How I stop worrying about failure

A big bear that used to hunt me (no, not a real one) was:

What if I fail? 

Say you're in a reasonably good position as you are. You have a job, maybe some money in the bank. Your co-workers are alright. You’ve got a nice-ish place.

Why would you risk it all for some…pipe dream?

Firstly, we can ask ourselves what we define failure as. 

For example, would it be getting sacked from a job? Have a relationship end? Not achieve everything in our dream after the first year? Or month? Or week? Is failure running out of money? Having to get a part time job for a while? Feeling the same as we always did?

The question is: How do you know when you’ve failed? (Different answers depending on who you ask. For example, some people might say not getting into university is a failure…but we all know plenty of people who didn’t let THAT stand in their way)

And what about the alternative? 

That is: not trying for the dream.

Would you think of that as failure?

When challenges (bad stuff/nightmare days and weird horrible things happen) arise, it can be easy to think that we’ve failed. 

We feel like we were stupid to have tried. 

You know what I’ve found? That the challenges - the bad, challenging scary stuff that has happened ASKS us how much we want our dream.

When we decide to commit to something it’s almost as if there’s a load of icky, doubt gremlins standing around with their little swords asking ‘RAH! YAH! HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT THIS?'

The question might just be the next challenge. A day that didn’t go to plan. The next bend in the road, a new chapter in the story.


It might hurt, yes, it might be a big ball of raw, intense pain and discomfort, but it isn’t failure until YOU SAY IT IS.

You see, I hold this close to my heart:

Failure isn’t really failure unless you give up.

You can earn more money.

There’ll be someone else to love and love you. 

You can get another job. Or start another business. Or move to another place. Or start again. 

You can make more friends. You can do something different.

You can tell the story a different way. 

It’s why there’s no point in going for something half-arsed. Because as Tama Kieves puts it so eloquently: Only the real dream has power.

Only the one that melts your heart and makes you soar with angels. That gets you ‘happy dance’ excited and burns in your soul. The one that dances in your eyes and makes you gesticulate so wildly you spill the coffee and the pastries and everyone is slightly embarrassed. 

That power begets our persistence. Our passion ignites  (relights or re-relights) our enthusiasm. Our words decide how the story ends. It’s the WHY that makes you decide that however shitty it seems to be going, you’ll keep at it. Whatever it takes. 

Failure isn’t failure unless you give up. 

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