06/04/2013 02:17 pm ET Updated Aug 04, 2013

Don't Be Afraid to Fail

When I was applying to colleges, I didn't have the grade point average or SAT scores of my scholarly sister, Laura. My high school guidance counselor asked me why I wasn't applying to more challenging schools, and my only response was that I didn't have the grades my sister did and I wouldn't get in. He asked me how I knew if I didn't apply. This time, I had no response.

What could I say? He was right. I certainly wasn't going to get in if I didn't apply, and there was no way I could be any worse off by sending in a submission. I took the chance, expanded my application pool and was accepted at six of the seven schools I applied to. The only downside was eating crow in front of my guidance counselor when the acceptance letters came in.

We can't be afraid of failure. If we don't try, we have already failed.

Why not give yourself the chance to succeed? Pick something that scares you a bit, and decide you are going to take the risk to follow through with it today. The only real failure is not trying it at all. As Wayne Gretzky says, "We miss 100 percent of the shots we never take." Take the shot and take the chance.

Ask yourself why you are afraid of failing. Are you worried about looking foolish in front of others? Are you worried about letting others -- or even yourself -- down? I often have to heed the same advice I give my 5-year-old daughter. The only way you will look foolish and the only way you'll let me down is if you don't put in any effort. You are right, you might fail the first few times. And, you might not! Sometimes the only way to find success is to fail a number of times in order to learn, develop and grow. Remember that Steve Jobs was fired from Apple. He came back and changed the world.

When I think of the end of my life, I know I'd be much more disappointed in myself for not taking the risk than I would be for having a number of near misses. I know that regrets will be much harder to swallow than off-shoots.

Motivational Tips and Tools

As an Olympian, bestseller, inspirational speaker, and Biggest Loser motivational expert, I'm often asked for tips, tools, quotes and activities to help people reach their goals. I like to end all of my blogs with short tools that are driven from actual advice I've shared.

This week's tip:

Also at the end of your life, you likely want to look back and appreciate that the things you did truly mattered. They carried some depth and value or they impacted people in a positive way. Make sure your actions align with the legacy you someday hope to leave behind. Each day you let pass without this objective is another opportunity missed.

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