What If I Fail?

Ed Thomas Coaching

posted on Sunday, February 25, 2018

What if I fail?

We all have that little voice inside of our heads. What if I fail? This question is an example of one’s self-talk. However, this type of self-talk may indicate a lack of confidence. Individuals that have confidence do not consider failure an option because they think they’re going to make it. It doesn’t mean they willmake it, it’s that they think they will make it. Just like The Little Engine That Could– “I think I can.” So, that’s my first thought for those that may lack confidence– check your self-talk.

1. Self-Talk– Take an internal review, how do you talk to yourself? If you find that your self-talk is mostly negative, then you may need to make an adjustment. Negative self-talk or questioning our skills leads to fear. If our brain senses fear, physiological changes take place in us that can cause tightness and what is referred to as “choking.” 

One of the greatest pleasures of my life was having a job where I could interact with and observe just a small number of individuals in a group. These people would attack tasks with aggressiveness and without fear. Yes, for a small number of people, confidence seems to be part of their nature. They don’t worry or question their abilities. Positive self-talk like “I think I can, I think I can,” is real and powerful. It’s not just for little children.

2. All things are hard before they become easy.– This statement also says a lot about confidence. Many skills require hours, days, weeks, if not years of mundane repetition before we become proficient. For some, it takes longer than others. Therefore, we should not expect confidence to happen overnight if we have not put in the proper effort.

3. What about conceitedness or cockiness?– I don’t like it at all when people come across as conceited or cocky. Trust me, I was a teacher and coach for many years, so I’ve seen my fair share of cocky individuals. I have to say though, coaching taught me that with leadership it’s easier to take cockiness out of someone than it is to put confidence into someone who lacks it.  

4. What about false confidence?– This is when people believe their skill level is adequate when in fact it is not. I recall believing as a young person that I knew a lot more than my parents. Boy, have my parents gotten smarter over the years. We should not shy away from evaluation or constructive criticism from people we respect or those that have expertise.

In the end, it’s once again a search for balance. We need to be confident in our abilities, but not cocky. We need to keep an open mind and never become too old to learn.

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline."

Timothy 1:7

Your Challenge

Think about how you talk to yourself. If self-talk is negative, work to change it. Put in the necessary time and effort to become proficient in the skills you need to pursue what you want to do in your life.

Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation

This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.