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Learning From Failure

3 08 2006

Growing into success is not an easy thing to experience. You will really get knocked around a bit as you determine to win in your chosen career. The biggest drawback you have to deal with is the fear of failure. It can lead to many disastrous outcomes.

The first thing fear of failure does is breed an overcautious approach to opportunity.

Knowing when and how to utilize opportunity is fundamental to career success. Having knowledge about the opportunity, you then need to determine timing. Pros and cons listed, you make your decision. If you have a fear of failure, you might be stalled in your decision even though the opportunity passes scrutiny.

Secondly, fear of failure can keep you from speaking up and making the kind of impact that could enhance your career.

A well-spoken word that solves a problem or sparks creativity could be just the thing to get you noticed as a valuable part of the team, but if you’re sitting there stewing over the kind of response you’ll get, then more times than not, you’ll remain silent and miss your moment to shine.

Thirdly, fear of failure causes you to miss the point of personal and professional growth.

Failing is one of the best tutors in career development. Consider the story of a new bank president who went to meet his predecessor. Upon being introduced he quickly said, “I would like to know what have been the keys to your success.” The older man looked at him for a moment and replied, “Young man, I can sum it up in two words: Good decisions.” To that the young man replied, “I thank you immensely for that advice, sir, but how does one come to know which are the good decisions?” “One word, young man,” replied the old man. “Experience.” “That’s all good and well,” said the young executive, “but how does one get experience?” “Two words,” replied the old man, “Bad decisions.”

If you really want to succeed, be prepared to grow into it. Lose your fear of failure and risk doing something that’s important to you. You’ll be glad you did.

Lou Stoops is a Pastor, writer, speaker and actor. His column Positively Speaking appears in Employment Weekly and he is currently developing a one-minute radio commentary series for national syndication.

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