Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Failing Ahead of Time

Show Notes

Are you holding yourself back, choosing not to try or challenge yourself because you are afraid to fail?

Brooke Castillo from The Life Coach School calls this “Failing Ahead of Time”.

If you can’t / won’t / don’t do it then you have already failed! You didn’t try and you will never know if you could have done it or not. It doesn’t matter what “it” is you have still failed.

No decision is still a decision, you just choose not to.

Look at Failure in a Different Light

There are winners and learners.

Your “failures” are not failures if you learn something and can then apply it. Failures are and should be seen as learning experiences. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t but what did you learn?

The very first time I drove someone else’s car it was on a back road, way out of the way, I didn’t have my licence and had very little experience. I was very keen to show that I could do it and was very overconfident. I did ok until it came to stopping the car. I have turned into a carpark near the river area we were going to be having a picnic. We were on the top section of the river, just before the edge of a small waterfall.

Back in the day, there wasn’t bollards and so people had to be responsible for themselves. I turned into the parking area, good speed and touched the brakes not much happened. We were heading towards the top part of the river, above the waterfall very quickly. Be such a novice and driving a manual car I didn’t know that I needed to always put my put on the clutch to stop the car.

Fortunately, I miss judged the turn slightly and clipped the 4wd next to us. No damage to the 4wd, a tiny little scratch on the car I was driving but we stopped, and I stalled the car. Mighty embarrassing but at least we didn’t end up face-first in the river which I am sure is what would have happened otherwise. All these years later I still remember that incident very clearly, I remember the lesson learned will be forever grateful to the universe for serving it up to me that day.

Did I fail, not in my opinion I learned an extremely valuable lesson – ask for help when you are heading too fast for the river.


If you are not making mistakes, then you are not growing. Most things and people only develop under pressure. Mistakes create pressure and learning opportunities and yes often you have to make your own mistakes to learn.

Failure advances you in ways that success never will. A child who has always found school easy and done really well doesn’t learn the study technics that they need to advance to university and withdraws in the first year. It is the first time that they have found it hard and they didn’t learn the resilience they need to cope with the stressful situation because it has always been easy.

People that win the lotteries statistically end up worse off after a few years because their money mistakes are too big to recover from.

Don’t fear making mistakes learn, manoeuvre and make small mistakes so that you can change to avoid the big ones.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of success. When you realize that, you free yourself from the fear of failure. In life, failure is inevitable. And the best leaders learn from their failure. They use it as a tool to become successful. 

Being Amazing

You can be amazing, be successful, be the best, yes you can do it. But first, you have to try.

Make the choice and do the work.

To be amazing you will need to challenge yourself, stretch, push and get out of your comfort zone. But guess what in most instances you won’t die and you might even surprise yourself and win.

How will you know what you are capable of if you don’t try? You won’t continue to grow and succeed to higher levels to be amazing if you continue to do the same things as you have always done. The basic benchmark is always changing.

In 1855 for a man to run a 4.28 minute mile was considered exceptional. In 1954 the 4 minute mile was broken and in 1999 a 3.43 minute mile was recorded. The 4 ½ minute mile now is no longer amazing.


Fear has killed far more dreams than lack of skill, money, circumstance, or situations. A lot of people are just too scared to start let alone go the distance to succeed.

Let’s turn FEAR around as well.

False Evidence Appearing Real

How many times have you been scared in the middle of the night . . .

Until you realise what is causing the noise.

It’s the noisy fridge, the cat jumping off the bookshelf, the wind blowing the cushion off the outdoor setting, etc.

Once you find out what is making the noise you are no longer fearful and it is the same as trying new things. After you have done it once you know what to expect and it is not nearly as scary as you thought it would be.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”

Failing Ahead of Time

Often, we can’t see the how, however if you know the why you will succeed and the benefits of giving it your all will be so incredible that you will wonder why you were worried at all.

Give new things a try. Plan, practice and then just do it. Don’t get paralysed in research or getting everything perfect.

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Please don’t fail ahead of time just because you didn’t even try. You have got this give it a go.

Listen to the full episode of Small Business Talk episode 129.


Failing Ahead of Time

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