Posted 26/04/2016

Mistakes are the fees we pay for living life.

Who wants to fail? Not me that’s for sure!

If you heard my keynote speech at the fantastic Entrepreneur Country Forum recently you’ll know that I’m passionate about sharing my experiences. One of these is how facing your fears can help you grow personally and professionally.

I also enjoyed sharing famous quotes and explaining what they mean to me. This is something we embraced when I was CEO at Telecity, as we shared famous quotes that were inspired by famous people from our global data center locations. Many of these quotes have stuck with me and become firm favourites, including these famous words:

“Mistakes are the fees we pay for living a full life” – Sophia Loren

For me this sums life up. We do our best, we try our hardest, we make choices and decisions, all the time waiting and hoping to see the results we want. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes we trip up, sometimes we make a mistake, and sometimes we ‘fail’ – and that failure can be frightening.

But to live in fear of making mistakes, or of perceived ‘failure’ is to me more frightening than anything else.

After all, who wants to fail? Not me that’s for sure. But I’m not afraid to fail trying – and I certainly won’t let the fear of making a mistake hold me back.

If you live in fear of the consequences you will never take action. And without action here can be no reaction, no result, no learning, and no growth.

How will you ever progress if you are paralysed by fear? How will your business evolve? How will your vision become a reality?

To be a great leader you must not live in fear – and that includes being too fearful to let the people around you lead. It is your job to create new leaders and managers, not to micromanage others because you fear the consequences of setting them free to be creative, to come up with their own ideas and solutions, and to put them in to practice.

If you find yourself managing every person or every task ask yourself this; is your fear holding you and your team back? And if it is, if you truly fear giving someone else the control and the autonomy to do what they think is best, then ask yourself why.

Have you failed to impart your vision clearly so that your team can create it? Or have you failed to recognise the right people for the right job?

Deal with what’s causing you to live in fear and stop letting it hold you, and your team, back.

Fear is irrational, so make it work for you by turning it into a rational process. Embrace fear to encourage methodical thoughts, attention to detail, and alternative solutions if the first ideas fail. Just don’t, whatever you do, be afraid to make mistakes trying. Embrace mistakes as new opportunities to learn and develop, and in the words of Susan Jeffers “feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Now replace the word FAILURE in your vocabulary with the word LEARNING. Instead of achieving success or failure, we have the option of success or learning, and we can be happy to give everything a chance. We send our kids to school and often pay handsomely for the privilege of them not being able to do or understand something on day one, and achievement on day 100. This is something we refer to as LEARNING, yet its made up of a series of mistakes and failures. Hard work reduces the occurrence but failure is a fundamental part of our learning curve.

If we see FAILURE as LEARNING, we will approach risk without fear.

And after all, all we are trying to do is eliminate the irrational emotion of fear to go for achievements that we are capable of, yet we self deny.

Find out more about facing up to fear in Forget Strategy, Get Results

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