Failure & Courage

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– by Matt Leedham

I recently read an ancient proverb that got me thinking about my own fears and anxieties.

“Fear and courage are brothers.”

How true! I would also go so far as to add failure to the equation – surely failure, fear, and courage are all siblings (of a very dysfunctional family).

In a recent post (“Congratulations, You Failed!”), I addressed failure’s relationship with success. It would appear that a common trait among the world’s most famous achievers is the ability to fail and keep trying. In fact, the real key to achievement seems to be failing so many times that the average person would give up. But it is at this point that the achiever distinguishes themselves from the average person. It is at this point that the achiever perseveres. He or she learns from the failure one more time…getting just a little closer to success.

But let’s back up for a second and revisit the average person again. I have found, both through personal experience and working with friends and colleagues, that fear of failure is often more of an issue than failure itself. I’m sure you’ve all heard the famous quote made by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 during his inaugural address: “…the only thing we have to fear is, fear itself.” What most people don’t know is that he goes on to say that fear “paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

How true! It is the fear of failure that halts most of our personal progress, achievement, and happiness. If we could all just get comfortable with failure and the fear that comes with the potential of failure, we will have moved mountains in our lives.

So, what it is that allows the great achievers to persevere and the average person to overcome that fear of failure? In one word: courage.
I challenge you to be courageous today. No, that doesn’t mean you need to charge off into the battlefield with reckless abandon like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Be courageous in your own little way. Look within yourself and identify the fear that sits behind your doubt. What is it about? How can you face that fear today? In what small way can you take one step forward?

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try

again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Believe it. Achieve it

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