Fear of failure | Macro

Fear of failure


By Nick Alford, Head of Corporate Health and Safety, Macro

A few weeks ago I wrote about the motivating factors behind my English Channel swim, and since then I have had the privilege of telling my tale to many interested people. 

These people have fallen into two distinct groups. 

The “well, you’ve done that now, better get on with your life…” people; and the “What’s next then…?” people. 

Co-incidentally many of the people in the first group were the same nay-saying “too far, too deep, too cold…” people that I spoke to before the swim. 

Should I stop here and nestle down with contentment at the achievement, or should I look to see what’s next and continue to challenge myself, test the boundaries and once again flirt with the chance of failure? 

Macro has had a great deal of success in the last two years, particularly recently. Do we sit back and enjoy our success and maintain the steady state for the next two years? Should we sit back, light the fire, pour a nice cup of Horlicks and play safe, afraid of trying and failing, but content in the knowledge that we’ll be okay for the next couple of years. Some will think so. 

But as Woody Allen said “If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative”. 

We must look to challenge ourselves, take risks, maintain momentum and grow as we move towards our 2020 vision and provide our clients with the innovation and enthusiasm that an agile 21st Century company should provide and confidently tackle the chance of failure. 

But what if we fail? 

In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt delivered this now famous address in Paris. 

“It is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better. 

“The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends oneself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly. 

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though chequered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 

As for me, will we see a Macro flag on top of Everest or the Macro crest emblazoned down the side of an ocean rowing boat? Maybe.