31 Days to a Dream: Don’t Fear Failure

What would you do if you were not afraid?

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't workThat is the question I asked myself a few years ago when my husband and children wanted to ride their bicycles from Alaska to Argentina.

And when I got really honest with myself, I had to admit that, if I wasn’t afraid, I would go with them.

The trouble was that I WAS afraid. Very afraid. Terrified, in fact.

I was afraid that the mountains would be too high, or the headwinds too strong. The cold would be too cold and the hot would be too hot.

But when I was really, really honest with myself, I realized that it wasn’t the high mountains or headwinds that I feared. I was afraid of failure.

I was afraid that I couldn’t do it and would have to come back home with my tail between my legs.

In order to avoid the agony of defeat and humiliation of admitting I couldn’t do it, I had convinced myself that it was better not to try at all. If I never set out in the first place, I would never have to crawl back home, defeated.

you haven't failed until you quit tryingBut then one night I had one of those eureka moments – a moment when I realized just how silly I was being. That night, as I lay in my bed trying to sleep, I realized that if I tried – if I started pedaling – I did face the possibility of defeat. In fact, I figured there was probably a 50/50 chance I would fail.

But I also realized that if I never took that very first pedal stroke, I was looking at a 100% chance of failure.

When I looked at it from that perspective, I realized it made no sense not to try. I might fail – in fact, I had a very good chance of failing. But I might not fail. I might possibly succeed.

The rest, as they say, is history. Together with my husband and children, I flew to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and we spent the next three years pedaling south.

In the end, I didn’t fail. In the end, I did it. I pedaled 17,000 miles through fifteen countries. But it never would have happened if I wasn’t willing to risk failure.

Don’t fear failure. Redefine it. You haven’t truly failed until you’ve quit trying.

decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it

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Here are the other posts in this series:

Day 1: Define your dream

Day 2: Believe in yourself

Day 3: Believe in your dream

Day 4: Break out of the rut

Day 5: Go public with your idea

Day 6: Don’t fear failure

Day 7: Change your mindset

Day 8: Commit to your dream

Day 9: Celebrate small successes

 

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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4 Responses to 31 Days to a Dream: Don’t Fear Failure

  1. Barbara Weibel February 25, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    A great perspective on facing fears.

    [Reply]

  2. Rossitsa February 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Hallo Brave and Happy Family!

    It´s always inspiring to come across people WHO DARE TO LIVE!!! Daring to follow your heart and your mind – despite fears! My life is often climbing to higher consciousness: everything new requires of us to rethink our values, our lifestyle, our personality. I´ve chosen LIFE for a teacher, so it is never boring, often challenging, sometimes also scary, yet I keep move forward. Even when I tried sometimes to get too comfortable, LIFE finds a way to get me going – and it is OK so.
    I like you website, it is wonderful! i sure will come visit you again.
    Joyful greetings

    Rossitsa

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Rossitsa, I think the key is being willing to get out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone may be comfortable, but you grow when you get out of it.

    [Reply]

  3. wandering educators March 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Excellent. will share!

    [Reply]

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