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  • Karen S. Clymer

Fear of Failure Powered Me to Victory

Is there something you long to do, but are afraid you will fail? As a Baby Boomer myself, I know many fellow Baby Boomers that have dreams, but fear of failure or others telling them not to take the risk lest they make a fool of themselves, won't take the necessary steps to fulfill their dream. How about letting that fear instead power you to risk embarrassment and failure to make your dream(s) come true? That is what I did in the true account below. And, it still works for me today.

Our sixth grade class had finished a study on Greece that had included their love of the Olympic games. This led to our teacher to plan 'olympic' games for our class. Out on the playground, as I stood on the starting line waiting for our girls race to begin, I was so embarrassed because I was absolutely positive I would come in last place. Suddenly, the teacher shouted, "GO!" Driven by fear of failure and coming in last place made me try much harder to ensure I did NOT come in last. Once I bolted from the starting line, I had no idea where any contender was because I was intent on doing my best to make certain I did NOT finish last. And, I did not come in last. However, I was astonished to learn that I had actually won the race!! Delirious with relief and joy and almost in shock, I remember accepting the wreath made of, [very likely], Chinese Elm tree leaves. I cherished it like it was pure gold. I had won a major victory over fear. Yes, fear of failure of coming in last place had powered me to try harder to run faster and achieve victory. That principle worked for me that day and still works for me today.

I know this goes counter to what I have heard all of my life and probably you too, to instead, "see yourself as a winner." I can honestly say that rarely works for me. Instead, seeing myself as losing, empowers me to make sure I take the necessary measures to do my best to succeed. Whichever thought process works for you, just do it and endeavor to make your dream a reality. You will not regret trying, but you will regret not trying. I hear it from time to time from those who relate a dream they had, but they let fear of failure or what others thought hold them back. Regret is a terrible thing to live with and we don't have to. The decision is ours. To try or not to try? Do I know what I am talking about? Have I tried? Yes, I have -- Began piano lessons at age forty, joined Toastmasters International to learn to be a speaker and leader at age sixty two and started a business after retirement at age sixty five, tried comedy, etc. I have no regrets and I don't want you to have any either. Come on, Go for it!

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