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The power of making failure an option...

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Q: A presentation I gave at work was an epic failure, nerves got the better of me and it went terribly. I have to give another presentation next month and I’m so worried I’ll fail again I don’t want to do it. What can I do?

A: Failure is rough, no matter how you slice it. Many of us grew up with the notion “failure is not an option” or thinking will I succeed or fail? Look brilliant or stupid? The reality is you are going to lose sometimes and win others. You will do stupid things sometimes and brilliant things others. You didn’t win this round, that’s ok. Learn from it, then let yourself off the hook and get back in the game.

Psychology researcher Carol Dweck studied how people cope with failure. Why some people bounce back from failure and others don’t? What she found was people who view failure and challenges in a positive light are the ones who are most happy and successful.

Instead of looking at your presentation as another possible “epic failure” look at it as an “epic challenge” and one you are up for. How can you embrace this challenge instead of avoid it? Ask yourself, is this the biggest challenge you have every overcome? I’m guessing not. Challenges are part of any great game, without challenges it would be boring. If you “play it safe” then you’re living a pretty narrow existence and you probably aren’t going to get ahead. However, if you go for it, knowing that it may not work but you are going for it anyway, that is the breakfast of champions. If you never shot for the net, you’re never going to score.

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