By: Jessica Manuel
There is one person who limits your success more than anyone else— you. We all have doubts because we all have expectations. Some have higher expectations than others and they are typically the ones that fail the most, and they are usually the most successful. We can fall into the trap of limiting our true potential when we fear failure, never recognizing that what we’re “feeling” is the fear associated with the risk of failure, not the actual failure itself.
Seth Godin talks about this in his book “What to do When it’s Your Turn”. One point Seth talks about is the fear of Stupidity: “Stupid is not uncommon. Stupid is the way we feel when working on a difficult problem. Stupid is the emotion associated with learning— we are stupid and then we are not. The pre-learning state is stupidity.”
If we’re all learning, why do we put so much emphasis on the lack of knowledge we are yet to acquire? We inevitably change that by trying, by failing and getting up and trying again. The more you fail, the more you learn; and in the end you’ll surprise yourself when you find the “science to success”.
What is more rewarding— chaining yourself to doubts or channeling the fear of failure towards your success? That’s up to you to decide, but the latter is far more fun!
Many of us compare ourselves to others to determine what success is for ourselves. When we use comparison as the motivator, we are not honouring who we naturally are and robbing ourselves from understanding what we have to offer others. What I realized was that people change, you change and so do your experiences. Your expectations need to change too.
There was a time in my life where I realized that my experiences were shaping not only the expectations I had of others, but it shaped the expectations I had for myself. At sixteen, I battled with poverty. The first time I went into a food bank, I subconsciously was forming the reality of my future while observing my surroundings. I compared myself to the others in the room- some 3 X my age.
In a matter of minutes I said to myself “this is what I have to look forward to” and I accepted it. Beautiful part is, as long as my circumstances weren’t worse than sitting in a food bank waiting for my next supply of food, I considered my circumstances to be normal. The scary part about that is, I was never trying to be my best- I was just trying to beat my worst.
The only way I broke the reality of that was through asking questions, taking risks and surprising myself. The more I proved to myself that sitting in a food bank wasn’t my reality, the less doubt I had for the next project. I started to understand that opportunity was up to me, not up to anyone else.
If you choose to accept the doubt, know that it’s linked to consequences. Recognize that having doubts is a good thing, because you’re going to learn something, you can apply the knowledge acquired through failure and try again when others won’t try in the first place. In the end no one cares more than you about exceeding your expectations… So doubt yourself enough to drive your version of excellence.
In the end you hold the key— opportunity— it’s up to you to take it.