The Fear of Failure

While playing hide and seek as a kid, I discovered a bomb in our closet. Well…kind of. I was seven years old. My younger brother, who was six at the time, and I decided to hide from our mom while she was on the phone so she would have to find us when she hung up. We went and hid together in a closet in our bedroom. We were waiting a while when all of a sudden, I heard a quiet “tick, tick, tick.”

Clueless as to where the sound was coming from I asked my brother, “What is that noise?” He looked at me with a face full of frustration and confusion and vigorously answered, “I don’t know, I hear that noise every night when I wake up in the middle of the night, and I’m too afraid to get up to go to the bathroom because I think a bomb is going to go off.”

I looked down at his wrist and exclaimed, “It’s your watch!”

Have you had any misperceived fears as a child? A scary image in the dark that looked like a big man in your closet but was really a coat on a hanger? What I think is one of the most dangerous misperceived fears is the fear of failure. Why? Because it threatens our ability to attempt big things.

Michael Jordan has a reputation of success. He shed some surprising truth on his career when he later stated:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

If MJ offered to coach a basketball team for the pros, semi pros, or let’s say even for the YMCA on a Monday morning at 5am; I imagine men everywhere would line up to be taught by the greatest. Something notable about this situation is that we seek guidance from those whom we think have something to teach us – even if they’re not perfect.

When we want to go to someone for advice or for direction, we usually go to someone older than us who has more wisdom and experience than ourselves. We want to go to someone who has lived and made mistakes and can help us make the best decision. Could you image seeking the advice of someone who has never walked through the wrong door, never had a bad relationship, or never attempted something and struck out?

Life lessons and success happen when we’re out sailing the world, not safely anchored to shore.

If we don’t look down on others who have made mistakes and learned from them, why do we fear making our own mistakes? Why are we so afraid of striking out?  In the game of life, no one gets to hit a home run on their first try – and one closed door doesn’t negate God’s call on your life.

Christians have to be willing to do things in spite of their doubts. It’s a tragedy to see someone question the gift that God put in their hands and end up with their hands tied behind their back because they’re afraid their plans are going to fail. God has given each person their own set of gifts that tie in with their purpose that is right now the answer to someone else’s prayer. There is too much to lose if we do not harness the fear of failure. When you miss out, those you were called to impact miss out.

Don’t let closed doors deceive you into thinking you are failing. A closed door gets you one step closer to finding the right door.

“For all of us who dream of a life bigger than ourselves, there is a tribe who has gone before us. There have been men and women who have both expected and lived lives that seemed too big for one person.” — Erwin McManus

Renee Bertalan

Author Renee Bertalan

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