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Don't Fail, Experiment

A crucial leadership and management skill is the ability to deal with challenges. And to overcome "failures".

We all know that sinking feeling when something goes wrong. The lump in our throat. The gurgle in our stomach. It's horrible isn't it?

And the bigger the challenge the worse the feeling. Right?

We're wired to want the approval of those around us. And so when something goes wrong, we can be overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment.

This is all completely natural. But what if the fear of that feeling stops us trying in the first place? What if we never achieve our goals because we never try?

True failure isn't missing your target, it is never taking a shot. Never taking a risk. Never learning from your mistakes.

But it is harder to try the more you want something, isn't it? The fear of failure is inversely proportionate to the scale of the task. Which means we're even more unlikely to aim for the things we really want, because we anticipate the fear of failure.

How much of your life have you spent dreaming of starting that business, completing that adventure or trying to win a race? Wouldn't you actually like to try?

The good news is there is a simple mindset shift that can transform your thinking.

Stop trying to achieve all of your goal. Instead, start designing little experiments to help you on your way.

Here's a personal example of this working in practice.

For most of my adult life I have wanted to have my own business. To earn my own living doing what I want to do. But I was far to frightened to try. My mind told me:

  • I don't have any experience

  • I can't afford to

  • if you fail you'll lose your house

  • everyone will think I'm crazy

  • I'm probably not built for that.

This changed when I stopped trying to do everything at once. When I just took it step my step with a series of experiments. Here are a few:

  • Can I open a business bank account?

  • Can I build a website that can take money from clients?

  • Can I promote a service on Twitter?

  • Can I run a free online event?

  • Can I run a paid online event?

Can you see that each of these is a challenge, but they are relatively small and the consequences of getting them wrong are minor. In fact, the consequences of getting them wrong (and I did) were positive, because I learned through the process.

At each stage, I made mistakes. At one point I pointed people at a web-page I forgot to publish 🤦‍♂️

But, so what? Hardly anyone saw and I (probably) won't do that again.

And you know something, when I ran that paid event, 5 people came. I didn't charge much. In fact I gave people an option to join for free. But something magical happened.

I made my first pound 💷

In other words, I was in business. And I was ready for the next experiment.

A few months on I have no hesitation in saying "I have my own business". It's fledgling, but I am achieving a life goal that I had avoided for 30 years.

So, what do you want to achieve?

What are you too scared to try?

What's the first experiment you could try?

When will you try it?

Brilliant. You're taking your first shot. It doesn't matter if you miss.

Don't forget, I believe in you. Good luck.

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