There’s only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: fear of failure. Today I recognize the fear of failure I have isn’t doing anything and that allows me to step through it. I just made videos to apply for the Facebook Ad awards and I made the mistake of looking at last year’s winners. They are companies like Proctor and Gamble, Mercedes Benz, and companies that looked intimidating. All I could see was how small I was when I looked at that.
I’m one little guy in a bedroom in his house playing his little game against big companies with big budgets. I felt that fear of failure suffocate me. I felt that fear that I’m not good enough, I can’t do anything, I am not worth anything. I looked at it and asked myself is this worth anything? I had to ask myself is this helping me? Is this fear doing something useful for me?
Fear is useful lots of times. Do you walk up to the edge of a building, but you’re afraid to jump off of it? That’s helpful. That allows your continued survival. If you walk up to the stove and the burner is hot and you’re afraid to stick your hand on it, that’s good. Unfortunately, that fear of failure was programmed into other programs that we do.
For me, I didn’t see how hard I was willing to work to avoid failing. I have another great example of this the other day. I was sitting in the parking lot of LA Fitness. My wife ordered PeiWei take out which was right across the street. I saw they were making a new restaurant and I was afraid it was in the same place where PeiWei used to be. I spent 5 minutes looking at my phone in Google Maps looking to see where PeiWei was. Then, I drove over there I saw it was in the same place it had always been. In fact, after I spent 5 minutes looking for it, I looked up and realized I could see the sign for it right out of the window. I got a laugh because I spent 5 minutes being afraid of driving around and being lost. I spent 5 minutes trying to avoid a meaningless little failure.
The way I used to live my life, most of the things I did were set up to avoid failures. Most of the school work I did was not out of love that I had for school, it was out of being afraid to get a bad grade. If I would’ve been doing it out of love, I would’ve dropped doing school long before. I had little love for doing school for a long time. I was motivated out of fear that I would look bad and motivated to do something that would make me look good. What I do here today is out of love. I am not sitting here trying to do something because I’m afraid of not doing it. I’m doing this because I love you and I want you to have the best life possible.
I’m lucky that I had to face my fears because my fears were screwed up. You might have a life that’s a little easier and yet. I’ve found that the less messed up your life is, the harder it is to find motivation to do a little bit better. If things are working pretty well in your life, the obvious thing it to keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t have to try to figure out how to do anything better. The people I’ve seen that are consistently miserable are the ones that are boxed in by their fears. They can’t do anything new because there’s too much fear of failure. They don’t like what they are doing, but there’s nothing they can do about it. Today I have to face my fear of failure every single day.
I am afraid you won’t like this post. I’m afraid that you won’t think it’s good enough to share. I’m afraid you’ll say something negative on it, but I’m here making it out of the love that I have for you. I’m here making it because the fear is not helpful.
I was afraid of submitting an award to the Facebook Awards studio. The only way it could be helpful is to save me a little bit of time. If it takes an hour to apply for a Facebook award and I have a unique experience to share, then the fear isn’t worth it. I can see the base of the fear is I don’t want to lose. The main fear that is there is that I don’t want to have the award date pass by and not win it.
I applied to win some small business award in the chamber of commerce a couple of years ago. Man I was mad they didn’t select me! I looked at the person they did select and I thought they didn’t do a tenth of the cool things I have done. However, they had done a lot more in the community than I had done. I had done a lot online, but in Sarasota, no one cares what you have done online. They care what you’ve done in Sarasota. When you do anything, if you can see what you’re afraid of then you can make a choice about it. If you can’t see what you’re afraid of your fear often will make a choice for you if your fear behaves anything like I do. If I can see the fear motivation behind anything I’m doing, then I can see whether I’m acting out of love or fear.
The default program for many of us is to act out of fear and this is devastating when it comes to things like finances. How hard are you willing to work to avoid a financial failure? What I’ve done in my business is completely against how I was programmed. I borrowed a lot of money, I wasted a lot of money, I messed a lot of things up. I nearly went bankrupt. Yet, now I have something that’s working so well people think it was easy.
I got these great results with my business because I was able to acknowledge and work through loss and fear. If you want your dreams to come through, there’s a lot of overcoming fear involved in every stage. Your dream never gets big enough and it never comes true enough where there’s not some fear in the way.
I can easily look at things now and say there’s nothing to be afraid of. Yet, the more you accomplish, the more you make your dreams real, the fear of losing them can be crippling. For me, I feel like I shouldn’t do anything else and just leave my business the way it is. It’s the only safe way I could not mess it up. If I put another lecture up on Udemy, I could risk messing up my Udemy account. Every Google Ad I make, I can risk messing up my account. Every Facebook Ad is the same way.
Fear can be crippling and fear often gets in the way of not doing anything new. With finances especially, I used to collect all the receipts I had and then write down all the tips. I used to spend hundreds of hours because I was afraid that when I tipped at a restaurant they would put in a higher tip. I never saw that happen once. I wasted hundreds of hours to avoid a theoretical fear.
Now imagine putting all those hours into actually producing something. Even imagine if I got paid $5/hour on those 100 hours – I would’ve made $500. Today I write down my tips and I never check on my finances. A lot of times a restaurant could stick me for $100 extra dollars and I wouldn’t even know it. Today I funnel my extra energy into doing more good. I was programmed to funnel my energy to minimize risk.
If you want to have the amazing life of service you’re meant to have here, you don’t get to minimize risk. You get to get punched in the face over and over and over again and yet, every time you learn from it. You don’t have to get punched in the face the exact same way. You try new ways and then you start learning to avoid failures and set up systems where you can tolerate them. I can tolerate if a waiter decides to throw an extra $100 on my credit card because I’m working to make more. If I save those $100 and by spending 100 hours of effort to avoid that problem, then that’s $1/hour. I can make $10, $100, or $1000 an hour when I invest my energy into doing good and cut the time I put into minimizing risk.
I pray today that I remember that the only way I will not be able to accomplish my dream is fear. I pray to continue to be aware of my fear of failure. I pray to look at it objectively and ask is this helping or is it holding me back. I pray that you have the same chance today to acknowledge the fear you have in your life. I pray that you ask if it’s helpful or not in moving forward in what you’re trying to do and build today. Thank you for reading this. I value your feedback. Have a great day.