Do You Have The Guts To Fail…?

Do You Have The Guts To Fail…?

The Volatility, Unprecedentedness, COVID Challenges and Ambiguity of times such as this has forced us to relook at our perspective and take steps that we would have advocated against earlier.

Well, in all probability, we would have managed this aspect without attracting anyone’s attention by skirting the issue. However, the Volatility, Unprecedentedness, COVID Challenges and Ambiguity of times such as this has forced us to relook at our perspective and take steps that we would have advocated against earlier. Perhaps, it was so because we mostly stayed averse to take significant steps to avoid any possibility of failures or played safe to avoid questions from business leaders. However, it is evident that people have taken the plunge from the safety of a boat to walk on the water amidst the storm, taking the first steps that were seemingly impossible some time ago.


Ideally, we should have stepped outside the boat signifying our comfort zone much earlier. However, traditional leaders have been staying off from such an approach as they always want people to flock around them without questioning the efficacy or rationale behind the leaders’ uttered moves. The ‘Yes boss’ mentality has only added to the woes. Post COVID-19, leaders have begun to understand what innovators have always known - that failure is a prelude to innovation. Breakthrough results, product, or process always encompass responsible risk-taking capabilities and the ability to learn from unavoidable mistakes. The fear of failure can choke both learning and success. Anxiety comes along as a gift for such a risk-averse mindset, and at its worst, can emotionally paralyse your ability to think more and do more.


Over the years, through various studies and researches, many psychologists have recognised that the underlying cause of fear of failure is, in fact, a phobia of the resulting shame or embarrassment. This calls for a mindset shift to make the impossible possible.


You need to knock out these pullback blocks depicting your fears on the left side and move on to the right side to actualise your fullest potential. The path to your greatest potential might be travelling straight through your what-ifs, fears, holdbacks. And, this is much beyond that symbolic standing in front of the mirror and saying to yourself, “yes I can do it” day after day. That is because; the fear at the core needs to be faced with courage and motivation. The negative voice that tells you that ‘you cannot do it’ needs to be addressed from within in the first place as the superficial and repeated mirrorfacing positive strokes might be draining you in the long run. Feed your hunger to do more, chase victory that lies beyond the shadows of fears by aligning your purpose of life. Once you identify and firm up your purpose of life, get moving to goals and targets to actualise those purposes that shout your inherent values.


In the season of contingencies, let us challenge ourselves to evolve and tell ourselves that it is absolutely okay to fail, learn from failures and create a culture of innovation and creativity. In fact, it is yet another opportunity to change our narrative and ink an approach goal to make it concrete.


A five-paddle approach


A five-paddle approach can be immensely helpful to break free from the shackles of fear:


Deal with your perceptions about failure: Revisit and recalibrate your fear factors. Think through the fears that you have and isolate the anxiety of going wrong, the fear of looking foolish, not meeting expectations or falling from grace. Focus on success and define what it takes to be successful including responsible risks. Remember you make it only when you attempt it. The path to your greatest potential is straight through your biggest fear.


Make a “pullback list”: Take a piece of paper, list out why you had to wait for COVID-19 to do things that you could have done so easily earlier. List out if there are any fear factors that are pulling you back even now. What are the risks that are preventing you from implementing a possible game-changing idea? List out everything that you are afraid to do to succeed in all that you do in isolation. Your hardest challenges can result in some of your biggest successes. If nobody had challenged the traditional strongholds in our societies like child marriage, dowry, female infanticide, discrimination etc. those practices would have stayed on. Trigger your thoughts aimed at overcoming the very facts that are holding you back and fall forward. You cannot drive your car forward by gawking continuously at the things of the past in the rearview mirror.


Set tactical goals: Get practical by setting doable tactical goals based on what you are motivated to achieve. It is an established fact that creating smart and tactical goals are beneficial for holistic wellness and provide an unparalleled sense of joy. The power of our unconscious mind can push us to ink goals to avoid our fears. The resultant inaction that stems out of the tussle between what we do not want to happen and what we really want to happen can be costly.


Take the plunge: This is all about taking the first step and move beyond the comfort zone, even if you are sailing at a good speed. Remember, it is when you feel comfortable that you should be fearful, because it is a sign that you are not stepping far enough out of your boat of the comfort zone to take steps that will help you walk on the water and thrive.


Focus on learning from failures: One should never position failure as full and final or an irreversible loss. Every failure is actually a learning event. It is not about loss, it is either a win or learning. The chips will not always fall where you want them to fall. It is for you to squeeze the most value out of such experiences, irrespective of the outcomes.


Fall forward


Rethink your fears of failure by using the five steps, and see how you achieve your most important goals. It is okay to be afraid knowing that the unknown can be scary, but you cannot let that be the end of your story. Times such as these have demonstrated the immense growth zone beyond the comfort zones that is up for grabs only if we are ready to take the first step.


The tools that God has given each one of us are power, love, and a sound mind and that would strengthen us to move forward. Ideally, “status-quo” zones would push you backwards and farther from the goals that you otherwise could have achieved. Fear keeps you stuck but falling forward sets the ball rolling. Your future self will be thanking you for those steps you take today.


Challenge your boundaries consistently. Empower yourselves from within to stay off from making populist decisions or self-centric decisions. Nudge the perceptional inclination of getting other’s approval, or fear their disapproval, and rather give a try, go creative, innovative and logical. Keep your faith and passion ignited to snatch the victory from the shadow of fear.


Well, too much analysis can lead to paralysis, and in such times, we cannot afford to stay static. We got to move faster to break the shackles of fears and be innovative. Inculcate the guts to fail, as that makes the seemingly impossible possible. Keep learning….




Jaydeep Das is International Head – People & Culture, Children Believe. Prior to his association with Children Believe, he has provided his leadership to major INGOs like ChildFund International and WorldVision besides other Corporates in the Healthcare domain at a senior level. Jaydeep has been helping organisations to augment impact and influence through people, purpose, programmes and processes by strategic transformational interventions.


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