Do you know how to overcome the fear of failure?
When 29-year old Lin-Manuel Miranda took to the stage at the 2009 White House Poetry Slam evening in front of the President and the First Lady of the United States, he began by telling them he was writing a hip hop album based on historical figure who embodied the ‘Spirit of Hip Hop’.
That historical figure was the treasury secretary of the United States, Alexander Hamilton.
Lin was laughed at by the entire room.
But did Lin Manuel Miranda run off stage and trash his hip hop album because the audience laughed at him?
Lin performed his rap, won over the audience, and 6 years later, won 11 Tony Awards for the critically acclaimed and global phenomenon “Hamilton: An American Musical.” Like a boss.
So how many of us have had an idea at some point in our lives? That type of idea that slowly builds in your mind – maybe born during a shower epiphany, or is something that you discovered while filling a gap or problem in your own life.
How many times have you had a brilliant idea and then let it go? Probably more times than you can count, right? You let it go because pursuing this idea and bringing it to life would be a change to your routine – and change is scary. Change lies just outside of our comfort zone, beckoning and teasing us to come over – ever taunting us.
Even if in our own lives, we have had amazing change and evolution – the idea of putting ourselves and our own ideas out there, for some reason, can be a change that is too much to handle. It’s the fear of things like failure, rejection and what others will think! On another level, it can also be the fear that someone will take our idea and either run with it or crush it.
So what can we do to undo years of this conditioning so that we can make the change to let our ideas grow and flourish?
To start with, moving to a place where we stop letting negative language rule our minds and start bringing our attention to what it is that we want. Start small! Rome wasn’t built in a day after all – but it was built. Slowly start to make a mental note when your automatic response is something negative and recognise what else you could be saying to yourself. What is a question you could ask yourself. Start with ‘What is… or What could…” (avoid ‘Why’) and use a framework that moves you more towards a positive, reinforcing and empowering action or state.
You might be surprised at just how much negative language slips past the keeper daily. “I might not be able to do that” needs to start being replaced with “I can do that”. “I don’t really know if my idea is good” could move towards “This idea is AWESOME” and “that really could work and work well!”
It is our own responsibility to let go of what holds us back and replace it with something more useful or beneficial to us and those around us.
The Dark Knight Rises perfectly demonstrates how a safety net and comfort zone can hold us back from achieving our goals. In the middle of the film, we see Bruce Wayne beaten up, broken, and then trapped in a pit of despair. His only way out is to climb the pit and make an impossible jump.
So he tries, tries, and tries again and fails every time. Batman’s rope saves him from falling to his death.
Alas! The moment that Batman uses his courage to take the rope off (his safety net) that he makes the jump from the prison pit to escape.. And save Gotham!
It’s when we remove the safety net that there becomes only one way – OUT!
Bruce Wayne removed the obstacle which was only holding him back. He then had no other choice than to make it.
So what “failure” are you going to run right up to and punch in the face? Because after all, that’s what Batman would do!
This brings us back to negative language – how many times have you been presented with an opportunity and decided to not “get your hopes up”?
If we choose to have this mindset, we’ve already lost. Preparing ourselves for the worst affects us and prepares us for the worst! Yet what could be said about preparing ourselves for the best?
When we move to a place of confidence in ourselves and believing in ourselves, we show up that way and that gives us the type of energy that is also infectious - it can be seen in our body language and our voice! So get your hopes up! Get excited! Remove the safety net.. And share the joy with those around you! Alternatively, choose to be Batman.