Want to NEVER fail again?

art of encore living personal development Aug 01, 2022

What keeps you from succeeding?

Failure may be the obvious answer.

But I think it's actually a level deeper. I think it's fear of failure.

And what is fear of failure?

A story you tell yourself about your self.

In Onward: Where Certainty Ends, Possibility Begins, I shared a riff (or was it a rant?) called "Choose your story, choose your future."

Maybe it was actually a "riffrant?"

(Those of you who know me from my long tenure as a head coach in Seth Godin's Akimbo Workshops may remember my coining that term.)


The point is that the stories we tell ourselves become self-fulfilling prophecies.

The stories you tell yourself frame your possibilities or, more to the point, the lack thereof.

Given your choice, why wouldn't you choose stories that encourage you to pursue your potential with greater joy and equanimity?

Let's reframe.

What is failure really?

It simply means that you didn't achieve the outcome you set out for. 

"Things didn't work out the way I expected..."

Ooooh, so scary. TERRIFYING. Better give up. Actually, better not try!

Do these conversations you have inside your head make any real sense to you?

When you were an infant, did fear of failure keep you from speaking?

When you were a toddler, did the fact that "This might not work?" paralyze you with despair and keep you crawling around on your hands and knees.

Of course not.

Your initial attempts at doing anything worthy of your time, attention, and effort never worked out. Did you fail?


You discovered something valuable with every attempt that didn't entirely succeed.

And you processed what you discovered and iterated your next attempt.

You learned and you grew from every "failure."

And over time you learned to talk and walk.

Sure, at first, the articulations and mobility were executed haltingly and shakily.

But over time, you went from talking and walking poorly to doing it all day without thinking about it (AKA "mastery" or "excellence.")

Choose your story, choose your future.

Most failures are not lethal or final.

They're lessons learned through experimentation that can be applied to the next iteration of your pursuit.

Failures are discoveries.

What if, just for today, you eliminated "failure" from your vocabulary and replaced it with "discovery?"

How might that change your story?

How might that change your Self?

How might that change everything?

Scott Perry, Encore Life Coach at The Art of Encore Living

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