We hear it a lot. So many stories, entrepreneurs, innovators, inspiring figures who share with us their ultimate advice: fail. Fail a lot, often, fast and repeat. Easy to say, not so easy to do.
Don't get me wrong, I do not mean it's hard to fail. I just believe that even if we read about the benefits all the time, it is hard to make this maxim ours. Failure is do-able, but the fear of it is overwhelming. I fight it everyday even if living in Silicon Valley does help. Maybe I am the only one, but I do not think so when I see the self-censorship many talented people adopt. I really feel there is something cultural and related to my education that prevents me from seeing failure as an amazing experience or a badge of honor.
On the opposite side, I can tell you how failing can make you feel like a failure. It can feel like falling without being able to get up again. I have learned to enjoy the possibility of living on the edge everyday, and yes, there is a land of pure delight where you are pushing forward the invisible limits that block you. There is a real empowerment to discovering that you are stronger than your circumstances.
I love to remind myself of this quote: "You do not attract what you want but who you are." All our relationships are a reflection of the bond we nurture with ourselves. The ones who judge us for stumbling over our mistakes are probably the ones who are the most scared people in our entourage. What we hate in someone shines a cruel light on our shadow. Sometimes I envy the ones who try, experiment as naturally as they breathe, without worrying too much about the results. It plays with my dark side, the one terrorized of disappointing, of not being "successful" (as seen by some as tied to money, prestige and fame). But the curiosity for the unknown has to be stronger. Without talking about the possibility of having an impact. Not for the applause, but to find your purpose.
In a chaotic world experimenting such a dramatic shift, curiosity is not only necessary but vital. Fighting our fear to fail is not only a personal quest, but a responsibility we owe our community. The world is so uncertain, what choice do we have? It's either the fear of failing or defining what will be next. We must keep this in mind when the phobia of being wrong paralyzes us. What will we regret the most? Having a story or what we have could have done if only...
Who will be the ones in this digital shift who will inspire, lead and design the new? Not the ones busy criticizing the failure of our idea or project. There is something worse than a life of failures. There is the life where you never give yourself the permission to create. That's what success should be: when our heart, mind and soul align with what we make. All the rest is just details.
Success is also persistence, but not only. Success is timing. As Victor Hugo said, "Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come."
Our time has come.
Be in the now and follow your gut. Embrace your digital time and revolution: the internet changes everything constantly. It's fast, messy, experimental, full of ideas, of projections, optimism, even idealism, dangers, surprises and great people to meet on your path. Sometimes it fails, sometimes it transforms the life of nations. Do the same, this is not a time to fear failure. It is about expressing who you are, proposing your vision, and if it does not work the first time, do it again, experiment, iterate, propose, change, adapt, be fast. There is always a "refresh" button.
That's who the leaders of our time will be. They will not hate failures, but will fear the status quo and the ones protecting it. They will reinvent themselves constantly without paying too much attention on how people will define them. Like an idea, nothing is as powerful as a new mindset whose time has come. Many of our attitudes as young entrepreneurs has been influenced by previous behaviors and social expectations. I have decided the fear of failure does not fit with me and who I want to attract. Failing is the new success. That's how you grow and learn who you are.
That's how you want to contribute, to impact.
Let's fail and persist. We can do it.