It was 3 a.m. and my mind was racing. I couldn’t sleep. My worst fear was becoming my reality. I am a failure.
I was pretty sure that by sunrise I was going to call my old boss and beg for my old job back. I didn’t want that job. I didn’t love that job. But it paid the bills. Who was I kidding anyway? I am not an entrepreneur.
I knew this could happen. Smart people who cared about me provided ample warning. “Bad timing.” “Crowded space.” “Changing industry.” “What makes you think you can actually do that for a living?” Now I was getting exposed. I am fraud.
After all, I was the guy listening to the book “Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway”every time I got into my car for two years. I was stuck and the fear of change (or actually, the fear of failure) was holding me back.
I’d finally found the courage to make my move and start a business. Now, just a year into it, I felt even more uncertain about my decision.
Here’s the truth. I wasn’t a failure or a fraud. That was just a story I invented in the middle of the night to fuel my fear. That is a dangerous place to spend time because it’s usually where bad decisions happen. What I didn’t understand in that moment was something I have to come to believe through my own experience:
Failure is the path to achievement.
My entrepreneurial journey was just beginning. The epic failure would have been quitting during that essential learning curve. Through my experience, I’ve learned a few techniques to more effectively confront my fear and use it to my benefit. I’ve also evolved my definition of failure. I shed a little more light on my experience with fear and failure in this video:
Most of the time the real failure is not trying. It might not get easier, but you can always get better.
Ryan Estis helps companies and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance. Each live event blends original research with compelling stories that move participants to take action. Ryan has 20 years of business experience working with the world’s best brands to initiate change, inspire innovation and deliver growth. Learn more about Ryan Estis.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.