Overcome Your Fear of Failure

I’m doing something scary in a couple of weeks.

I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember. I’m super comfortable playing in front of people.

But in a couple of weeks, I’m having a concert to officially release my new EP. And it’s terrifying.

Why is it so scary? What makes this concert any different from the countless worship events, church services, and fundraisers that I’ve played in the past?

Well, I think it’s because I’m presenting my own music. I’m putting the event together myself, and I’m using it to promote my own music and get the word out. It’s something I’ve never done before and the thought of it scares me. In fact, I’ve been putting it off for some time and waffling about whether or not I should do it at all.

What if nobody shows up? What if they don’t like my music? What if I screw up really badly on the first song?

What if I fail?

You see, I think we all have a fear of failure. We figure that it would be better not to try something than to try it and fail. At least that way, we don’t embarass ourselves in front of everyone, right?

I read a quote recently that stuck with me. It is credited to Thomas J. Watson, president of IBM in the early 1900’s. The quote is simple:

If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.

That’s powerful.

Think about it. Say I’m trying to learn a song on guitar. How to I become successful? Practice of course. But what is practice, really?

Trying, and failing, over and over again until we finally get it right.

This quote inspired me to go ahead with my release event. Just do it! Get as many people out as I can. If only 10 people show up, put on a great show for them. If 100 people show up, do the same. That way, the next time I release an album and want to have a release concert, it will be a little less scary. I’ll be able to look back and say “I’ve done that once already, and it worked out just fine”. Even if it doesn’t go perfectly.

So, do you want to produce better mixes from your studio? Double your rate of producing bad mixes.

Want to write better songs? Double your rate of writing bad songs.

Overcome your fear of failure. In fact, I would say you should embrace failure. Realize that if you fail at something, it means you’re one critical step closer to succeeding.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that you should release shoddy work. Of course you want to do your best to produce music that you’re proud of.

But don’t wait for it to be perfect. The only way to get better is to finish projects. Release them. Fail, and try again.

So, how are you going to face your fear? Leave a comment or send me an email telling me what your fear is, and how you think you might try to overcome it. Remember, the way to get better at something is to try, and when you try, you might fail. But failure is not necessarily a bad thing. It means you’re getting closer. Closer to your goals. Closer to where you want to be.

So please get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

But most importantly, face that fear. Achieve that goal. Fail more, and get better faster.


2 thoughts on “Overcome Your Fear of Failure

  1. I read a great quote once from Seth Godin. He said “If I fail more than you do, I win.”

    That’s a quote that has stuck with me since the day I first heard it. Great advice! Thanks Alex!


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