fear is so strong.
The Diagnose step begins with the transcendental question, "What does failure say about me?” This is the critical question because it looks into the core, the deepest part, my identity. What do I really believe gives my life meaning, purpose, value? This is a question men have been asking themselves for thousands of years. It is a very personal and requires vulnerability, but the answer is empowering and will prepare you to walk in freedom.
It looks like this in my life. After the Discovery Step exposes that I am procrastinating due to Fear of Failure, I continue to the third step to Diagnose why that fear has power in my life. The question I ask myself at this point is “IF I were to fail at this endeavor, what would that mean about me?" You will probably need to ask yourself the question a few times to get to bottom of the excuses, and I often add “Hypothetically” to the front of the question (to soften the blow). This time, my very first thought was, “If I start this project and fail, then I am a failure.”
Hum…now I see why this is a problem. Did you catch it? When I believe my identity is based on my performance (behavior, actions, success), then the outcome of whatever I do defines me. This step reveals the power of fear. It is because in this situation, I had attached my identity to my performance and therefore, the outcome.
No wonder this fear had paralyzed me! It felt like a life and death situation in which I was not prepared, so I froze. This belief guarantees that I will only try things in which I feel confident I can succeed, or I will do anything to win.
This step of Diagnosis started me on the path to clarify my identity so that I could become who I really wanted to be. For example, now I can be authentic with others because my identity is resting securely…not on a slippery slope of my success/abilities. If you are on this journey with me, you are closer to finding hope than you may think. Keep in mind that this is a process that will take time, so cut yourself some slack, and holler at me. I would love to help you find your identity too!
If you are willing to share, I would love to hear from you. When you ask yourself the Diagnosis question, what do you find?
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