Archive for the ‘Embracing Fear’ Category

Video clip from a November speaking engagement

April 18th, 2010

Here’s a video clip from a talk I delivered November 2009 to a group of professional performers (magicians, speakers, entertainers, etc.).

Down Economy, Embracing Fear, Goal Setting, Success, Video

2010 Resolution: Fail More

December 31st, 2009

While everyone else is telling you that now is the time to get ready to succeed in the new year I’m going to offer my bit of contrarian advice:

This new year, plan on failing more.

Many years ago, when I wanted to become a writer, I signed up for a correspondence course from an ad I saw in the back of Writer’s Digest Magazine. One of the first lessons covered was getting over the fear of rejection. “For every magazine article you publish, you should expect to receive one hundred rejections.”

To some this might seem discouraging, but in fact the opposite is true. When you realize that failure is an intergral part of success then it is no longer something to be feared. I began to see rejection letters as a measure of forward progress. If I got one and quit then I would NEVER reach my goal. I needed to stumble and fail at least ninety-nine more times before I had any right to expect a byline.

And so I kept fearlessly submitting articles and proudly collecting rejection letters like feathers in my cap. Where some would see failure, I saw markers of forward progress. Fast forward twelve years and  I have 20 books and mor ethan 100 published magazine articles. I no longer collect (nor save) rejection letters, but neither do they get me the least bit dejected.

“Failures are milestones, not tombstones.”  –Julian Franklin

I have many great plans in the works right now, some of which are sure to face hurdles and set backs, some already have. I welcome these challenges as a part of the game.

I don’t know what great ambitions you have for this year, but as you set goals, mentally prepare for the fact that you might not make them all on the first try. If, by some strange fluke you do make them all easily then you didn’t set high enough goals to begin with. Push yourself this year and then forgive yourself when success is not simple and easy.

If the stock market doesn’t cooperate with your investment goals, don’t give up. Have you been getting discouraged showing your business plan to prospective downline memebers because no one seems interested? Good! That’s a sign of forward progress. It’s much better than sitting at home not showing the plan because of a fear of rejection. Been going to the gym and not seeing the results you want? Keep going! Has the economy affected your business? Are sales down? Are you feeling forced to try new things in order keep up? Fantastic!

This year, instead of paring down your resolutions to one or two really important ones, I suggest you pile your plate high with all manner of goals, dreams, resolutions and promises. Dream as big as you can, gather lots of intermediate goals and then plow into them head first. If you want to succeed more in 2010 than you did in 2009 then you are going to have to accept more failure. The only way to fail more is to try more.

Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the president of IBM from 1914 – 1956 and the man who propelled the company to the incredible success that it became and still is was quoted as saying “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”

“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”  –Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

Don’t get too comfortable with failure, but for goodness sakes don’t avoid it! The sign of a great achiever is a long list of past failures. Get out there and start failing!

Embracing Fear, Failure, Goal Setting, Success

Forget Success – Embrace FAILURE!

July 12th, 2009

The video below just might be the most inspiring, fear-inducing, and truthful five minutes you’ll experience this year. It’s not me. I get scared just watching the video. That’s one of the things I love most about it. Plus, it’s just REALLY COOL!

Since I was a young pre-teen I’ve trained in the martial arts and for as long as I can remember I’ve always been the first to volunteer when it came time to spar, fight, or be the guy that the instructor uses to demonstrate a new technique.

When a visiting black belt comes to the school where I train Jiu-jitsu I’m always willing to roll with him no matter his size or experience. One day someone in class asked me “Aren’t you scared?”


“Do you really think you can take that guy?” he then asked.

“I hope not” I replied, “because every time I lose I learn at least two things. I not only learn a new technique that can be used to win, but I learn about a weakness in my own defense”.

Too often we strive so hard for success that we develop a fear and loathing of failure, when in fact, failure is one of the most important secrets to success!

For the past three months I’ve been studying a video of Danny MacAskill that many of you might have seen already on YouTube. If not, here’s a link to this incredible video.

Danny MacAskill – Inspired Bicycles

When we watch sporting events and we see the thrill of victory.

But we almost never get to see all the pain, and sweat, and frustration, and perserverence, and failure that it takes to get to game day. We never get to see it because it is tedious, and scary, and intimidating, and emotionally draining. We never get to see it because it is very time consuming and boring and repetitive. And because victory often starts before 5 AM when many of us are still asleep.

Watch this video and bookmark it. Study the first 1:20 because you get a glimpse of what Danny puts in to become the talent than he has. You still can’t see all the broken bones, all the stitches, all the scraped knees and elbows. You only get to see a few of the bicycles he’s destroyed in his quest for excellence.

Pause the video at 3:05 and notice the path that he’s worn up the side of that huge oak tree. How many hours do you think you have to spend rolling a soft rubber tire to wear down a groove in the side of an oak tree? How many broken bones, bent wheels, and blows to the chin between the time he thought up this particular stunt and the time it was videoed?

We’ll probably never know. All we know is the result of his efforts and they take less than 4 seconds from the time he approaches the tree. But what an amazing four seconds.

I don’t aspire to become a great bicyclist, or even a world-class martial artist. But in the things that are important to me I have allowed myself permission to fail. I have allowed myself permission to get out, scrape my knees, and fall down in front of people I care about. For the things that are important to me I have given myself permission to expose myself to ridicule. I have accepted that failure is almost surely part of the path, but it is not, and will not be my final destination.

What are you going to do today that scares you? Whatever it is, I give you permission to fail while trying as long as you get up and try again after you fall.

Embracing Fear, Getting Things Done, productivity, Success