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Failing doesn’t bother me as much as failing to act

Dear reader,

“Failing doesn’t bother me as much as failing to act does.”
– Cal Evans

It’s not a unique thought, others have written about it as well. However, this simple thought was driven home to me recently.

I got a call one day in December from a good friend of mine. He started talking about an exciting opportunity he had and that he was considering myself or one other person to help him with it. I knew deep down inside that if I did it, it would push me way out of my comfort zone. I also knew that if I did it, the project would have had a much higher ROI for my friend because I was best suited to help him promote it. Foolishly however, I passed on the opportunity giving a lame excuse because I was just too afraid to act. I failed. I failed my friend but more importantly, I failed myself.

I passed on an opportunity when I could have simply stepped up and stepped out of my comfort zone. Yes, there is a possibility I could have failed miserably. However I will never know if I could have done the job or not. I don’t regret many actions in my life, I do regret a lot of my in-actions, like this one.

As I sit here in the new year and write this, it’s not to whine or complain about a missed opportunity. I’ve learned from my mistake and moved on. This blog post is just a reminder to myself to seize opportunities that push me out of my comfort zone. Yes, I will fail at some of them. However, I’d rather be known as the guy who failed than the guy who didn’t try.

Until Next Time,

I <3 |<

6 thoughts on “Failing doesn’t bother me as much as failing to act

  1. I’d heard a story years ago about a guy being offered a sales position with a startup company in the 70s. He would be the first official ‘sales guy’ in the company, but from what I remember, for very little pay, mostly stock. The guy wasn’t quite prepared financially to take a cut in “pay”, so he passed. The company was Apple.

    Aprocryphal? Perhaps. But these types of stories generally serve to motivate us to ‘action’. However, following up on every opportunity that comes along because it might be the next Apple or Google or have a great ROI simply isn’t possible.

    I’ve been in your shoes before, and will probably be again. Sometimes, acting on the hesitation might actually be the best thing. If you were that afraid to act at that moment, but forced yourself through, it might not have worked out. Your fear might never have quite gone away, and it would have been working against you while you were working with him.

    It’s easy to second guess these things after the fact, and you know your situation most intimately than I do (obviously!). Don’t beat yourself up over it too much. This was another lesson learned on life’s journey, and you’ll be that much more prepared for the next opportunity that comes around, whether to reject it firmly, or run with it.

  2. Thanks for the reminder Cal. It’s not just a reminder to yourself, but also to us out here. I’ll try to learn from your mistake, keep this in mind for the next time I get offered such an opportunity.

  3. My wife has always offered an interesting rejoinder when I have found myself in similar situations.

    Me: “I should have taken that job at …!”

    Wife: “No, this is much better. You might have been killed while driving.”

    So, maybe the hesitation is an unseen angel watching over you.

  4. Cal, I’ve been in your situation many times. I’ve gone both directions, too – taken the risk, and passed it by. There are no hard and fast rules and it’s impossible to tell ahead of time which path is correct. However, I have learned something that has served me well. “Things that are meant to happen usually do.” When I’ve gone after a challenge and had had to fight my way through hassle and challenge and problem and obstacle, it never worked out in the end. Conversely, when things just fall into place it has always worked out. I think when an opportunity presents itself and your gut — your first unfiltered reaction — tells you to walk away, it’s usually a good idea to do so. The only time my gut reaction was wrong was when I didn’t follow it.

    Just my $.01 (that’s two cents after taxes).

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