Fear of Failure Impedes Success

Fear of Failure Impedes Success
Circa 1994 with my fellow World Cup Soccer volunteers. I am in the blue shirt in the lower left.

Each month, Chicago Now pushes us by giving us a topic that we have an hour to write about. Tonight our assignment if we chose to accept it was to "Write about fear, or lack thereof, and the role it has played in any aspect of your life.". FDR stated over 80 years ago that "the only thing we have to fear is fear its self"  Those words still ring true today.

Fear rule too often rules our lives. Fear can come in many forms. Fear oof asking out a potential date, fear of calling a company back after a job interview or just taking just taking a chance and not living life. Fear of rejection, fear of failure in general.

My father who has been an amazingly accomplished athlete throughout his life always tried to teach us that the answer is always no if you don't ask. What he was trying to teach us is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. I unfortunately never used that advice and ironically doomed myself to failure in many aspects of like. The irony about those afraid of failing is that by not trying you are setting yourself up to fail.

I have wanted to work in sports since I was 12 years old. I come from a very successful athletic family. My father, sister and brother have all achieved amazing success on mostly courts (tennis and basketball).

I was exposed to sports at a very young age. Both my mother's and father's families love sports. My maternal grandfather had Blackhawks and Bears seasons tickets and my father had Bulls season tickets. My father took me with him frequently as he played on the professional racquetball tour in the 1970's and then I got to see his alma mater Louisville win the national championship at the 1980 Final Four and I was fortunate to return two years later to see Michael Jordan and North Carolina win two years later.

The best example of my fear of failure occurred 20 years ago. When the United States was awarded the 1994 World Cup, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Because of my job at the East Bank Club at the time, I had flexible hours and was able to volunteer in the World Cup office for a couple of months leading up to the opening of the World Cup. I volunteered in the Media Department.

Because the hours that I had put in and the confidence they had in me, I was asked to be the volunteer coordinator. I was 26 at the time. I turned  it down, because I was afraid I would fail.

I thought I would have other opportunities to do something like this. To have been able to put something like this on my resume would have been incredible and the experience would have been as well. As it turned out, I did get to work the opening ceremonies on the field. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life.

I was on the field as the Presidents of the United States, Bolivia and Germany were in the stands. Unfortunately, the six week volunteer position turned out to be an amazing personal experience, but never was the career catalyst I had hoped it would or could be. My fear of failure is ultimately what did me in.

The most successful people fear failure as much as the average person, but their ability to overcome it is ultimately what pushes them to reach heights most of us cannot even imagine obtaining.

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Filed under: International Sports

Tags: blogapalooza


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