What would you do if you were not afraid?
That 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.
But 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.
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