A Simple Trick to Overcome Your Fear of Failure
The simple question that will help you take leaps.
Do you want to try new things but you find yourself putting it off?
It’s okay to feel afraid of failure. It’s natural. We’re built to avoid risk.
Whether you’re building a startup, considering a new career, debating taking a long trip around the world or any other leap in life, there’s a simple trick you can use to overcome your fear.
Building a startup, I’m often be asked about the best case scenarios.
What will your startup look like in 5 years?
How much money will you make?
How big will your team be?
How big will your audience be?
We like to imagine the answers to these questions as grand as possible. Strive for the best possible outcome.
But until recently no one asked me “What is your worst case scenario?” We never really give it much thought do we?
It’s tough to think about failure. As a founder, it’s tough for me to even write about it. If we admit to thinking about failure, then we admit to not being 100% confident.
Maybe that’s why, by default, we tend to just assume it’s a horribly dire situation and we push it out of our minds. We focus on the prize instead of the embarrassment, the failure, the poverty…
Instead, take 5 minutes and really think about the answer to this question:
What is your best worst case scenario?
If your startup crashed and burned tomorrow, is living broke and in misery really the best you can come up with?
If you left your job to pursue a career and it ended up not working out, are you really as screwed as you think?
If you take any big leap in life what’s the best worst thing that could happen to you?
I had the pleasure of talking with Aki Sano, founder of CookPad recently and he asked me this question. He encouraged me to get creative and really think about what I would do if Feast failed and I was completely out of money.
Sure I could wallow in pity, poverty and embarrassment... but that’s just one option. What are other options? “Get creative!”, he urged.
So I thought…
Maybe I could go work on a ranch for a while. I’ve always wanted to learn how to grow food and it would definitely be a big learning opportunity.
Maybe I could use air miles to get to another country and find a job at a hostel or volunteer for Birthright.
I mean when I really think about it, I have my girlfriend, family and friends that would undoubtedly house and support me while I picked up some consulting gigs and got back on my feet. My girlfriend would love for me to come back home to NY and stay with her.
Failure wouldn’t end me. It would just create more opportunities to try something new.
So don’t worry about failing.
Get creative. Really think about what you would do if you failed. When you realize that your worst case scenario isn’t all that bad, suddenly failure carries less weight and you can take that leap.
You might as well swing for the fences and stop playing it safe. The worst that could happen is your best worst case scenario.