Are you Seriously Still THINKING About It?
By Emma Rainville
No matter their position, a shocking number of high-level employees, managers and executives just can’t make a decision… They are incapable of taking their best judgement, adding a few important details and deciding on a plan to move forward with.
It’s one of the subjects that I am passionate about and LOVE to debate. At the same time, it is the single most challenging and frustrating thing I deal with at Shockwave when it comes to our clients and vendors. It’s a common story:
They take too long to give us a decision or make a strategic move, and it ends up costing them thousands of dollars.
For most of them, there’s a simple reason they can’t decide: they are afraid to fail. I get wanting to make the right choices, I get wanting to be informed… But I don’t get being paralyzed by indecision, so afraid of failure you cost yourself or your company thousands of dollars, or miss out on real opportunities because you just couldn’t make a decision.
I’ve actually been asked a bunch of times how I can make such quick decisions so confidently. I won’t lie – it’s super simple to me. It comes like a second nature. But that likely has a lot to do with the way I was raised, as well as the opportunities and environment where I developed, and the fact I was always given the opportunity and encouragement to fail.
So let’s rewind a few decades and head to a kitchen table in Mechanicsville, Virginia – my childhood home. My father would frequently ask each of his children, “what have you failed at lately”?
When we would tell him, he would high five us and praise us for having tried. If we didn’t have anything to report he’d always look disappointed and tell us one thing:
“If you don’t try, you’ll never succeed, and if you’re not comfortable with failing and trying again, you’ll never do anything great in this life”.
It got to a point where I’d actually try to find something to fail at so I could get his praise. At the same time, it inspired me to go out and start taking on the world:
- I started my first business when I was 10 years old. It was a car washing service where I would make my friends Jim and Mark wash the cars… I’d collect the money.
- I tried out and got on the boys football team.
- I tried out to go to states as a freshman and became the first freshman in Virginia (at the time) to qualify for states.
- I decided to join the IDF after my freshman year of college and became one of the highest ranking females for the amount of time served.
Putting it another way, for my whole life I’ve been kicking ass and not caring about names.
Of course, like my father taught me, there’s no success without failure.
- Despite our success with the car wash, when Jim, Alex and I tried to launch a business as adults, it failed miserably – as did the second we tried. It wasn’t until the third try that we found success with Starlight Entertainment. Of course, that success wouldn’t be possible if I had a fear of failure… far too many people would give up after the first difficulties emerged.
- I met a marine and thought it was the be all and end all of everything forever, after 6 weeks I married him. That marriage ended the first time it was tested. But I learned from the experience – I got married to Gabriel and he breathes life in me like no other human ever has. I never met anyone I couldn’t walk away from until I met him. That man makes me.
- I moved to Puerto Rico in hopes of building a publishing company. It turned out to be the worst decision I’ve ever made. Not only did I hate the company I was working for and the person that owned it, I was not fond of being in Puerto Rico and away from my husband most of the time. Despite that, while I was with that company, I met Travis. He became my most trusted ally and we decided to start Shockwave Solutions together. Our business is thriving, we have a waiting list of clients, and I have never been happier to get up and work everyday!
Like I’ve said, I’ve failed over and over again – in fact, for every success I’ve ever had there have been 10 failures behind them. There is a cost for excellence and achievement. Train yourself to be okay with failing.
Being afraid to fail doesn’t add anything, but having the experience and ability to accept failure means that you’re able to keep moving forwards whatever happens. That’s one problem out of your way on your path to success.