How I faced my Fear of Failure

I did something really brave, at least it was brave for me. I stood up in front of 700+ people and gave a talk at Ignite Seattle back in May. You may not know it but I’m terrified of public speaking. You’d think it would be a breeze since I’ve been on camera with Thrive Online, but in front of a live audience, there are no out-takes. I had one shot to share a message that I care deeply about and this was my first time public speaking since I bombed on stage during a high school play over 20 years ago. I still remember my mind going completely blank, the spotlight on me, the audience’s uncomfortable whispers and the shame I felt when I left the stage.

 Ironically, my Ignite Seattle presentation was about supporting kids through their feelings of failure and as I approached the microphone, my heart pounded. I was terrified my mind would go blank, that I would fail publicly, again.

And you know what- it happened, after my first slide, I froze. All I could hear in my head was- shit, shit, shit. Those seconds of silence felt like agonizing minutes. But this time I stayed on stage. This time I finished my talk. And while I did go blank- twice- (which I am still having a hard time letting go of), I faced my fear and moved through it- unintentionally demonstrating the primary message of my talk.

 So often we associate failure with shame and pain and want to avoid it at all costs. But daring to go after our dreams and step into the fire, is worth the risk. My presentation wasn’t flawless, but I had the opportunity show up and share what’s important to me and some of that old high school shame melted away.

Things in life never go exactly how we’d like. But if we try again- celebrate what worked and learn from what didn’t, we set a great example for our kids. We show them that there is always more to learn and ways we can grow. We teach them that overcoming failure is necessary in creating a life you love.

Ignite Seattle: I Want to teach your Child to Fail


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