“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.” -Bill Gates
1995--that’s the year I received my first “bad” grade...it was an A-. Ok, I can feel you rolling your eyes so let me clarify. I was seven-years-old (see the picture below) and the A- was the result of a couple low grades, one F and one D, I’d earned in my language arts class. Communication is my thing; I’ve been studying words and the amazing things that they do since my mom first taught me to read at age three. Thus, you can imagine how devastating it was for me to receive such low marks in the class that was supposed to represent my sweet spot.
To make matters worse my language arts grade was the single subject in which I’d received less than a full A. I could handle a few C’s in science--I was certain I’d never need to know more about plants or space than what they taught on The Magic School Bus and that’s pretty much proven true in my adult life--but a less than perfect grade in the subject matter that I was most passionate about felt like a betrayal.
Whenever I dare to start a new project or otherwise step into some unknown territory, that same yoke of perfectionism threatens to strangle my progress and I’m reminded of my A-. I know now that failure is not the worst thing that can happen, and that failure is in fact a part of any growth process, but nothing distorts these truths more than a season of uninterrupted success. You see the fact that the A- wasn’t “perfect” in my eyes was not what made it so hard to swallow--it was the fact that this was the very first time in my life that I had tried my hardest, given everything I had, and didn’t come out at the very top. Such is the burden of uninterrupted success; it causes you to think that as long as you continue to apply the same amount of effort you will be immune to failure. No one is immune to failure.
Have you convinced yourself that you are incapable of losing? In what ways have you limited yourself and stunted your growth because you were unwilling to try anything that might end in failure?
As we come to the end of the first month of 2016 and you consider your progress toward your goals, know this: if failure is not an option for you then success won’t be either. I dare you to reach for a dream that’s so far outside of your comfort zone that you just might fail at it. When fear emerges, think on this question: What opportunities for success would I be missing if I chose not to risk failure?
If you’re ready to accept the challenge, click here and complete a #DARE2016 pledge form. Next, post your form to your favorite social media site using the hashtag #shareyourDARE. I can’t wait to cheer you on as we reach for our goals together.