I sat through a training program for a group of middle managers today, and as I heard many of them talk about their fears’ in life, it struck me that so many of them are afraid of failure ?
And I began to wonder, what drives us to be afraid of failure ? Is it the fear of the consequences of failure ? Is it the fear of rejection ? Is it the fear of ‘falling’ in somebody’s eyes ?
I said to myself………why should I be afraid of failure ?
I am afraid of not failing.
If I am not failing, I am not stretching enough. If I am not failing, I am not doing things differently; not trying new things. Failure to me is an opportunity, because each failure gives me the chance to standup and try again. Each failure teaches me a lesson that I could not have learnt otherwise.
But as I asked myself, if I am not afraid, why are all these managers afraid ? What makes them afraid ? Have we, as leaders, become less tolerant of others’ failures than our bosses were, when we were younger ? Are we rewarding success to the extent that ‘not winning’ is not an option any longer ? Have we tried to reward failure ? We coach our teams’ on winning, but have we spent time with our teams’ to coach them on the value of failure ?
I am afraid of a company, or a country in which its leaders are afraid of failure. Failure is the pre-requisite for progress…..nobody has achieved greatness without failing.
I think each of us has to stop and ask ourselves….are we afraid of failure ? If yes, why ? Has anything bad come to us when we failed ? Or are we using this as a ‘cover’ for not trying, for not taking decisions?
And as a leader, I perhaps have failed, if my team is afraid of failure. But this too is a lesson……and I am not afraid of this failure.
Neeraj, I mirror your thoughts but would like to add that the will to endure is built upon the hope that you have. My experience is that if you are anchored spiritually and submit to God’s authority you will fear nothing. Suffering or Failure is a part of life and like after every valley there is a high place, after every challenge there is Glory.