The Failure Challenge

I recently read the book The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, which was a scientific and sociological look into the gender gap in confidence and how women can address this in their own lives. The biggest piece of advice that I gleaned from the book – which is well-written, accessible, and applicable, and you should read it, man or woman – was to stop fearing failure. Fail fast. Fail often. And in looking at my life, I realized that there were not too many instances that I could look at and say, “That. That was a time that you failed.” Some people might hear that and think, “Yeah, yeah, go ahead and brag about how great you are, without any failures in your past,” but in reality, it means that I have been playing it too safe.

I don’t want to play my life safe. I want to play my life big and grand, I want to take risks and experience things, and that means that I need to stop shying away from failure.

For a while now, I have had the idea for a failure challenge bouncing around in my brain. There was a draft of a blog post on my previous blog entitled The Failure Challenge, and there has been one on this blog for the past six or so months now, too. I started to write it, and then I thought, “Nah, this is pointless.” So I scrapped it. Deleted it completely. But then, as I read The Confidence Code, I realized that I was on to something, something that could enhance my life and set me up for further success, as well as showing other people that failure is not something to be reviled and avoided at all costs.

So was re-born The Failure Challenge.

There is an app that I am going to check out that gives you daily rejection challenges, to help inure you against the pain of hearing the word “no.” I guess there are challenges such as, “Walk up to a stranger on the street and ask to borrow $50.” I am uncertain of how much I will use the app, if at all, but if I do, I will definitely be chronicling my adventures here. (In doing some Googling, I discovered that there is also a game that you can buy! Cool.)

A few other ways that I plan on confronting my fear of failure:

  • I have always loved the idea of performing, and the few times I did it were incredible and exhilarating, but the anticipation of performing is enough to make me sick to my stomach. So I am going to seek out some performance opportunities. I’ve been debating taking singing lessons because I really enjoy singing, and I am also thinking about finding a play that I can audition for.
  • In the same vein, I fear improv. With a deep, deep terror. I loved my high school drama class and my high school drama teacher, and even so, one of the only disagreements we ever had was when she forced me to do improv and I threw a hissy fit because I was terrified. We have a great improv group here in Edmonton, and they offer workshops. So I am going to do one of those workshops. Improv is all about saying yes, and getting over your fear of looking stupid. Sounds perfect, right?
  • Start making the stationery I have been talking about making for more than a year. There is literally not a single reason why I haven’t started yet except that I am afraid of sucking at it.
  • Submit writing work to publications.

And anything else that makes me want to curl into a ball of armadillo-like terror.

I am really looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone (hahah, right, I actually feel like I am going to puke, but that’s okay). I hope that you guys will join me for the journey and we can all learn something new together!

Does anyone have any experience with purposefully seeking out rejection and failure? I would love to hear about it in the comments!


The Failure Challenge

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