Are You Afraid Of Failing? (Episode 3 Transcript)
We all experience embarrassing situations and fail one way or another. However, being afraid of failing leads to situations where you become fearful of even attempting to achieve your goals.
Learning to accept failure as part of the process that leads to success is the step that most people forget about. Every time we fail is an opportunity to learn, and an opportunity to try a new way.
There's a special announcement in today's episode! You can be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of Oh No! Not Another Goal-Setting Book. All you have to do is listen to this episode and follow the instructions.
Here are the links mentioned in this episode:
Oh No! Not Another Goal-Setting Book available in paperback and to buy here.
Watch the live coaching of Nestene Botha, the Co-Founder of Explore ProTech on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbyL7Q9k-0-vLH_bxOPJa6g/videos
Episode 3 Transcript
Hello, and welcome to the "I'll Take That Win" podcast with your host, Steven Westwood, reminding you that to achieve that dream, it takes Just One Step.
Hello there, Winners. And thank you for joining me on today's podcast, Episode 3. Before we get started, I would just like to make a quick announcement. And if you hang around until the end, there's going to be another announcement.
Every Thursday, you can catch me with one of my clients doing LIVE coaching sessions over on YouTube. The session is called "So you think you can grow your business", and it's with Nestene Botha, who is one of the listeners. She's a fan of the show. She's also one of the biggest supporters of my book and my show. So the LIVE session is to help establish exactly what it is that you can do and achieve using the concepts in my book. The way my book is laid out, this helps you to overcome your fears. It helps you to overcome your self-doubts, helps you to overcome your fear of failure, and it helps you to achieve your goals.
I am doing the LIVE Coaching session as a way to showcase just how these concepts actually work. So again, you can catch us on a Thursday on YouTube live and Facebook live, just type in "Explore ProTech - So you think you can grow your business".
Okay. So welcome to episode three. Today we're going to continue our discussion on fear. Only this time, we're going to be looking at fear of failure and I'm going to start off by prefacing this with understanding why it is that we get embarrassed when we fail. So when you think about it, and from a young age, we are taught through our failings. We are taught and we learn from our mistakes.
So if we consider a toddler, for example, a toddler learning to walk is going to be very shaky on their legs. They're going to be very, very unsteady. They're going to fall a lot. And as a toddler, when they fall, when they make a mistake, when they 'fail', I'm using "air quotes" there, uh, they don't get embarrassed. They don't stop trying - if they were to stop trying, then nobody would walk.
What happens is they are then fully supported and fully encouraged to get back up and try again. And they continue the cycle until they've built up enough muscle, enough strength in their legs to walk steadily. And it's the same when a young child is learning to talk.
When they are learning to talk, they are going to make mistakes. They're not going to be very clear. And what happens is they are encouraged to learn from that mistake and pronounce words correctly. Our fear of failure starts a little later in life. And it starts out as a way for us to learn how our society functions. What happens is when we are doing something and we fail, we are ridiculed for it, or we feel that we will be ridiculed for it, or we get embarrassed.
And it's this embarrassment which causes us to feel as if we cannot continue. There have been many studies he's on embarrassment and fear of failure. It effectively falls down to social norms. We are conditioned to believe that if we try something and it goes wrong, we're going to be ridiculed. We are conditioned to believe that if we try something and it goes wrong, we should stop.
I want to put this in perspective and I'm going to talk about it from my own entrepreneurial journey. So I have undertaken many, many projects and the projects that I've undertaken range in success. So some of them can be seen as seemingly a high success. Some of them are a great success and others are complete and utter miserable failures.
Now, I want to focus on the latter. When I fail at a particular project, I do not feel that I need to stop. What I do is I feel that I need to reflect and I need to then retake actions. So it could be including restructuring some of the actions that I've taken. It could be putting in new actions that are helping me towards my goal that I didn't think about before going through with it, it could be a misstep. It could be that my marketing and my messaging wasn't correct, in which case I've had to redo that.
And it's not about this idea that if we fail, we stop. Because trust me, if that was the case, there would be no new businesses. We would not have any developments and science and technology would not have developed the way it has. There would be a very boring, dull world, well, I believe.
Now I have got a couple of clients who are self-proclaimed introverts, they're self-proclaimed wallflowers. They don't like to rock the boat. They don't like to take action. And they're easily embarrassed. They easily fear what are the people are going to think of them if they fail.
And I do work with clients, these clients to help them realize that in order to learn in order to grow, we have to accept an element of failure. It is not possible to succeed without failing. So just to go a bit further into this idea, that failure is a key to success. I'm going to read out a couple of quotes from reportedly, Thomas Edison. And I love these quotes. The reason why is because they speak to me on a level that not many people do, they also help to evoke conversation. So if you like these quote, or if you have any theories about these quotes or anything from today's podcast, please feel free to drop a message in the comments. Or to drop me a message, you can contact me through my website, www.spwcopywriting.co.uk. The website will be changing, but for now, I am going to continue with SPW Copywriting. I like it. It's my favourite website. It's for my copywriting business. It brings me joy.
So these quotes. So these quotes, the first one is:
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
So I like this one because it's basically, you've seen that image where you've got two people who are digging for diamonds or digging for gold and they go along the pathway. One person has stopped and given up, whereas the next person is taking those extra steps and has nearly struck gold. So that, that perpetuates the idea that in order to succeed, we do have to go through failure. And the only true failure is people who do not follow through or take action.
So I have to say as a side note here, that my theory is that the number one cause of failure is somebody who doesn't take action. If you don't take action, that is truly failing because you're not even starting anything, at least by trying what you're doing is you're learning how different processes work. You're learning what works for you, which leads quite nicely to the next quote.
Again, reportedly by Thomas Edison on inventing his light bulb, the light bulb:
I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 Ways will not work. When I have eliminated the waste that will not work. I will find the way that would work.
Again, the idea behind this one is that it's all trial and error. Now, I tell my clients all the time with marketing, with copy, with advertising, it is about trial and error. It is about. Finding the right message that attracts the most attention. It is about finding the right platform to advertise on. It is about finding a way to find your customers. And this takes practice and it takes patience and it takes testing.
So again, I want you to think about the inventor. I want you to think about somebody who is creating change, somebody who is creating something that is beneficial to all of us on this planet. If that person were to give up, if Thomas Edison were to give up, then we would not have a lot of the inventions that we have today. We would not have a lot of the conveniences we have today, and we would not have a lot of the opportunities available to us today. So when it does come to this idea, that failing equals bad, I truly believe that we need to readjust our frame of mind. We need to make it normal for us to fail.
So going back to school now. Okay. This is where a lot of us developed this fear. We're under peer pressure, especially teenagers, to look a certain way, act a certain way and to be a certain type of person and find a certain type of thing funny.
I've witnessed firsthand and not just as, a student myself, I witnessed this as a teacher. There is a stigma attached to somebody who fails. There is a pressure on individuals to outperform themselves, to always strive for success, but, but to strive for success without failing.
As a copywriter, I'm always telling my clients that they cannot be guaranteed the results. However, what I would do is I would do what's called A/B testing. I would test their email marketing campaign, or I would test the advertising campaign, just to see if it was reaching the type of audiences that they wanted to reach and attracting them to take action, basically getting the customer base to buy from them. And the best way to do this is through testing. And you can only test if you are willing to fail.
And I just find this whole concept so interesting because I have been exposed to groups of people who want to do what I do, who want to be a copywriter or want to be a coach, but they are not willing to accept a fail. And it's this idea that we have to be perfect and we have to always be spot on and we have to always get it right. That stops a lot of people from following their dreams. It stops a lot of people from achieving their goals. I often hear the phrase,
"Oh, but I'm a perfectionist. I have to have all of the information and I have to know exactly what I'm doing. And I have to have this in place and that in place. And I have to be able to do this before I can do this".
And that is making excuses for yourself as to why you're not trying to achieve your goal. That is making excuses for yourself as to why you're not taking action. And that my friend is he fear of failure. You are afraid of failing.
So have you ever walked down the street and trip or have you been walking down the stairs or up the stairs and tripped over thin air? I'm raising my hand right now because I have I do it all the time.
Now when I was younger, what I would do is I would trip whether I hit the floor or not (so sometimes it'd be able to save myself, sometimes I don't), The first thing I'd do is turn around and check and see if anybody was looking. Then I'd don't get embarrassed and walk away as quickly as I can. Now on the other hand, because I am that much older and that much more mature. If I trip, I usually say the phrase, "whoopsie, Daisy" quite loud, laugh a little at myself and make sure that I'm not hurt before moving on. I don't really care if somebody sees me.
If they see me and they're laughing at me, then that's their issue. That's something wrong with them. Whereas if they see me and they ask me if I'm okay, I will be honest and I'll say, "yes, I'm fine". Or "no, I hurt my ankle". You know, it's one of those things where the older you get the easier it is for you to communicate.
Now, I have found that there are lots of people who are not afraid of tripping up, but they are afraid of failing, tripping up is just failing. You're failing to be able to walk. I have walked into a lamppost and bounced off it and because I've bounced off this lamppost, I failed to walk in a straight line. I have gone to pour myself a glass of water and I've spilt it everywhere. I have kicked a glass off my coffee table because I had my feet up and didn't realise it, and the glass is smashed. These are all examples of fails. I have also started an ad campaign that's completely flopped. I was getting people who were, this was a Facebook ad campaign, by the way. I was getting people, messaging me, telling me how useless I am and how awful I am and why am I on their timeline? They did not ask for this and that they were going to sue me. I had got my marketing run. That is a fail on my part. Now, for those of you that do know Facebook advertising is one of those things that is, um, an ever-evolving science. So when you are performing Facebook advertising, there's always something new that you have to consider. So that's what I got wrong, but I learned from it and I learnt how to use the features more appropriately. I have also failed and given up.
Even in the workplace, when I used to be employed I experienced failure. I would fail at one of my tasks, or I would fail a project or something would go wrong. I would miscommunicate something, but I would always own up to that. And I would learn from that, but I knew people in the work place who are for self-preservation. And again, that comes from a place of fear that comes from a place of being afraid to fail.
Self-preservation is, "Oh, if I admit that I've made this mistake, they could fire me or I get in trouble or any number of things could happen" and it can be quite anxiety-inducing. So rather than admit to the faults, they either play ignorance. Or they pass the blame. That is not a criticism of anybody that is just how self preservation works. It's the natural survival instinct. It's something that the person has learned because they are not allowed to make mistakes. And I have seen it where one of my. Uh, clients who employ people has realized that there is a need for training on how to fail and how to learn from your mistakes. And that is why here in the UK, they have the law about, um, first verbal warning, second verbal.
Warning written warning, and then you're out the door. The first verbal warning is to give you a chance to learn from your mistake. The second verbal warning is again to give you that chance to learn from that mistake. If you make that same mistake again, it's a written warning or a final warning, which again, still gives you time to rectify and to learn from that mistake. And then obviously, if you make that mistake again, you are held accountable.
And I believe that a lot of people who are afraid of failing are also afraid of being held accountable. So that seems to be this, this mash over being afraid of failing and being held accountable and not wanting to feel uncomfortable.
Now, accountability is a topic that we're going to be looking at. I said later episodes. So I won't go into too much detail. I just wanted to touch on that particular topic because again, I find it interesting. I honestly find it fascinating how the human mind works. I love the idea that you can have two people experience the exact same thing, but both of them will get something different from that same experience.
And that can be said for Fear. Now, as I've said, I would consider myself to be quite brave. You know, I have jumped off buildings. I have done skiing, I enjoy ice skating, I enjoy skydiving. There are so many different activities that I actually really enjoy doing. And there are lots of them are activities that people are afraid of.
So when it comes to my business, when it comes to trying something new, when it comes to achieving my goals, I actively seek those situations, which make me feel uncomfortable so that I can take action. Unlike I've said, I have failed. I have fallen flat on my face, metaphorically speaking, and that is okay.
I have learned quite a lot. From even something as supposedly simple as producing a podcast, I have learned that it is trial and error. I am still practising getting the timing, right. I'm still practicing and honing my script. I am still practicing and honing my links, my description, my sound. I am still trying to find my way and it is trial and error.
Just remember. You may be afraid of failing - that is okay. Just take that step. There is nothing wrong with failing. You can learn from your mistakes and you can learn to overcome your fears through practice. Now, at the beginning, I did promise that there would be a announcements at the end.
And I am pleased to say that I now have a Paper paperback version of my book. Oh No, Not Another Goal-Setting Book available on Amazon. I have decided that I'm going to give away 10 free copies to 10, very lucky winners who:
subscribed to my channel,
share my podcast with others
likes my page
leaves me a review.
I'm hoping that you will enjoy reading it. I'm hoping that you will take a lot away from it, and I'm hoping that you are actually enjoying my podcast. So remember. Follow my podcast, share my podcast, like my Facebook page: Steven Westwood Coaching, and leave me a review for this podcast.
Once you have done those four things, you stand the chance of winning a copy of my book. What I might do is send you a signed copy of my book. Do I do that? Let me know if you want to sign, copy. Um, I am actually just going to quickly read one of the reviews that I've received for Oh No, Not Another Goal-Setting Book.
So it's, five-star naturally...
Very Pragmatic. I have read a plethora of self-help books, perhaps over 300 easily. What I enjoy about this read and where it differentiates itself is answering the question. Where does happiness fit in? In regard to the goal-setting process. I am still perturbed at how many of us set goals with the wrong mindset. In regards. I also enjoyed the personal stories as this marks, something very important. The author knows what they are talking about from. Experience point of view and not solely from a research perspective. Steven stories has me reflecting inwards, especially the story of his trip to Las Vegas. A lovely read. Thank you, Steven.
And there we have it, a review for Oh No! Not Another Goal-Setting Book. So I will see you next week. Until then I want to invite you to look at what it is about failing that makes you feel uncomfortable. I want you to explore situations where you have failed and you've come out of it on the other side.
And one last thing actually, before I do forget when you take action and you fail, what's the worst that can happen? Now, I want you to really think about this and I will tell you what I believe at the start of next week's episode until then I'll see you soon. Bye.
You have been listening to the I'll Take That Win podcast with Steven Westwood, reminding you that your path to success starts with just one step.