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Are you afraid to fail (and talk about it)?

At a recent curated dinner, I asked leaders from a variety of industries to discuss a topic that doesn’t often enter first conversations: failure.

The most successful among us have failed, yet it is a subject riddled with anxiety and fear. We are afraid to be called out as a fraud, so we avoid talking about moments of doubt and insecurity. It is, in fact, the ability to screw up and fail that drives innovation, creativity, clarity, success, and more…

Brené Brown says moments of struggle and failure help us realize who we are.

Seth Godin received hundreds of rejection letters before finding that crack in the system.

Jason Russell and the Invisible Children team hosted countless school assemblies, rallying crowds and spreading their message long before the Kony 2012 video went viral.

Imagine if companies gave “Employee of the Month” awards to those who tried new initiatives and failed. The rule-followers and safe-players? They get pink slips.

Questions to consider:

1. How have failures contributed to the person you are today?
2. How are you encouraging those around you to fail more often?

The anti-resume

I hope one day you realize you don’t need a resume.

The kind of people you want to work with don’t want to see your list of interests and accolades. They don’t care about your work history, what schools you’ve attended, what awards you’ve won.

They want to know what work you’ve put into the world, what you’ve left behind, where you’re going.

The best work stands for itself.

Your resume is the communities that miss you after you’ve left, the imprint you leave behind. The relationships you’ve forged, the lives you’ve touched, and the work that sparkles with your finesse — this is your resume.

When you realize this, you’ll be filled with freedom and independence: titles no longer matter, job descriptions are irrelevant, length of employment fails to indicate your loyalty and value.

Your success doesn’t rest in the hands of another.

Why spend another moment waiting for the phone to ring? You’re worth more than that.

What if you created your own tribe, shipped your own art, designed a viable solution? Don’t wait for opportunities that may never find you. Create them. For yourself.

And change lives along the way.

Do you have enough time — or are you afraid?

I don’t have enough time is a complaint heard in corporate settings, co-working spaces, home offices, and everything in-between. Since you won’t be getting more hours in your day, make sure you’re making the most out of what you have.

1. Cut out nonessentials.

Track your activities throughout the day. Are you spending hours dawdling at the local coffee shop? Could you check Facebook less? Do you say “yes” when you could be saying “no”? Are you accepting tasks that could easily be delegated?

2. Streamline.

Become more efficient in your day-to-day activities. Block out chunks to devote to specific activities and limit distractions during these scheduled appointment times. Combine relevant meetings (and add value by expanding the network of others).

3. Revisit your priorities.

If you really want it done, you’ll make it work. Are your daily decisions reflecting your utmost priorities?

4. Face your fears.

Be honest: Are you afraid? Not having enough time is often a cop out. Is this your excuse to delay an action or plan? Imagine if you accomplished your goal. What would happen if you succeeded?

Pretend you’re gifted with an extra hour today; how would you spend it? Dare yourself to make it happen.

Sometimes the best decision is the wrong one.

We’re bombarded with decisions.

Each day we’re faced with a record number of choices. From seemingly insignificant deliberations:

  • what to eat
  • what to wear
  • calendar scheduling
  • whether to walk or bike
  • branded or generic
  • what gifts to buy

to potentially life altering dilemmas:

  • which job to accept
  • what school to attend
  • who to marry
  • stock investments
  • starting a business
  • having children

It’s no wonder folks shy away from concrete decisions. They’re afraid. The bitterness of failure can paralyze even the most steeled among us. We all want to find the best path and make choices leading to our happiness and success, but the pressure to do so becomes burdensome. As a result, we get in our own way, stunt our growth, and eliminate perfectly good opportunities.

Realize any decision can be a good one, and the fear of making a bad choice subsides.

Wrong decisions can provide valuable information about your next best move. If you are willing to observe and take note of your experience and emotional response, most “mistakes” offer beneficial teaching moments.

Give yourself permission to make wrong decisions.

Growth and advancement requires some measure of commitment, risk, and fearlessness. If you can remove labels and take pressure off each decision, you’ll be able to access more and gain from each experience. Refuse to compromise for an abridged version; focus your vision on long-term growth instead.

12 reasons to delegate

You want to do it all on your own. After all, your way is the best way. Explaining your process takes too much time, and it won’t be done exactly the right way. What’s the use?
Channeling responsibilities can lead to long-term payoffs. Delegate often so that you can:

  1. focus on the big picture
  2. trust
  3. create something sustainable, something that lasts after you’re gone
  4. realize that no one will do it quite like you (and that’s OK)
  5. empower others
  6. be more efficient
  7. learn to ask for help
  8. become a better leader
  9. communicate effectively
  10. build relationships
  11. share your vision
  12. gain flexibility

Prioritize that which absolutely-without-a-doubt demands your attention. Let go of the rest.

Perseverance wins

We’re faced with more choices than ever before. With relative ease, we buy new products, find new partners, reroute our goals. We’re impatient and easily swayed.

Yet success doesn’t often land in the hands of the most skilled. The winners are those who stick with it, push through, stay the course, fall down, and get back up — again and again and again.

Commit to something. Focus your vision and keep going.