You stuff something up, and then you feel crap because you think you're a loser. People shun you. They blame you. Fingers are pointed. Words are spoken behind your back.
We've all been there before, so isn't it safer to not even give it a go? After all, if you just keep doing what you're doing, then everything will turn out right, wouldn't it? Heck, even those Go Getters at work has a mantra of "failure is not an option!"
Well, it IS an option, and I'll tell you why.
There's a recent blog entry asking Sir Richard Branson is a failure. You know, that guy who has stakes in everything Virgin (the brand..!). In the article, it reports that:
But the reality is that Branson is a failure, he has made many mistakes and even had businesses close down (famously Branson failed when he tried to grow and sell Christmas trees in the 60s).
It then also lists a few others that have been deemed as failures such as Einstein, JK Rowling, the Beatles and Michael Jordan. I won't recite the article, but you can read it here.
"Yeah, but that's a rare few!" some might say.
I'm not just an improvisor. I'm also a qualified, postgraduate degree-earned project manager where it's typically seen that failure is something to be feared. We were taught that old belief back in my early days in my former career, but that's changed now as sometimes something has to fail first before you can action the remedy and make it better. Also, without failure, there is less risk, and conversely lesser rewards.
Look at Google. If they feared failure, they wouldn't have experimented with driverless cars and Google Glass. It may not pay off straight away, but in the long term it will because there would've been lessons learnt allowing further growth of the company. Same with yourself.
Yes, I know it's about choosing when and what to risk, and we naturally try to mitigate risks (teenagers less so; the whole puberty and brain chemical thing) but it's when the fear of failure inhibits us to try, THAT is when things are stagnant.
So how do you get over that fear?
Well, let's face it. Life isn't scripted. Neither is improv. And the thing with improv is that the best moments in a scene arise from failure - the dealing with it, the journey away from it and the ultimate success over it. It's a safe environment to get comfortable with lessening that fear has over you.
It allows you to live life more fully.
It allows you to see and grab opportunity when others won't.
But you already knew that, right?