Overcome the fear of failure

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I har­bour no il­lu­sions or ex­pec­ta­tions that when faced with trou­ble there are very few who will stand by your side when you are un­der heavy en­e­my fire.

It's part of lead­er­ship - tak­ing one for the team - is a mot­to I live by, even though at times tak­ing one for the team is no in­sur­ance that you will have com­pa­ny when the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions have to be made.

In re­al­i­ty, many of the things we think that are hard facts aren't. They are half-truths, they are as­sump­tions, they are mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions, they are based on bi­as­es and at times de­lib­er­ate and wil­ful plau­si­ble de­nial.

Like plen­ty of oth­er things in our lives, we fail to act or pro­cras­ti­nate be­cause our un­cer­tain­ty comes from fear of be­ing judged by oth­ers. We are afraid of what the group - the tribe - will think and the prospect of be­ing crit­i­cised.

Greek philoso­pher Epicte­tus once said: "If you want to im­prove, be con­tent to be thought fool­ish and stu­pid."

Theodore Roo­sevelt made the point thus when he de­clared: "In any mo­ment of de­ci­sion, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worse thing you can do is noth­ing."

Re­cent­ly faced with a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion that re­quired a se­ries of de­ci­sions, I re­flect­ed on the words of Ro­man his­to­ri­an Tac­i­tus: "The de­sire for safe­ty stands against every great and no­ble en­ter­prise."

Over time life re­veals to us that any time you are work­ing to achieve some­thing, you are go­ing against the cur­rent. The peo­ple around you will say you can't do it, you are mak­ing a mis­take, its im­pos­si­ble, you will fail. The more out-of-the-box your idea may be, the stronger the push­back.

Peo­ple will al­ways seek to make you ques­tion the jour­ney but it's im­por­tant to tran­scend the ob­sta­cles.

If you think about all of the things that have been cre­at­ed in hu­man his­to­ry that were once con­sid­ered "im­pos­si­ble". Carl Jung's ad­vice that: "You are what you do, not what you say you will do", can be in­spi­ra­tional.

T&T, Team TTO can achieve much more than we have done but we will con­tin­ue to un­der­achieve if we al­low the fear of fail­ure and un­cer­tain­ty to guide our thoughts and ac­tions.

Ten (10) or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2020, fu­ture is fe­male, gen­der equal­i­ty, cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able bil­lion-dol­lar sports in­dus­try T&T by 2030, hav­ing a world-class na­tion­al long-term ath­lete de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme, a gov­er­nance cul­ture that is best prac­tice are all im­pos­si­bles that can be pos­si­ble.

Ed­i­tor's Note:

Bri­an Lewis is the Pres­i­dent of T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) and the views ex­pressed are not nec­es­sar­i­ly those of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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