It’s fear of failure that holds us back
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
The gift of a new year brings new beginnings. A fresh start. Another chance to get “it” right.
As 2014 ends, many of us review the closing year and those who are optimistic look toward the new year with renewed hope and enthusiasm. Like many of you, I swore off New Year’s resolutions years ago. Although I am a compulsive planner, creating resolutions often seemed an exercise in futility. Daily routines would take over and my intentions would be a distant memory.
Something subtly changed about five or six years ago. It was not an epiphany as in some sudden spiritual awakening. It was simply the realization that if I was going to make a difference in my community and be more satisfied with my own life, I needed to move in a different direction. It came in small steps, without a real vision of where I was headed. Still, I resisted setting concrete goals. Really, who wants to set themselves up for failure?
Failure — it is an intensely pessimistic word. What if Walt Disney or Henry Ford had simply quit trying after their first attempts failed? For one, I would be trying to find a different vacation spot with my grandchildren. We might still be using horse and buggy transportation. OK, maybe not, but you get my point. But still failure terrifies us. I have experienced it — and I never want to experience it again.
Yet it is that fear of failure that holds us back. It keeps us in the safe zone. It is the perpetuator of the status quo. It is our “common sense” that smacks us up side the head and reminds us that if we try something new, something bold and unpredictable we will — of course — fail again.
It is time to tell that little voice of reason,“thank you for the advice … but please be quiet.” It is time to take a step toward something that is bigger than yourself; something that calls to you.
As Dennis Waitley noted, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”
I don’t know about you, but saying, being and doing nothing in 2015 doesn’t sound like much fun. It won’t encourage us, our families or communities to do and be something more.
For me, I made a decision to participate and get involved through the city. It was a way to give back to a community that has provided so much to my family over generations. For others, it could be volunteering at the hospital or school or helping someone learn to read or write. Some may have a desire to learn a new language or skill or finish a degree. Still others want to get back to the artwork or music that inspired them before life was put on autopilot. Whatever your dream was or is, now it is time to take a small step toward it.
Last December, for the first time I can remember, I set some specific goals. Did I hit the mark on every one of them? Absolutely not, but I moved the marker a little closer than I would have if I had not set them.
Am I discouraged and beating myself up over the ones I missed? Not at all. Some may even make it back onto the list this year. Along with the goals, I am determined to make every day the best day of the year. 2014 has been a wonderful year of growth, challenge and clarity. But there is still work to be done … and my goals for 2015 are under way.
How about yours? Don’t let 2015 go by without moving toward your dream. Make every day the best day.
Kathy Trauger is a Glenwood Springs resident and writer who blogs about Glenwood Springs at http://www.ourtownglenwoodsprings.com. Her Perspectives column in the Post Independent appears on the first Friday of the month.
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