Use the Fear of Failure in Your Favour!

by Jayne Kopp on March 11, 2011

fear of failure

Does the fear of failure tempt you to throw in the towel?

If so, allow me to share an inspiring conversation I had the other day to hopefully help you use the fear of failure in your favour!

I know you’re likely thinking I have ‘inspiring’ conversations all the time (which I do) and while I will be the first to admit I can turn just about anything into a blog post; I feel this will truly empower you if you occasionally feel discouraged.

On Monday morning after dropping the kids off at school I ran into a friend who just so happens to be an actor. You may have heard of him too; his name is Lochlyn Munro. We, by the way call him “Rick”.

I met Rick and his wife about three years ago when they moved into our neighbourhood. Since then, we have developed a nice friendship, and our children often spend time together.

We don’t usually discuss Rick’s career though, even though it is intriguing to me. It’s just a job to him… albeit one that he loves, but to be honest he seems to be working so much and out of town on movie shoots that I’ve rarely had the opportunity to ask many questions.

One thing I can say though is he is a lovely down to earth person, in fact both he and his wife Sharon are the poster-people of positive and are genuinely kind and giving.

Now I know on the outside, a person may look at Ricks’ schedule and career and think “wow he’s got it made”, or “he’s so lucky” but the truth is that he has worked very hard to get to where he is and its taken dedication.

While I know he’s grateful and counts his blessings, he shared a few nuggets of info with me that to be honest… I initially found surprising.

He told me he’s no stranger to the fear of failure, or perhaps an equally effective word might be rejection; in any event he expressed that it’s really a matter of how you let it affect you and added if he let every disappointment stop him in his tracks his career would have been over long ago.

He shared that building a career in the film industry is like any other industry. You have to endure failures and disappointments like the rest of the world but you must never let it get in the way of your goals or dampen your moral.

He explained there have been many times over the years he’s auditioned for various positions and felt both hopeful and excited, only to learn that he didn’t get the parts.

What’s worse, he told me that it’s not always anything to do with talent either. In his industry there are usually many factors to be taken into consideration and furthermore, some are simply not within his control as I’ll explain a bit further on.

I’d like to interject here and add that he wasn’t speaking solely of all his own experiences, but the industry in general and how it compares to anything else; then drove home the fact that everyone faces similar road blocks regardless of our line of work.

Like internet marketing there are only a small percentage of people who actually make it and similarly it often has nothing to do with skill, brains, or talent, but more to do with personal strength, tenacity, and the willingness to carry on which further solidifies the fact that, success is always connected to attitude and mindset.

As we discussed these home truths, I recalled Jennifer Lopez on American Idol the other night encouraging a candidate to try again and to never give up. She also admitted she has faced her share of rejection and failures many times over, but because she refused to quit, she eventually got the break she was looking for.

Of course her spiel didn’t seem quite as personal, because it obviously wasn’t directed at me. Talking to Rick on the other hand struck a cord because I know him and it helped me to realize that more often than not everyone faces failure before they flourish!

Furthermore … and this made me chuckle, he shared there have been times he’s worked very hard preparing for an audition, felt to have nailed it, and likely would have … if only he was taller, shorter, heavier, or skinnier and in some cases “sexier”!! (LOL…Yikes!)

Nevertheless, regardless of the ‘blow’ (some worse than others ;-) )he keeps going with optimism and swears that having the right attitude is what gets you to the finish line.

I have to admit that I felt elated and very inspired by his honestly. It drove home the point that we are indeed all human and all deal with various levels of disappointment and often fear failure even if we don’t show it on the outside.

After our hour-long conversation, as I drove home I thought about other famous people who are now icons in our society, yet endured failure and rejection in the past.

Oprah Winfrey is a good example; she was fired from being a television reporter because she was told she wasn’t ‘fit’ for TV.

Stephen Kings’ book “Carrie” was rejected over 30+ times… to the point that he threw it in the garbage. I heard that if his wife hadn’t ‘rescued it’ and encouraged him to continue, he may not be one of the best selling authors of our time.

The Beatles were told that guitar music was on its way out and they were wasting their time in the music industry. .

The list goes on.

The point being that behind just about every successful person is a string of failures and/or rejection.

I know it’s easy to spend time in the ‘woe is me’ syndrome when you feel exasperated but you simply have to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and put your best foot forward to keep going with a smile on your face. Just know that the only way you’ll truly fail is if you quit.

Imagine how dismal the world would be if everyone let the fear of failure prevent them from progressing?!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We all come into the world the same way and we will all go out the same way (whether we like it or not).

None of us were born with a silver spoon or special privileges, yet some people succeed, and some don’t. The only reason for this is those who flourish pay little attention to the fear of failure while others (the larger majority) succumb to it.

Never lose sight of what sparked you to work towards your goal in the first place, and don’t let a few hiccups along the way diminish the importance.

Always look at challenges, disappointments and failure as the opportunity for improvement. Then with a smile on your mug…. keep going!

When the going get tough, the tough absolutely must get going. Slam dunk the fear of failure or at least use it to scare you to keep going so you too will eventually flourish!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Dani Nir-McGrath March 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Jayne, awesome post! Our attitude can turn things around in a hurry…for better or for worse! We (ok I) tend to live in a bubble and don’t realize that regardless of walk of life or industry, we all let fear get in the way of things at times. What a great reminder!

Dani

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Jayne Kopp March 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm

HI Dani, how lovely to see you here.

I am sure you are very busy so I commend you for being in your bubble whenever possible. Its ok to be focused on your kids and business!!

We do all have a little voice I think. Sometimes we are too busy to listen to it… which might be a good thing.

I tend not to dwell on limiting beliefs of disappointment. I just like to stay in the game, and get on with it.
It does take work though to keep it up, but once you get it, it’s great!

Thanks for stopping,

Jayne

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Timo Kiander March 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Jayne,

Great post!

Your mindset is absolutely critical when it comes to handling failures. If you are determined to reach your goal and you face setbacks, you are of course going to feel bad about it. However, once the dust settles, you keep going again.

On the other hand, if you are put down by a failure without any proper mindset, you are going to quit.

I try to have my goals in front of me every time I work, so that it is easier for me to see where I want to be. The additional bonus of this is that I keep thinking of my goals all the time and I think that thinking your goals helps your mindset to become “stronger” towards failures.

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Jayne Kopp March 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Hi Timo, having your goals in front of you is an excellent way to stay focused on them. I wrote a blog post a few weeks back about staying clear on your goals and said the same thing. That we need to be in touch with them daily.

Failure and disappointment can be felt by all, but it’s how you handle it that counts!

Thanks for stopping by!

Jayne

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Mavis Nong March 14, 2011 at 7:14 am

Hey Jayne,

Great topic. You’re right fear follows us every where we go – always lingering around as we try to pursue our goals.

It can be a problem if we’re not able to control it and move forward.

Thanks for the inspiration.

All the best,
Mavis

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Jayne Kopp March 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

HI Mavis, thanks for coming. Sorry I took a while to respond, I only just logged in today. (to my blog that is).

Yes, fear likes to rear it’s ugly head but you just have to put your best foot forward and kick in in the Kyber Pass (as my other would say… and consequently so do I!) I’m sure you’ve heard that before!?

Thanks for stopping Mavis, see you soon!

Jayne

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Oliver Tausend March 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Hi Jayne,

thanks for sharing that story.

Fear is failure is very common. I am not stranger to it either.

We have to ask ourselves, what do we truly fear ? Because failure itself can’t be the problem.

It’s rather fear of losing face or losing recognition, even love.

Perhaps it’s also fear of “absolute” failure, that means of not being able to recover again.

Well, I like it how Robert Kiyosaki put it:”Broke is temporary, poor is eternal.”

Take care

Oliver

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Jayne Kopp March 14, 2011 at 12:58 am

Oliver, you know, you always seem to say something that I thought, yet didn’t say… and in this case it was that it truly is that many times we are afraid to lose face.

I suppose we really need to bury our heads deeper into what we are doing and just go for it.

On the other hand, it also ads motivation to fight harder too doesn’t it.

My dad told me the other day that he knew I’d do it because I’m a “sticker”. .. meaning he knew I’d stick with it.

I told him that I appreciated he said that because it’s true… but when I think about it, much of it is so I will succeed but also because when I start something I’m on a mission of proof… personal proof and also to others – and how can I possibly allow myself to lose face to them??

Thanks for your comment as always!

I’ll see you tomorrow!

Jayne

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Ian Belanger March 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Hi Jayne,

Excellent post, very inspiring. I know in my own life I have faced rejection many times over and have failed at almost everything I ever did. I have learned throughout these trials and tribulations of my life, that if you do not learn from your mistakes, you will end up in the same place, but if you take each of your failures as a learning experience and fix what you did wrong. You are bound to succeed eventually. Take your failures, not as a bad thing, but a challenge to do it better the next time.

Thanks for sharing Jayne and have a great day!

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Jayne Kopp March 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Hi Ian, thanks so much for coming by. Lovely to see you.

I am so glad you see things the way you do, because failure isn’t a bad thing as long as you are willing to see it as opportunity for improvement.

You are really only a failure if you quit.

Good for you for tweaking and trying again.

Look forward to seeing you soon!

Jayne

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Marcus Baker March 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hi Jayne,

I loved this post, most especially for the line, “success is always connected to attitude and mindset.” This is so true.

People often want to do more “how to market” training when in effect they need “how to believe in myself” training.

~Marcus

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Jayne Kopp March 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Hi Marcus, how true that is… about being connected to attitude and mindset.

You are so right that the ‘how to believe in myself’ is so much more important than any other skill.

Thanks for adding such a valuable comment!

see you soon!

Jayne

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Toni Pris March 13, 2011 at 1:55 am

As to me- it is better to feel the taste of success than fear of failure. We should try to feel this all the time!

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Jayne Kopp March 14, 2011 at 1:00 am

Hi Toni, how true that statement is! Yes we must fight to the success line and we will overcome and not have to face failure!

Thinking like this doesn’t give much attention to anything else if we bury our noses in and get on with it!

Thanks for stopping by, its great to see you around these parts!

Jayne

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Dahlia Valentine March 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm

When we’re knee-deep in our own pile of poo-ishness, it’s easy to forget that everybody has their own stories of extreme failure. Failure doesn’t play favorites… it hits everybody from celebrities and CEO’s, to regular people who are out there doing the right thing.

What helps me make it through the storm, is simply knowing that the disaster has officially taken place. Sure, it hurts… but at least I’ve met it face-to-face and it’s over. Then I know I can get on with the process of making things better. I can’t tell you how many times this mental trick has helped me make it through my own failures.

I think I needed to remind myself of that! Thanks for this post Jayne.

Cheers,
Dahlia

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Jayne Kopp March 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Ha Ha Dahlia, Poo-ishness… now there’s a girl with my own ‘wordisms’ at heart! I may borrow that. I may even add color to it too!

Yes, its so true and its so wonderful to know that as the song goes that “everybody’ hurts sometimes! Doesn’t that sound sadistic… I don’t mean it like that… really! It just adds the human element to all of us and that success has to be arrived at by following the same paths, that often have potholes.

So fantabulous to have you here!

Best

Jayne

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Lakesha Brown March 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

Jayne, this post came right on time! For some reason this week I had been second guessing myself on some things. I especially love your statement: success is always connected to attitude and mindset. It’s now my new morning affirmation along with others!

This is truly a keeper and I’m sharing with everybody I know! I’m sure at some point in all of our lives, this post will be extremely helpful!

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Jayne Kopp March 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm

HI Lakesha, I am so pleased you connected with this post and found encouragement from it.

I think its something I’m going to cherish for a long time (the conversation with Rick that is) because it solidifies the obvious that we all overlook: If at first we don’t succeed…… you know the rest!

Thanks Lakesha, nice to have you here!

Jayne

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Tim March 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Jayne, that was timely! I’ve been entering some industries and feel afraid because of competition and newness to the market and I let that hold me down. But now I know I can face it!

Someone said ‘you can quit anything, so why quit now?’

That quote has kept me going for long. I know I can quit anything so I’d not quit now. I’ll face my fears and deal with them!

Tim

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Jayne Kopp March 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Tim that’s a great saying! Thanks for coming and lovely to see you here.

Yes, we can quit at any given time, so we might as well hang on and enjoy the ride!

Thanks for your awesome contribution to this post by leaving your comment!

Jayne

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Janet @ The Natural Networker March 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Jayne, aloha. What a terrific post. I found you because Heather shared this on fb; I am so glad she did.

This post is a keeper that I know I will share with others. All too often people think that “it’s easy for others; not for them.” Your points in this are so well said. Thx so much. Until next time, aloha. Janet

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Jayne Kopp March 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Hey Janet, its wonderful to meet you and I’m so pleased Heather shared this post on FB.

Isn’t it funny how people look at the success of others and never consider the blood, sweat and tears they’ve had to part with the achieve it.

I felt so ‘happy’ after talking with Rick. (sounds a little sadistic) LOL – but it was in a ‘so everybody is human’ way!

Thanks, it’s healthy for us to know this!

Talk soon!

Jayne

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Jayne Kopp March 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Hey Janet, its wonderful to meet you and I’m so pleased Heather shared this post on FB.

Isn’t it funny how people look at the success of others and never consider the blood, sweat and tears they’ve had to part with the achieve it.

I felt so ‘happy’ after talking with Rick. (sounds a little sadistic) LOL – but it was in a ‘so everybody is human’ way!

Thanks, it’s healthy for us to know this!

Talk soon!

Jayne

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Heather C Stephens March 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Hi Jayne,

I SO needed this earlier this week. I swear I was dealing with some big old furry fear monsters trying to tie up the loose ends of the mastermind forum. What a great lesson that we ALL deal with fear, no matter what we do. Being a mom, wife, business owner, blogger, (and wanna be student pilot) all have been things I dealt with fear of failure around.

I think this post is one of your very best! :) Your blog is looking amazing as well!

Heather

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Jayne Kopp March 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Thanks so much Heather for stopping by and leaving such an uplifting comment.

I am sure my ‘convo’ with Rick happened at a moment when I felt half-choked on a furball too. Sometimes things just appear when you need them.

I am really pleased you enjoyed it.

Now.. let me clarify one thing here missy: Student Pilot??

I can relate to the Mom, business owner, blogger, jack of all trades worker, etc, etc, etc… but didn’t realize that when you wanted to grow your wings that you meant literally!

Yes… I do want some of what you’re on.

Talk soon and thanks for coming! Made my day!

Jayne

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Nanette Saylor March 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Ah yes, I know this fear of failure very well! Thank you for reminding me, and all of us, that giving up is truly the only real failure. And that if we keep trying, staying true to our vision, mission and purpose, we WILL succeed.
As I read your post I kept remembering the childhood story of the “little engine that could”…I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…and he finally did!
With this in mind, this year my word theme is “consistent persistence”, committed with the intention to just “keep on keeping on”, and never, never, never give up!

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Jayne Kopp March 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Hey Nanette; so great to meet you.

I too have remembered the little engine. I think it’s a good one to introduce to our kids! Speaks for itself if we as adults still remember the message.

You know I had a friend years ago who wrote a book. He was a local fellow… I always thought back then (me being a teen who knew everything) that he was a little “off the wall” as he named his book “Never, Never Ever Give Up!”

He personally signed his book and gave me a copy. I brought it home and stuck it in the cupboard of ‘stored’ books.

I cannot tell you how many times I have actually pulled that book out to read it as I have aged a bit and had a taste at a few different types of failure!

I like your saying “consistent persistence” if you don’t mind, I may adopt your saying and use it too.

Thanks so much. I look forward to getting to know you better!

Jayne

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Steve Nicholas March 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Great post, Jayne! In a similar vein, I remember watching a documentary about music in Seattle at around the time grunge really got big. What I thought was so interesting was the way that so many people thought of Nirvana as “the little brother” of the bands in Seattle, and because of their drive and determination, they became the most important band of a generation. This is why it is so important to never give up.

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Jayne Kopp March 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Hey how’s our Steve the Owl? Thanks so much for coming as always and sharing the documentary. It really is amazing isn’t it how so many people have had to suck it up and overcome in order to prove to the world what they’re made of. Even Elvis was told to go back to driving truck!

Lovely to see you Steve. I’ll drop over to your ‘place’ and get caught up this weekend!

Jayne

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