Can I take a minute to write a personal post on here? This blog is usually all about SEO tactics, but today I’ve been doing some thinking and reflecting.
I come from a family that is really smart and well educated. I mean really smart and really well educated. My father has his PhD in institutional analysis. My mother is working on her second Masters degree, this one as a mathematics specialist. My older brother is in a fully funded MD/PhD program at Baylor College of Medicine, and my younger brother is a genius who will one day be an ambassador or something to a foreign country, helping to keep our country safe.
And I have a Bachelors degree from James Madison University in Virginia (a good state school). I work for the best SEO consultancy in the world, hang out with some awesomely smart people, and am trying to make waves in New York City.
And guess what?
I’m petrified of failure.
I’m scared that I won’t be able to measure up, or that I’m not smart enough to really do well at my job, or that I don’t have what it takes to really speak at SEO conferences and be able to affect change for and in my clients. I worry that I suck at leading projects, and that I’m going to fail again and again and again.
This is why I drive so hard. This is why I work so many hours. This is why I stay up until 4am on a Saturday night crunching data 4 days before the biggest presentation of my life.
I’ve learned a few things by being this way though.
The Lessons I’ve Learned
I’m not the only one who is afraid of failure, though.
Remember, it’s not the fear of failure that is bad, but rather when the fear of failure stops you and keeps you from succeeding.
When I am faced with a new challenge at work, my first thought is “Wow, there is no way I can succeed at that”, even when I know that I can and I will. My natural inclination is to say “No, I don’t want that responsibility” because I am afraid of failure and afraid of looking like an idiot in front of the people whose opinions I care about most.
Every time I find myself thinking this, though, I say to myself:
Man, f*ck that. I know what I’m doing. Let’s do this.
I hate all of the talk around “positivity” and “just being positive” these days. Being positive doesn’t make up for incompetence. Being optimistic and willing to try, though, is the mark of a true winner.
When you want to succeed, you do whatever is in your power to be successful no matter how much it scares you.
Even if you fail, you’re in good company
Every great entrepreneur has had their fair share of failures, or ventures that started out as failures. And I bet you they were afraid to fail as well, which is why they work so hard to prove themselves, often working twice as many hours as the average American, who is overworked as it is!
We’re all afraid of failure in one way or another. Very few of us are afraid to succeed, though there are those out there. We all want to do well, but often we let our fears hold us back.
I’m not going to let this fear stop me though. I’ll let this fear push me forward, and hopefully be able to rein it in someday. But until then, every time my mind tells me “You suck at your job, you’re going to fail”, I’m going to say:
Eff that. I’m going to do it, even if it scares me.
*PS* – Even as I wrote this blog post tonight, I’m afraid to publish it. So I’m publishing anyways. One step at a time.