I once knew someone whose motto was to never put himself forward for anything. He would half complete courses but never take the exam, his belief being that if they never took a test he could never “fail” at anything. He admitted his motto was “Don’t Try, Can’t Fail.”
It’s an interesting philosophy and whilst he may have saved himself the occasional embarrassment of failure, you often have to tussle with setbacks to reach the prize of success.
His philosophy came to mind as I attended two excellent events last Tuesday. The Women Unlimited Start up Meet-up – a networking event for women who have recently or are thinking about starting up their own business, and an Inspiring Speakers event at the British Library “Mothers of Invention with Liz Jackson, Laura Tenison, Gurinder Chadha and Dee Wright
For me the two events presented a perfect snapshot of women poised with toes on the starting line, trying to gauge the track ahead, and the evening’s speakers who were stomping ahead in the race – but not without a grazed knee from a stumble or two.
There will be women from that evening who will remain behind the starting line as their inspiration from the evening wanes and the obstacles seem insurmountable, especially when success cannot be guaranteed. From the questions in the audience, there was a sense of seeking reassurance. Many asked about how to overcome the obstacles the women had faced, how they motivated themselves every day, what were their first steps.
The evening’s speakers were definitely not from the “Don’t Try Can’t fail” school of philosophers. They were of the “Go out there and do…and figure it out as you go.” They took the risk and laid their dreams bare; taunting failure as they dared it to stop them.
With regards to motivation, Liz Jackson, who went completely blind three months into launching her business said she started every morning by counting all the things she was thankful for including: “my very attractive husband…or so he tells me” she quipped.
Liz also mentioned that people in the UK are very lucky and if you have a roof above your head, warm clothes and food in your belly, then you are already in the top few percent of the most successful people in the world and we are “successful by birthright” with more responsibility to make something of ourselves.
The evening made me think about taking more risks, expanding faster and being a bit more daring. I’m over the starting line and now it’s time to turn that amble into a jog.
What’s keeping you from stepping over the starting line? What resources or inspiration have you used to make you take the plunge and follow your dream?