Overcoming The Fear Of Failure: The 100-Pound Question

Christi Hegstad February 4th, 2014

While leading a group discussion on goal-setting recently, I noticed very mixed reactions among participants. 

“I wouldn’t get much accomplished if I didn’t set goals,” noted some. 

“I don’t worry about goals,” commented several others. “Why bother?”

Since I’m in the first camp, I’m always intrigued by the reasons behind not setting goals. While different circumstances bring up different reasons, the one I hear most often stems from fear:

What if I set a goal – and fail?

For many, not meeting past goals has caused them to quit setting them altogether. By creating a goal, working towards it, then not accomplishing it, they end up feeling worse than if they hadn’t set the goal at all. Therefore, they no longer do. Fear of failure is alive and well in even the most successful hearts.

While you can read volumes of books on goal success, what I’ll offer today is one scenario for you to consider: 

Imagine your friend sets a goal to lose 100 pounds this year. She exercises, changes her eating habits, hires a personal trainer – does all the right things. At the end of the year, she has lost 95 pounds.

Do you consider her a failure?

Technically, she failed to meet her goal: She set a goal to lose 100 pounds but only lost 95. 

Failure, right?

When I’ve posed this example in workshops, most participants will say she’s not a failure, supporting their assertions with comments like:

“She was 95% successful!”

“Just because she didn’t reach the exact number doesn’t mean she didn’t succeed.”

“Think about the person she became in the process! No way is she a failure.”

Today, I encourage you to turn those comments inward. Set a Bold Goal this year. Create your action plan, get your support in place, and firm up your success mindset.   

Then, get to work, focusing on what you need to do – and who you need to become – to reach your goal.

And if you must focus on “what if’s,” focus on this one: What will my life be like if I *succeed*? 

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” 

~ T. S. Elliot

Do you consider the person who lost 95 pounds a failure? Share your thoughts below, on Facebook, or via Twitter.

Dr. Christi Hegstad helps you successfully do what you love! As President of MAP Professional Development Inc., she coaches leaders to get unstuck and reach Bold Goals with clarity, confidence, and meaningful action. 

Learn more at www.meaning-and-purpose.com and follow Dr. Christi on Facebook and Twitter.


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