I used to be a perfectionist, and therefore failing was never an option. As I lived through life, with its ups and downs, laughter and tears, with all the rain and sunshine and calm after the storms, I realized failure is part of the reality of life, and to dare to fail takes courage. To get up and dust oneself off, and not to be afraid of the judgments of others even after one admits failure, takes a great amount of self awareness, focus and mindfulness.

Some of us are afraid to let others see we failed; that comes from the need to be accepted, and included. The mere fear that we can be judged and put down, makes us feel insecure and unable to embrace failure in our business and personal relationships. In doing different projects and making different decisions, failure is inevitable, but how we respond and react to it, how we grow and recover from it, that is in our control. when we embrace failure, and let go of this constant pressure to succeed, we are given a great platform for growth, to dream, and to learn. Instead of constantly measuring our success or failure, by social or cultural standards, we need to remember that even very successful people have failed at one time or the other, but that hasn’t held them back or kept them from moving forward, and achieve their “wildest” dreams. Walt Disney for example, was once fired by an editor for “ lack of imagination and having no good ideas.” J. K. Rowling, the author of the very successful Harry Potter series, was a single mother living on welfare before her first novel was published. In her own words, “ By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. -Thomas A. Edison

Change doesn’t happen in one night. Be patient with yourself and take small, baby steps to help you stare down the mere possibility of an opportunity to fail. Keep a journal, and write down the very last time you feel you failed, what happened, and why and how it made you feel. then make a list of things you can do to be kinder to yourself, and remind yourself that life is a learning process, with highs and lows, and everybody fails sometimes. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t let cultural and social standards define you. Take small leaps and find the roots of why you let the idea of failure scare you, and remember no dream is out of reach when you take the very first step to achieve it.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. — Paulo Coelho