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The fear of failure

The number of times I’ve screwed up is not even funny. 
A few years ago I was running a business that tanked overnight because I didn’t see changes in the market coming. Believe me, that was not a LitUpp weekend.
But besides the pain in my wallet, I carried these nasty feelings of shame and embarrassment around for way too long afterwards. 
I’ve always been kind of out there, making a big noise about entrepreneurship and shaping your own destiny. There are plenty of people who don’t like me because of that, and I couldn’t stop picturing them standing round laughing at me. 
That is a REALLY a downer to think about!

So much of what we do is about how other people will react. And the fear that maybe people will laugh is an absolute killer.

That’s why so many people are so cynical. It’s the easy option!
They think they look smart if they can smirk and say, “yeah, I knew that’d never work.” 
Duh! Yeah of course we never have to get embarrassed if we never try. 
So many people are so afraid of failing that they never do anything. But can you imagine how different life would be if you forgot all about the cynics and the negative people?
One of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have is the ability to admit when they’re wrong and just say, ”okay yeah, I failed, but I won’t let that define me because IT’S NOT who I am.”
We need to find the strength to get back up and keep trying. 
If I hadn’t failed a thousand times over the years, I never would have got where I am today. The first few things I did were disasters – but I learned from them, and I made sure I didn’t make the same mistakes again. 

99% of the success stories we see on Facebook aren’t true (or they’re only half true). No one gets success without making a bunch of mistakes first. 

Ok, sure, But what about all those teenagers who are already killing it on instagram or youtube or whatever?
I guarantee you that the overwhelming majority of the young stars you see – in whatever field – aren’t doing it alone. They have family connections or well-paid mentors and managers working behind the scenes. But of course it makes for a better story if it looks like they succeeded by themselves so we never get to see all the help they received.
The rest of us don’t have those kind of connections, but the cool thing about making mistakes is that we can get the experience we need through trying and failing and learning.  
It can be painful sometimes – but it should also be a hell of a lot of fun. Nothing makes us feel more alive and energized than pushing forwards and working with good friends to make cool stuff happen. 
And if we’re not totally stressed about failing all the time then we can have a laugh while we’re doing it too. Better to try and fail a thousand times – and have a great time doing it – than to get to a place where you’re too old or too deeply rooted and realize that you never really lived.

One last thing: when I first started out I thought success was about getting from A to B. But my B today is a million miles from what I thought it was in my early 20s. All those mistakes I made helped me find out who I was and where my talents lay.

Btw – back then I used to work with a friend called Brian. Thing is, he found out that entrepreneurship wasn’t for him. Too much stress. He’s a bus driver now. He lives a quiet life in a small town with his daughters and his wife, and he’s one of the happiest guys I know. The point is that he found out what he wanted. 
Maybe the goals I have today aren’t the same goals I’ll have tomorrow and that’s okay. It’s an ongoing process to find out where we’re going.

You can choose to see failure as a sign of weakness OR you can look at it as a learning experience. In other words, you can let your fear of what other people might think of you define your life – or you can choose to live the life you really want.

 

Stay LitUpp, people!

 

// Kjenneth

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