Failure is not Fatal
Hi CandleCalmers, and welcome to this week’s blog.
As I mentioned earlier, in one of the first blogs we published, we’d keep these pretty informal and not always candle related.
It’s nice to diversify a little after all.
As we experience new things and eek our way through this new journey, we’d like to share some of the stories with you all.
So, this week I’d like to talk about my fear of failure.
This is something I've recently cultivated.
If you’ve ever thought about doing something in your life but have been put off for one reason or another, please keep reading, I’m sure this will strike a chord with something you have experienced, are experiencing or will experience.
This fear lurks everywhere. It is a life limiting fear that crushes peoples dreams and passions, and although not directly linked to the reason why many avert from carrying out their dreams or passions, it is usually a contributing factor.
It can manifest in so many different ways.
Fear of letting your kids down;
Fear of being a poor husband;
Fear of losing an investment;
Fear of not reaching that required amount for the house deposit you’ve been desperately trying to raise;
These are all perceived ‘consequences of failure’ that sometimes contribute to that life restricting decision “I’ll do it some other time”.
I genuinely don’t know how this fear has crept up on me over the years and how I’ve become so subdued by its power?
I’ve put off too much lately to know where to begin.
24 years ago, I boarded a train bound for the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. I wanted nothing more, at the young age of 16, to become a Royal Marine. I was absolutely terrified and I knew there was a massive chance of failure, but I still boarded the train.
Then, through exposure, I realised I was scared of drowning, which drove my ambition to start recreational diving;
Through exposure, I realised I was scared of heights, which drove my ambition to start recreational skydiving;
Through exposure, I realised I was scared of having a heart attack as a result of stress, anxiety and panic attacks, so I tried to run 900km in 14 days, and guess what?..........I failed, or in other words, I learned and I grew.
24 years ago, and through a career lasting almost 15 years, I was driven towards my fears by a positive ‘can do’ culture and only one thing stood in my way…..failure.
Failure was an imaginary perception, which had been pre-loaded by my fears, but I kept something in my mind that I’d read as a kid, and reminded me that there was life beyond failure.
“Failure is not fatal” – Sir Winston Churchill
How do you know you'll fail if you haven’t yet failed?
Most people believe that there are two consequences of attempt; failure and success.
There are in fact, no consequences of attempt.
There is only attempt, or do not attempt.
Failure is not fatal and success is not final, the attempt aspect still exists beyond either perceived consequence.
I quickly adopted the mind-set that failure was in fact healthy, and although we should try to avoid this road, it is a sometimes necessary part of the journey we take before reaching success, which is never our final destination I might add. Your journey only ever really stops when you stop, and that is to expire and/or dismiss attempt.
24 years on, me and my wife (Nok) are sat reading through a business plan for an essential oil, soy wax candle company. We wanted nothing more, than as a family to work together to grow a business we were passionate about. Something we could nurture, grow and pass on.
We were absolutely terrified.
Terrified of failing.
So why would 2 mature and clear thinking adults, who have weighed up the risks through conducting a solid business plan and calculated that it would be a viable decision to start CandleCalm, be fearful of failure?
Try and think of your mind like a garden. Whatever you water, grows.
Now think of fear like a plant in the garden of your mind. The more attention you give it, the more you prune, the more you feed, the bigger and stronger it grows. Like an uncontrollable weed, it can consume that beautiful garden growing in your mind.
Years ago, fear of failure was an annoying little weed that needed removing now and again, simply by exposure to, in this analogy, the beautiful flowers in the garden of my mind. The earlier you expose yourself, the easier fear is it to weed out, and you continue to cultivate a beautiful garden in your mind.
Years later, and the dreaded ‘Fearacus Muchomous’ plant had taken root.
The thing is with fear, if left to grow out of control, is that it blinds you and poisons your reason.
The consequences of failure appear to far outweigh the consequences of success, and this is where the problem becomes compounded and starts to affect other ambitions in life.
Before you know it, everything carries far too much risk and you’re trapped inside your little comfort bubble, never growing, never risking, never changing.
The fear weed grows over all of the beauty in the world, which are only your perceptions of beauty, be them a sunrise, a freefall, a swim in the sea, visiting a location etc, and the biggest, most painful failure is then actually realised, the failure to no longer recognise the beauty of such things anymore.
We were sat, throwing fear at each other before deciding to launch. We were literally planting fear in each other’s minds.
“What if we lose all of the invested money?”
“What if the company flops?”
“What if people don’t like the candles?”
“What if nobody buys them?”
“What if our suppliers stop supplying?”
The end state answer to all of these were usually horrendous and ridiculous. They usually ended up years down the line with our children being poor and underfed. We’d began creating crazy long-term failure realities and nearly decided to pull the plug. It was way too easy and comfortable working a normal job and allow the security of a monthly salary keep us a slave to the fear of failure..
How many people have put something off in their life as a result of an imagined consequence of failure?
I realised this, and I’m thankful to all of my past experiences that I did, for I owe it to them.
The only way to remove the fear of failure in CandleCalm was to actually start CandleCalm.
I explained this to Nok and she agreed, after all, could any of the above really harm us? No, of course not! These were financially driven failure fears, and I can remember writing down one of the first sentences in our business plan, on page one “This isn’t about the money, this is about passion. Money is a by-product of passion and professionalism, and will come in its own time”
So, we embraced our fears and we created control measures to try and mitigate potential incidents, which we now call them, as failure doesn’t really exist, but lessons do! Some can be repetitive and some can be expensive, but they’re all lessons nonetheless.
CandleCalmers, please don’t run from your fears!
Don’t allow that niggling little weed to prevent you from taking that first run, climbing that first mountain, starting that first business etc.
Don your gardening gloves, get into the garden of your mind and start weeding fear out, slowly if needs be.
Expose yourselves to what you fear, to what makes you uncomfortable and I promise you, you’ll experience growth in your life like you’ve never known.
After all, what have you really got to lose?
Stay safe CandleCalmers, and ignite your scents!