Finding Your Future Failure
Fear holds you back like a snare. Once you’re caught, pulling away only tightens the grip. Preparation prevents reaction. Prepare for future failures so you won’t end up caught in the snare of fear.
“One way to combat our fears is to hit them head-on.”
Soren Kaplan in Leapfrogging
Kaplan offers a “finding your future failures” strategy in his book, Leapfrogging.
Kaplan on exploring your biggest possible failure:
- What does your most disastrous scenario look like?
- What impact would this worst-case scenario have on individuals, teams, the organization, customers, …
- What would be the short-term impact on you personally? Long-term impact?
- What would you personally feel or experience?
- How could you rebound from this failure?
- What would you do next?
- In what way could the failure be used as a stepping-stone?
Step back after exploring:
- What insights have you gained?
- What new alternatives or options opened up?
- Did any of your assumptions or feelings about failure change?
Focus on what you control;
identify, understand and prepare for what you can’t.
Kaplan suggests the source of most of our fear is a feeling of lack of control. Divide a sheet of paper down the middle. Create a bulleted list of items you control and things you cannot control. Explore, evaluate, prioritize, and consider the impact of each item.
I love focusing on positive vision rather than possible failures. But, exploring possible failures before they occur helps free me from the snare of fearing failure.
Thanks to Soren Kaplan for an enlightening conversation. His book, “Leapfrogging: Harnessing the Power of Surprise for Business Breakthroughs,” is a great read. This post is an adaptation of pages 150-153.
How can leaders overcome the fear of failure?
When I was in high school one of my best friends always said, “what’s the absolute worst thing that can happen if we try this.” That has stuck with me after all these years…. usually, it’s just not that bad…
The statement “One way to combat our fears is to hit them head-on” is really powerful. Fear attacks person and the way to deal with it is to face it, realize it and work on it. IT is rightly said ” Attack is the best way of defense”. So, we need to attack fear before it attacks us. I believe when we create our world based on our thinking, then we invites fear in future. On the other hand, when we analysis external world and understand the limitation of our thinking, then we start expelling fear. So, leaders should anticipate Change is inevitable.We can not guarantee today comfort for tomorrow or alternatively we can not guarantee today sufferings for tomorrow. IT is likely to be changed provided we make effort to change it.
And I strongly believe that EGO and Inertia play vital role in fighting with fear. It does not allow us to accept fear. One should get rid of such internal demons. As long as they continue to rule us, fear is around. And in fact they generate from fear. Egoistic person see the world as he thinks. This is his greatest mistake. Therefore, accepting realities invites actions and when you take actions I am sure ” No fear is as powerful as that of passionate action”.
Teens use the word ‘whatever’ when they are trying to just blow something off. When they say ‘whatever’ it means, “I just don’t care.”
But I turn the word around with them and make it into the word that is a key to their future success.
I say to them…
Whatever happens you can handle it. You are resourceful enough. You are creative enough to solve whatever challenge comes your way. You can be persistent enough to overcome whatever life puts in your path. Whatever failure you face you can recover.
I think we have to face life that way. Whatever happens I’m equipped to get beyond it, turn it around, learn from it. Whatever.
P.S. Of course when I say this to teens, they just look at me with a face that says, ‘Whatever.’ 🙂
A great post and the learning. Preparation is the sure way to accept challenges with confidence and avoid failures. I even agree to prirotise and visualise the possible impact of your actions which would help to control the situation.
I even liked the positive statement ‘One way to combat our fears is to hit them head-on’. It’s a matter of cultivating our mind-set and a habit of working on difficult tasks with singular and team efforts. Nothing is impossible if we go with focused efforts and readiness to put hardwork to fight the odds.
The advice is listen to your instinct and go all out to make it achievable by planned steps of execution. Seek the opinion of other successful people and always look for market/business intelligence before venturing into any new venture or expansion plan. But never ever give up anything before trying because of fear of failure!! Always think big, be different, creative and hire/train the best talents to succeed by adopting a leadership from the front.
Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
A citation of my favourite professor of logistics Walter Ploos van Amstel (@delaatstemeter, http://www.delaatstemeter.nl). And he is right, not only in logistics, but always, so remember 5P!
“Known knowns”, “Unknown knowns”, “Known unknowns” and “Unknown unknowns”. Johari’s window. St Thomas Aquinas. Donald Rumsfeld. Self-awareness. Spiritual consciousness. Risks.
Every good Cub Scout knows Baden Powell advised: “Be Prepared”.
Many athletes and high-performers retain faith in a God who is better and more powerful and far wiser than them (i.e. a regulating absolute power who can overturn their own power if they do the wrong things – such as get a “God Complex”!).
There’s some wisdom in all that; but summarising it in a few words is close to impossible.
I am a natural “worrier”, with no problem whatsoever thinking of worst case scenarios! As a worrier, I have learned that trying to shut the voice down tends to make it shout that much louder, so writing things down helps me put them in perspective. The written word seems to give strength to the rational, it helps me tame the “what if” and then move on to the positive.