As I stood in front of that board back in 1992, I began to sweat profusely. I was feeling numb and the first signs of anxiety started to show. My hands were tingling and the palms sweaty. I blocked out the voices and physical presence on both sides. People started to pat me on the back. Rub my shoulders in that non sexy, painful massage way. It was A-Level results day.
Two years. Actually 18 months. No; actually 12 or 13 months of working hard and the rest of being pulled along because I was bored, had found alcohol and girls. This was it. This was when I realised that i would have to go home and tell my parents I’d screwed up. I’d messed up. I’d failed. And not because I wasn’t bright enough. I’d just fallen in to a trap of wanting to become like everyone else, rather than perceived as square, dull, nerdy and boring. I was scared of failing.
The thoughts of me telling my mum I’d wasted two years of my life wasn’t good. The thought of telling my dad was bloody frightening in itself. The word ‘disappointing’, (a word that I hear often from them and now drives me), was about to ring around my head and be used in telephone conversations up and down the country by members of my family who only saw me at most twice a year. But here it comes…
Failure is a Source of Divine Intervention
Failure according to the dictionary is noun that means ‘lack of success’ or ‘the neglect or omission of expected or required action’. Which means it’s successful in covering most of the bases.
Some of the most famous and most successful people on the planet were failing before they became successful. Jim Carey dropped out of school to work as a janitor to support his family, got ‘booed’ off his first stand up gig and failed to land a gig on “Saturday Night Live’ before hitting the big time.
Katy Perry’s first album sold only 200; yes, you read that right; 200 copies and was dropped from three record labels before she became famous with ‘I Kissed a Girl’…and we all liked it.
Oprah Winfrey was sexually abused between the ages of 9 and 14 by family members. Fired from journalist jobs. Fired from TV jobs for being ‘unfit for TV’; (which is American for too large apparently). She now runs her own TV network called ‘OWN’.
There are countless examples of other famous and successful people facing adversities and beating the odds. Not many talk and talk about it, but if you look deeply enough you’ll see that their failures have driven them on and ‘made them’ into the people they are today. It has become spiritual and the reason ‘WHY’ they drive themselves so much. Failure stopped being an option.
How To Overcome Your Fear of Failure
Making mistakes is a part of life, and as these eight stories make clear, failure is nothing to fear. In fact, failure can be a direct path to success. Here are some ways to not let failure get in the way from you ultimately succeeding in life:
1. Accept that failure is just part of the process. Everybody has to deal with failure at one point or another. The people that don’t let it get in that way are the ones that recognise that it’s just a part of business and life.
2. In times when you do fail, don’t waste time sulking. Failing is never easy, but you can’t let it get to you for too long. Don’t waste time feeling bad about yourself or ashamed.
3. Be ready to pick yourself back up. When you fail, get right back up and get back to work. Don’t be discouraged by failure, and never let it stop you from pursuing your dreams.
4. Look for the good that comes as a result of failing. Just the the examples highlighted above, good things can sometimes comes from failing. Take advantage of unexpected opportunities when they present themselves…they are out there, just stop spending time looking at the failure.
Oh…and my ‘A Level’ results?
I got a B,B and a C. Not bad for a lad who didn’t really try. I’ve not made that same mistake since.