There is one universal constant that separates those who have found success from those who sit around and dream of success – fear. Fear is what makes us pause instead of act. Fear is what forces us to sit and watch as others take our ideas and our passions and turn them into fame and fortune. The fear that faces entrepreneurs and other innovators is the simple fear of failure.
“What if it doesn’t work?”
“What if no one buys it?”
“What if I get bad reviews?”
These are the words you have said to yourself a thousand times while waiting for sleep to come to you at night. These are the mantras that you repeat while staring at your screen, your hand poised – but paralyzed – over the keyboard.
Fear is natural. Fear is what has kept us alive. While fear is necessary when you encounter a bear in the woods, it is something that you have to learn to ignore – or at least rationalize through – in the business world. To succumb to fear in the wilderness is to survive. To succumb to fear in the business world is to remain a penniless unknown.
Why should you ignore the fear of failure and proceed with your launch or your new product? Because the worst that can happen is that you will fail. Failure is necessary and beneficial. Research has shown that we learn through failure. A child working a puzzle fails several times a minute but every failure teaches a lesson and eventually the child has a completed picture in front of her. If she listened to her fear of failure, of not being good enough or smart enough, then the puzzle would remain incomplete and she would never gain the confidence to try more complex tasks.
The same holds true for you. If your product fails then you will have learned a valuable lesson and you will have reached a critical point in your journey to success – deciding what to do next. If you give up, if you throw the puzzle pieces back in the box, then you will have a safe but average life. However, if you sit back and reflect on your failed launch and pick up the good pieces and throw out the bad, then you can start over armed with knowledge and experience.
The sad thing is that we often fail to realize that the consequences of failure are worse than the consequences of inaction. We think that we will be better off doing nothing than doing something and failing. It is not until too late that we realize that we have let the years slip by and achieved nothing. We sat on our hands and kept reading books and watching videos looking for that one thing that will guarantee success and eliminate the possibility of failure.
But it doesn’t exist. You know it doesn’t. Failure is how you learn. Failure is how you adapt. Guaranteed success is not only impossible, it’s boring. It’s time to take the plunge and stop looking back. It’s time to fail. You’ll be glad you did.