What if you fail? That’s the fear, right? We try something, it goes horribly, and we look stupid.
Let me go ahead and deflate this concern. You’re going to fail.
You and I are going to fail at a lot of things. We’re going to be horrible! Especially at things we’ve never done before. But here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s what will save us – we’re going to fail at things that matter.
My thought is that if you’re going to risk, and maybe even fail, fail at something that matters, so that even in failure, lives are changed. That’s what I thought when we decided to raise an additional $30,000 and build a second kindergarten in Vietnam a few years ago on my blog. We already had our home run moment. We had our newspaper headline, “Blogger raises $30,000 in 18 hours.” We had succeeded! We could have put a period on the end of that sentence and moved on.
But it turns out that exclamation marks are a lot more fun. They’re harder to get, certainly, but they are way more awesome. So we decided to do it again–the day after we had finished the first campaign. I knew that if we failed and only raised $10,000, that money would still help kids in Vietnam. We would have failed, but the results would still be glorious. So my motto became “Fail Gloriously!”
The only real type of failure is when you succeed at something that doesn’t matter. That’s the kind of failure you should avoid at all possible costs.
Think about it. If you succeed at something that doesn’t matter, who cares? It doesn’t matter. If you fail at something that doesn’t matter, that’s twice as bad. You failed and the thing you gave your life to didn’t matter in the first place.
So do things that matter. And when fear tells you that you might fail, say “I know, but it will be glorious.”