People do not wander around and then find themselves at the top of Mount Everest. – Zig Ziglar
A teacher once said to me that the kids that do well are the ones that aren’t afraid to fail.
Think about that for a second.
When did we first learn that it was bad to fail?
Not when we’re small.
Babies are, to be quite frank, rubbish at everything.
But they don’t know that – they just haven’t a clue just how badly they do the simplest things.
And, as a result, they just get on with doing things badly until they do them better.
Like feeding themselves. At first, they’re not sure which end of the spoon to hold or where it goes.
But they figure it out eventually and somehow or the other most babies end up being able to wield a spoon.
Learning to walk is actually a process of learning how to put one foot in front of the other without falling over.
And these are the things I tell myself when I’m in a new situation like a networking group.
The fact is that everyone in that room knows everyone else, has a perfect pitch and is clearly much better than I will ever be.
And that’s ok.
Because when you’re rubbish, at least you have a chance to get better.
I’ve found that it’s no bad thing to be really bad at something you try and do for the first time.
For starters, it teaches you humility.
You realise that you don’t know everything, that your pitch could do with refining, maybe even tossing out and starting again.
It makes you look at what you’re trying to get across with fresh eyes.
A long time ago I talked to someone about the effect words might have on how you felt.
My view was that it didn’t matter what someone said – you always had the choice about how to feel about what they said.
It was your choice to get angry or sad or happy.
The person I was speaking to disagreed – her view was that it was your responsibility if your words made someone else feel a certain way.
That’s a tomato vs tomato argument, perhaps.
But if someone doesn’t understand what you say – well that’s easier to sort out.
You just keep trying new combinations of words until you find ones that work.
The fact is failure only matters in a one-shot game.
If you only have one chance to get it right then you have to get it right.
But life isn’t mostly like that.
Life is a repeated game – where you play the same one-shot game again and again.
If you went to one networking event and were rubbish – you can do it again next week.
You might still be rubbish – but a little less so.
And then the next time you’ll do something different and it will be different and maybe it will be better.
If you want to be successful the most important thing to remember is the idea of baby steps – all you’ve got to do is keep practising and eventually you’ll walk and run and jump.
As long as you keep practising.