Destination Failure: Why It's Not Always The Worst

by Shonali Burke on May 26, 2010

On any given day, no matter what you think, perceive or know about me, one thing I’m sure you don’t know – at least until now – is that I’m afraid.

Yes, Big News Flash: Mayra is scared!

Image: ~Erebos‘ Flickrstream, Creative Commons

Of what, exactly?

Well, it’s many things, really. I actually don’t know where to start because the list is so long.

But first let me say that my fear, in no way shape or form, should be mistaken for any lack of confidence, vision or talent. I wouldn’t be in my third year in business without these critical ingredients which are absolutely required for any measure of success.

Despite all the positive things I believe my business and I have been gifted with of late, fear permeates every corner of my day-to-day world.

It’s the fear of the unknown. It’s the fear of disappointing those who rely on me most.

It’s the fear of making a decision I will later regret.

Ironically, I do not fear failure.

Destination Failure” is hardly a new place for me … and it shouldn’t be a new place for you, either.

I’ve been there plenty of times, trust you me. Although yes, I admit, no one seeks out to fail, but boy … when you do fall flat on your face, you can’t deny that most of us, me included, walk away from that failed pit stop with incredible insight, lessons learned and new-found experience that seasons us and makes us a tad bit wiser.

The other day a team member apologized profusely for his mistake. My response? How can you learn if you don’t make mistakes?

The knowledge we gain from tripping up here and there helps sharpen our senses as we continue to ride this crazy roller coaster of small business ownership.

Now back to that pesky fear o’ mine…

I think the trepidation I’m feeling these days is that I have first-hand experience of how fleeting “success” can be. This experience reminds me just how fickle victory in business often is. One minute you’re up, business is grand and you start feeling as if you are on top of the world – nothing can stop you.

But just as you begin to bask in your own glory, another minute comes and unexpectedly brings you crashing down, glory and all, faster than you can say “O-u-c-h!”

While some may equate fear to weakness, I actually welcome every ounce of fear I have in my bones.

My fear keeps me awake and alert. It makes me remember every single day that clients have other choices beyond us. My fear motivates me to do more, period.

“What more can I do today for our clients that I didn’t do for them yesterday?”

I am convinced that the moment you lose all your fear in your business, two critical things happen:

  1. You begin to lose inspiration, focus and drive
  2. You begin to take clients, projects and people for granted

I wouldn’t share this with you if I hadn’t experienced this myself back in another life and previous venture years ago. I vowed then, in the aftermath, to stay a just little fearful and never think for one moment that things will always be as they are today.

Bottom line

Use your fear to steer you clear of pitfalls such as these. My recommendation to any and all entrepreneurs is to yes, absolutely be confident and definitely stay proud but always, ALWAYS make room for a little fear.

Fear will keep you on your toes and, hey, who can’t benefit from that?


Mayra Ruiz is founder of Ruiz McPherson Communications, a social media influence and digital marketing service based in historic Charles Town, West Virginia. With more than 15 years of hands-on marketing, communications and PR experience, Mayra leads her clients forward on all aspects of creative direction, online promotion and marketing communications with innovation, passion and gusto.  When offline, Mayra enjoys “old fashioned” non-techy stuff like cooking, sewing and collecting vintage treasures from area antiques stores. She can be reached at www.twitter.com/mayraruiz or www.twitter.com/ruizmcpherson (her marketing practice).

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