Success is My Biggest Failure

At a recent workshop with Becky Robinson from Weaving Influence we started joking about the quippy quotes that are often in this line of work. Without hesitation I created my own right on the spot:

You never fail the projects you never start.

Inspirational, right? 

Of course I was trying to be humorous, but the truth is that statement has framed my choices way more than I'd like to admit. I've always been an idea guy, but starting, executing, and completing my ideas hasn't always been a strong suit for me. To use a phrase borrowed from Nate Regier, I have a lot more initiative and a lot less finishiative. 

Often my ideas fail before I even start because I'm terrified that I might be successful. Here are some of the scripts that play in my head.

Having a website and blog is so arrogant and self deluded. 
You're ideas aren't special! Why are you so bent on sharing everything you think of!
People aren't going to read, care, like, respect, or find helpful your work.
People who self promote are slimy and annoying.
You'll never have enough good ideas to keep it up.

As I dig deep into these scripts I've begun to realize they aren't driven by a fear of failure, they are driven by a fear of success. If I'm successful I'll have to keep coming up with ideas. If I'm successful people might disagree with me. If I'm successful people might have expectations of me. I don't fear failure, I fear success, and therefore I fail. 

This whole GD website, blog, and career choice is forcing me to look the dragon of success right in the eyes! Currently my working definition of success is discovering a frequency of life that is authentic to me; without dampening or holding back out of unhealthy comparison to others.

I've been abiding by some key principles to help me get there, many of which are borrowed from my work at neighboringmovement.org. If you want to see what makes me tick you can check out "A Closer Look." It is sort of my manifesto and includes the Neighboring Ingredients that help me define what success looks like. 

Over the next couple months I am going to share several post all under the category: Free to Fail. Failing is one of the fears I am struggling with while launching this website; so I figured I would head it off early by obsessively reading and writing about it. Here is what you can expect:

  1. August 2: Fighting with Dragons
  2. August 16: 5 Tips to Failing Well
  3. August 23: Apologies Don’t have to Suck
  4. August 30: Crushing the Second Attempt
  5. Sept. 6: Snappy Quotes about Failure
  6. Sept. 13: Shame Shame Go Away, Come Again...Never
  7. Sept. 20: Never Too Late for Now
  8. Sept. 27: The Irregular Webinar; Free To Fail

Each post will show up on Wednesdays. On Friday the post will be followed by a Tune In Tip. These weekly tips will share a practice you can try in real life. Finally the whole series will end with a webinar where we can discuss the topic in real time.

Sign up here to follow along!

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