“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.”
~Charles F. Kettering

We write a lot about failure, because failure, or more specifically fear of failure, can so easily get in our way.

We often share a question with clients – and strangers. In fact, this question is printed on the back of our business cards. “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” There are, often, so many things we want to accomplish or to at least attempt. And yet the fear of failure can stop us. There are, often, so many dreams we have and hopes we long to fulfill, but, again, the fear of failure can stop us.

My memoir, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, was published last fall. It was a goal I went after single-mindedly, putting one foot in front of the other, picking myself up and dusting myself off again and again for probably close to 20 years. Seriously. I queried new agents and different publishers each time I heard a “No” from someone. I felt like I’d failed with each rejection, but yet I somehow was able to (give myself a day or two off and) act as if it were impossible to fail, and therefore I could send out one more query and one more manuscript draft. And now my book is available at indie bookstores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

I’ve watched as my clients acknowledge the things they want to do and the goals they want to accomplish. I’ve watched as their belief in the impossibility of them achieving their goals gets in the way of them achieving their goals. I’ve watched them decide to believe in the possibility of achieving their goals, and I’ve coached them toward believing in the possibility of achieving their goals. They definitely seem to have more energy and stick-to-it-ness along the way after that decision, and many have gone on to become the CEO or apply to graduate school and get their degree or push through the project they so believe in or find that right job or build that right level of balance and joy into their lives. It seems that believing in the possibility of achieving their goals has helped them in some way.

I know that failure is a part of life and that some of the things we want to do and dreams we want to achieve may never happen, but I also know that believing in ourselves – and in our goals and dreams – is a sure way to give ourselves the tenacity and persistence – and sometimes the absolute stubbornness – that achieving our goals and dreams most likely requires. Believing – and acting – as if it were impossible to fail may just give us the added push we need to not fail.

I think it’s at least worth trying.

How have you learned to believe in the possibility of your success and how has it helped you?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.


If you want more stick-to-it-ness, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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Photo Credit: ADragan/Bigstock.com

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