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Ramit’s Hall of Shame

The most successful people are, counterintuitively, the most honest about their failures. Use this mindset to overcome your own fear of failure.

Ramit Sethi · November 3rd, 2014

I always laugh when I hear someone ask, “What was your most embarrassing moment?”

Do you seriously think I would ever tell you?

For normal people, their most embarrassing moment involves shitting their pants at the age of 26, getting brutally rejected when proposing to their girlfriend of 3 years in front of a crowd at Central Park, or quitting their job and showing up to the new, better job on the first day, only to find out they never actually got the job.

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I know people who have done all of these things. You should have seen me laughing as I wrote that last paragraph. God I love it (also, I’m going to hell).

So while I really like you, I’m sure as hell not going to tell you my most embarrassing moment.

But I WILL tell you some things that have gone wrong recently.

Failure #1 – I royally screwed up my chance to talk at TED

A few months ago, I got introduced to the woman who chooses the speakers at TED. I couldn’t wait to talk with her — speaking at TED has been a dream for years. So I got ready, took a taxi to the meeting, and waited in the lobby to meet her. When she came out, we made small talk, then she said, “OK, what do you have for me?”

I had come up with a few ideas over the past couple of days, and I pitched her. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I could tell it was over. There was zero reaction. She said, “As you know, our audience includes people like Bill Gates…how would this appeal to him?” My response was as weak and sickly as a Russian orphan. As she walked me out, she didn’t even say, “Let me know when you have a better idea.” Instead, she said: “Nice to meet you. Thank you for coming in.”

It wasn’t her fault. It was MINE. I hadn’t done my normal level of preparation, and it showed.

UGH

Failure #2 — Brutally rejected at a bar

I hit on a woman at a bar, only to find out that she wasn’t interested. Here’s why.

Failure #3 – An IWT product you’ve never heard of

Earlier this year, I came up with an awesome idea for a new course. My modeling indicated it would generate over $1mm/year. It would be totally new, but pull from a genius business model invented decades ago. And it would be massively scalable.

I spent 3 months doing my own research, then I excitedly turned it over to the IWT Product Team. I told them to look into it and build off of what I’d initially done.

They came back about 2 months later with one recommendation: NEVER DO THIS.

This has happened before. On our team, we have a nice balance of “Irrationally Optimistic” (me) and “Extremely Guarded And Wary Of Ramit’s Crackpot Ideas” (my team). However, I usually get together with them and it ends up working out.

This time, they put their foot down. They showed me 10 different reasons why this would never work. They showed me more sophisticated models than mine. And they showed me several points I hadn’t thought of.

Finally, after investing 6 months of heavy research, with a heavy heart (just kidding, I have no heart), I killed the project. They were right. I was wrong.

There’s no happy ending to the story. THAT’S IT! I didn’t turn it around and make it into a charity benefit that helped poor Korean kids. We just spent $50,000+ and our research is now shelved away, probably never to see the light of day. Damn that sucks.

Why I’m sharing these failures with you

As you may remember, I keep my failures logged in a Gmail folder. I did not wake up today and plan to share my failures with 500,000+ readers. Shit, I’d rather spend all day writing about how great I am. Wouldn’t you??

But I’ve also learned that the most successful people are counterintuitively the most open about their weaknesses.

For example, if you ask a top performer, “What are your weaknesses?” they’ll laugh and say, “How long do you have?”

Then they’ll be brutally honest about the EXACT shortcomings they have: They have trouble prioritizing. They are struggling with work-life balance. They tend to rush things when it gets stressful.

Notice that less experienced people will instinctively try to hide their weaknesses. As if we can’t spot them from a mile away.

Why we hide our failures

As a guy who became expert at hiding my weaknesses (“Skinny Indian guy…” “Will she like me because I have hair on my chest?” “Lowest math grade in my class…again…”), I understand WHY we don’t like to share.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite speeches from the West Wing, where presidential candidate Santos talks about how we’re ALL broken.

And yet over time, I came to LOVE and SEEK OUT failure.

Because each time I failed, I learned something new. And with each failure, I broke through a small barrier, which cumulatively helped me achieve mastery.

Without failing 2, 3, 100 times, I couldn’t be successful. In fact, I still fail at over 50% of new initiatives. And I’m good at what I do!

I want to show you one technique that’s been instrumental in my life when I’m facing the fear of failure or even judgment from other people.

Warning: This technique is deceptively simple but can completely change your mindset.

How to handle fear of failure and judgement

When we’re facing the possibility of failure, our minds go in a hundred different directions to try and convince us to take a different path. You can calm your inner critic by using the “What if I Were Perfect?” Technique.

To do it, you trick your mind by thinking about how a perfect, competent, confident person would handle this situation.

For example…

  • You might say, “I’m not sure if this job is something I want to do for the rest of my life.” You doubt applying, then decide not to do it, then stay miserable in your current job…and miss out on a potential dream opportunity.
  • Using the “What if I Were Perfect?” Technique, you could tell yourself, “I know this decision isn’t permanent and I could easily change course if this one isn’t right for me.” You apply, and maybe it doesn’t work out, but maybe it does and you find a new job you love.

You can use this new technique EVERYWHERE. Your love life (asking someone out), your job (approaching your boss about a raise), or your social life (going to that new painting class even if you don’t know anyone).

This technique will help you become aware of your mental barriers and defeat them before they hold you back.

Your challenge: try the “What if I Were Perfect?” Technique to overcome your fear of failure

Now, I want you to think of one thing you want to try this month…but you haven’t done it yet because you’re scared of failing. Tell me how you’d typically respond, then give an example of how you could use the “What if I Were Perfect?” Technique.

I’ll start with one that got to me for years, hosting events:

Typical approach: “What if I hold this event and nobody comes? That would be embarrassing. Forget it. Maybe I’ll host a party next year when my audience is bigger.”

WIIWP: “I’m going to make this a can’t-miss event. Even if hardly anyone comes, the people who ARE there are going to talk about it for months.”

Your turn. Leave a comment below with one way to use the “What If I Were Perfect” technique then check out what other people have to say. Let’s see how many examples we can come up with.

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44 Comments

 
  1. One thing I’ve been considering doing but haven’t done yet is hosting and building my own podcast.

    How this normally would go is: Well, I don’t have enough to say. Who would find value in learning from failures of other normal people and how they over came them? How would I find these people? I don’t have enough experience in the technology of podcasting to do this. Oh and I don’t even have a logo or brand for my coaching practice yet but I’m actively coaching people. I should do that first and stop dreaming bigger.

    What if I was perfect example:
    – I would launch the podcast with an interview of a friend of mine who is launching his own gym here in Austin. I would create an 30-50 minute interview. I would record and edit it. I would launch it and take copious notes on how to improve and tweak it. I would build a system of people to interview and engage people in interviewing on my show from all walks of life. I would also automatically get people asking me to be interviewed. It would magically take off as I tune my interviewing skills by really being with the other person and seeking to understand them as a human being. I would be in service of the world learning.

  2. I’m about to write a book. I already picked the name out and have made the top posts on medium.com with my blog post of the same name.

    Doubting self: but what will it be? How will I sell any copies? Why would anyone want to read it? How will I do this while maintaining my existing responsibilities (working on my Ph.D., raising a daughter)? What if I don’t make any money off of it? I can make more money consulting or helping people one-on-one to grow their online business (two clients on the table right now).

    WIIWP: I have a lot of value to add to others, as evidenced by the success my writing has had so far and the account of people who reached out to me to say I’ve touched their lives. I can learn from top-selling author marketing coaches such as Tim Grahl, Nathan Barry, and Jeff Gpins on how to build a loyal audience that will be waiting to hear what I have to say. I can do market research with the people I’ve already helped to find out what exactly resonated with them, what else they read, etc. It’s better to invest in my own success in a scalable way than to pursue short term gains via a service that I’m not really interested in providing. I can find the time to work on what I really care about by prioritizing and outsourcing mercilessly.

    • Hi there Ramit,

      It’s fantastic to learn to read that which you covering. Intended for few years as of late I’m not too certain exactly what would certainly I actually do for existing as i dismissed from your job my own employer. I then lastly identified e-commerce. Although at some time right now there an inside tone of voice within my head whispers wouldn’t it work?

      I recently move as well as include brand new exercise to support the item long lasting circumstances, We have very good or even bad feelings.

      Thanks
      Clerk

  3. Writing a book for me. I read how difficult it is, which makes me hesitant to even try. But it’s been a lifelong dream, or at least since 5th grade (weird, I know).

    Doubting Self: I don’t have a great topic. I don’t even know if it should be fiction or non-fiction. It could be a huge waste of time – I could spend hours and hours and not get anything from it. My efforts should be focused elsewhere.

    WIIWP: Just start writing. As Neil Gaiman said – put one word in front of another every day. Write so many words per day and maybe a story will start to form – or a non-fiction topic. Spend the time forcing myself to write at least 1,000 words per day for 6 months and see what happens. Worst case scenario – I’ll have written around 180,000 words that can’t be published, and I’ll be a better writer than I was before.

    • I am not a writer but my daughter is and she is participating in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Challenge? 50,000 words during November – don’t think about it – join in and see what happens! Nanowrimo.org.

    • David,

      Funny that we both wrote the same goal in back-to-back comments! I’ve been looking into, and finding, some great books & supporting resources for budding authors, so figured they might be useful for you as well:

      “Writing with Power” by Peter Elbow — the amazing book that turned me back onto writing 3.5 years ago, after years of not feeling capable doing so:
      http://www.amazon.com/Writing-With-Power-Techniques-Mastering/dp/0195120183

      “Authority” by Nathan Barry — How to write, market and make money from your book even if you currently have no audience:
      http://www.nathanbarry.com/authority/

      “Your first 1000 copies” by Tim Grahl (the guy who did Ramit’s book launch among many others) — very useful for authors re: book marketing: http://outthinkgroup.com/first-1000-copies/

      “You are a writer (so start acting like one)” by Jeff Goins, and also his Writer’s Manifesto and other resources — getting to the heart of writing:
      http://goinswriter.com/you-are-a-writer/
      http://goinswriter.com/writers-manifesto/

      For these latter three, they all have mailing lists that you can join. I’m already feeling more in tune with my writing self after delving into their material.

      Hope this helps! And feel free to reach out to me, firstname.778@gmail.com

  4. I am about to apply for a job in Colorado. Huge move for my family as we would move away from my wife’s family to a place where we know 1 couple and no family around.

    Doubting self: You’re not really qualified for this job. They want someone with more management experience and you don’t have that. Besides, you’re not a six sigma blackbelt. Just a lowly green belt. You’re not a good coach and you can’t influence anyone. Moving away will ruin your wife’s emotional state. Her entire safety net will be gone and you’ll find her sitting in the bathtub one day when you come home from work with the kids running around the house unsupervised. Her parents will never forgive you for moving her and the grandkids away from them.

    WIIWP: The job will give me the opportunities to grow in ways that my current employer can’t. The environment will help us be more active and the sunny days will help my wife’s disposition. We will find a wonderful church that is supportive and engaging. We will find places to volunteer and organizations to join. Our family will be happy for the new adventure we are on and we will keep in touch by phone and Skype often. Even if her family isn’t excited for us, we will focus on the adventure ahead and not the naysayers. We will first rent a home and then settle in to a more long term place once we are confident that this was the right move. If the position isn’t what I expected, I will just look for another job but stay out West. Our family will adapt, grow closer, and seek out new adventures together.

  5. If I were perfect, I’d launch a podcast. It’s a hot area right now, and I think that it’s got tons of growth potential.

    Ramit, I’d like to hear more about your insights on not prepping enough for a potential TED talk. You have a multimillion online empire. It’s like not you are boring. It’s hard for me to imagine how you could’ve pitched anything that was boring, which means that pitches for TED talks need to be top tier.

  6. Alexandra

    I had that ”what if Ițm not good enough” problem years ago, until I saw myself with the back at the wall and had to give it all.. and it worked, I was up on the wave and everything worked out. Now I’m there again! Starting new.. trying to hit big. I will use the “what if I am the pefect one” trick – it must work!

  7. Mrs. Frugalwoods

    Ok, here’s one that I’ve pretty much overcome in the last year (though it’s still a work in progress…):
    Typical approach: I can’t move to a rural homestead! I don’t know enough about growing my own food, timber management, and managing a home on 50+ acres! Septic system! Chopping wood! Eek!

    WIIWP: I want to make this a reality and so I will! My husband and I have researched homesteading extensively, we will continue to research, and then we will take the plunge and figure it out. We will have failures along the way, but, we’ll be pursuing our lifelong dream. The easiest, safest thing would be to stay in the city at our current 9-5s, but, who wants to go through life just doing the easiest, safest things?! Not I.

    That was fun! Thank you!

  8. I want to workout regularly. I have started several times only to fail after a few steps.

    Typical thinking: C’mon I don’t have the time to do it regularly…also am doing almost fine health wise..slightly high cholestrol but should go down….hmmm may be by reducing fat intake and soft drinks intake…but still not possible to work out regularly since I need to rest after a very exhausting day at work…and before office..just not possible because I won’t wake up regularly …will plan after sometime when my workload reduces and I have more time! (lol as if I am ever going to get time)

    WIIWP: Just jotted down a very basic workout plan on excel. Just walk 3Kms/week (I know its very less) and a very simple workout plan(some pushups/situps) for the week. To make it sustainable I shall engage someone in the RBT Facebook group to build some sort of accountability and proper schedule. I have set myself a deadline of doing this FB engagement with RBT members before the end of this week.
    Good. Looks simple. Time to act!

  9. Want to learn how to play Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire on the saxophone to honor my uncle who passed this september as well as honor my life-long dream to be saxy.

    Typical approach: There is no way you can read music. You’ve spent how long learning the piano and haven’t played in how long?! Now you want to learn a NEW instrument when you don’t have time to add anything else on your plate. You’re in college. How can you afford the $325 classes a quarter? That’s ridiculous on top of the tuition your parents are already investing. Olivia, didn’t you want to focus on applying to scholarships and negotiating your tuition price with the college to decrease the weight for your family? Focus on that. You can start next quarter or next year.

    WIIWP: Your goal is specific Olivia. You are not expected to read music perfectly. You can go ask about the time commitment and scholarship opportunities with the music department and dedicate 1 hour a week with a professor and/or student who can teach you the song-maybe in time for Christmas to share with Auntie. You are always going to have a loaded schedule. It’s a consequence of your passion. Carve time by the end of the week to touch the saxophone for the first time. Remember, you can always put it on hold during heavy work weeks. This is a priority of your heart. It needs to breathe.

    Ramit-Thank you for the structure to move me into pursuing my version of Olivia’s rich life.
    Grateful for your snark, honesty, and commitment to us always
    -O.G.

    • Cool goal, Olivia! I’m sure that, indeed, the specificity of it will serve you well. You’ve probably heard of Josh Kaufman’s “The First 20 Hours” book, but just on the off-chance that you haven’t, Ramit featured a guest post from Josh here:
      http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/how-to-acquire-any-new-skill-in-20-hours-or-less/

    • Olivia G

      Thank you Shiri!

      After this post, I scheduled a meeting and will have my own saxophone with lessons from an aspiring music educator this Saturday.

      After reading your response, I KNOW I can do this! The Josh Kauffman article was just what I needed. Thank you.

      Absolutely love this community!
      -O.G.

  10. I want to run a half marathon. I don’t just want to finish it. I want to finish in the top 1/3 of my age group. I have signed up, payed dues but now I have to actually train!! I haven’t run more than a 5k race(color run isn’t really a race, more just for fun). I’m overweight by 40lbs and it is Fall, cold runs are no bueno. Im fat, lazy, and inconsistent. How am I going to do this?!!

    WIIWP: I have already committed financially and emotionally. My goal is precise, be a top third finisher of my age group. A natural athlete and competitor lay deep within me. I will follow a training plan and be relentless in forming good habits so I don’t have to rely on motivation alone. As I will train I will lose fat mass and gain spiritual strength. This small victory of completing this race as a winner will lead to many victories in the future.

  11. I want to start a health/lifestyle blog based on my journey from chronic life-altering illness to healthy, happy, working professional that could maybe help other people kick goals and understand the interconnectedness of all aspects of your life, integration techniques and happiness hacks…

    “Millions of people write on the internet everyday and even if someone did decide to read your stuff you don’t have a product to sell and you wouldn’t keep it up anyway, plus where are you going to find the time for that…”

    “I could look at my schedule, prioritise and then create a system to prevent missing posts and build a content ‘bank’. I don’t need to sell anything to begin with I can build my audience, monitor and measure what they best respond to and tailor my offering to them and their needs, before I align with other businesses and brands that have shared values. Even if you helped one person towards living the life they deserve that would be a positive outcome.”

  12. sangeetha menon

    Ramit, first time stumbling here and I am really happy I did!!

    Only a very few people talk about their failures, but as you said failing is not that bad.

    Great article ..

  13. Michael Akinlabi

    Every successful people had experienced failure more than they’d experienced success. Why is because if we don’t fail, we won’t succeed.

    There was a time my writing was complete crap. It doesn’t even make sense to me. I had been writing on this blog of mine for six months, then I realized there are load of mistakes and this isn’t better than what people are already reading out there. So I gave up….six months I came back….the same story.

    Then I decided to make it my full time job because I have no any other option. Suddenly I starts making more sense, now I see I’m on my way to success. Why is because I didn’t quit.

    Well, I don’t think you’ve lost the chance to speak on TED entirely. All hope is not lost. You just have to keep trying until you get featured.

    Who knows? Your TED may become one of the best.

  14. So many moments to hide in my life. I like to write, to run…

    Doubting self: I would like to finish something but I have no time to do it.. too much work

    WIIWP: One by one I have to finish each task and my life would be more happy

  15. I’m planning on becoming a freelance event organiser. At the moment I’m thinking thoughts such as:
    What if I can’t deliver? What if I don’t price each project correctly? What if I don’t get the work? What if I get too much work and end up too stressed to deliver the goods?

    WIIWP:
    I will deliver a thorough, thought through service which is priced fairly. All problems will be easily fixable (normally just by picking up the phone) and each event will be a success.

  16. Mandy Schippers

    Thank you for posting this. Everyone who’s achieved anything complicated in their lives tells you that failure is part of getting there, so why are we afraid to fail and to show that we’ve failed? It’s a necessary part of the path to anything worthwhile.

    I really hope your post will set an example for a lot of people and hopefully get them to go out and try a few things and not only accept, but expect failure to happen sometimes and be OK with it so they can learn from it and get better.

  17. I’m going to write a book. I want to finish it by the end of the year. I don’t care if it’s perfect. It’s my idea, and I’m going to put it out there. If it makes no money, so skin off my nose; it’s a success just because I set a goal and complete it.

  18. Producing my 2nd event:

    Typical approach: What if my competitors will do better? What if I will be short of funds? Maybe I’ll take a job for few months and get back to own biz after few grand.

    WIIWP: “I’m going to make this event happen! My whole country needs the ideas-solutions from this. This is the perfect job that I am required to take. No justifications. Monies are ready to pour in, I just need to prepare the great details and PRAY for God’s blessings!

  19. Typical approach: I am not sure if I can build a business. Maybe I should find something else to do.

    WIIWP: If I only get one prospect a month. In 2 years I could possible be making triple what I make right now. I will also help others control their future and obtain the freedom they desire.

    Short and Sweet. Great article it was inspiring because I doubting this business venture. Thanks for helping me get my mind back on course.

  20. Long-time reader, first time commenter (and before today, a fool who reads lots with minimal application).

    My current one is about picking a topic so I can enrol, research and write a thesis for a masters of laws by research.

    Typical approach: “What if I pick the wrong topic? What if there is a topic that could be better if only I’d done more pre-reading? What if I enrol, start and someone has already written on it? What if I start and I can’t do it? I better only start once I read everything to make sure I have the perfect topic. And I better not fail once I start, so everything has to be perfect and guaranteed to succeed.”

    [And this has actually been my thinking and been going on for !@#$%^& 2 years!]

    WIIWP: “I’m not going to look for the perfect topic because there is no such thing as the perfect topic! I’m going to pick a topic because I know I’ll find interest in whatever topic I choose. If there is already research in the area, I will either find another angle or know to just move on and decide on a different topic. Whatever topic I do, even if it is on a niche, little-read area, I will write an awesome thesis that whoever reads will recognise the depth of scholarship. I know I’m not guaranteed to succeed, but I also know I’ve already got sufficient research background, am interested in researching, thinking and writing, and have the intellectual ability to succeed.”

    Ok. Game on.

  21. I read this at the perfect moment! I’m hoping an event on Sunday and pretty sure it’s going to bomb b/c I didn’t do enough outreach.

    If I was perfect, I would have reached out to colleagues via phone to personally invite them, and get them to invite their lists.

    hmm, maybe I’ll do that right now! thanks for your ideas Ramit! And a great subject line!

  22. Typical approach: “What if I ask my cousin about working for him ? It would be difficult to work for your cousin. You can’t be professional. Forget it. Maybe I’ll find a better job with somebody I don’t know”

    WIIWP: “I’m going to work for him, using my skills and making his company to a better one. If it doesn’t work with him, I always can find a better job and using the experiences I’ve got by working for him, .”

  23. This is good article, i only know few people that admit their failure
    proudly and that is something admirable. It is ok to fail as long as you learn from it. The only true failure is when you never learn from your mistakes and destined to repeat it over and over again. So dont be afraid to fail, because there is an opportunity to become great there. I am not saying to fail purposely, thats dumb and foolish. Im saying that you do everything
    in your power to do great without the fear of failures. Thats the secret of people who do great

  24. Hi Ramit,

    Sorry about the lady at Ted, but who says it’s over? Maybe you need to create a video of a mock Ted talk and send it to her or post it to your blog. Don’t disqualify yourself over one comment. Your material is as good as any TED talk I have watched. KEEP PUSHING with the Ted Talk desire.

    P.S. Sorry about the girl as well. Straight men who don’t give a shit about football are rare and get about 20 bonus points in my book.

    –Kristine

  25. borneo bisnis center

    Hi Ramit,
    It’s great to read what you writing about. For few years lately I’m not so sure what would I do for living after I fired my boss. Then I finally found this business. But sometime there an inside voice in my head whispers would it work?

    I just keep moving and add new activity to support it whatever the situations, I have good or bad mood.

    thanks
    Adhy

  26. Brian Collier

    As a theater professional in NY, I teach this kind of mindset in audition workshops. Actors are the most insecure people in the world, and constantly all we think about is how e aren’t good enough and how the people behind the desk is just looking for our faults so they can deny us the job.

    After moving up and being on the other side of the table, my god is it the exact opposite. We want every person who walks in that door to be the answer to our casting prayers, so we don’t have to work hard at trying to find the person we need.

    Just having that different mindset from the old approach, to the WIIWP approach changes the way you stand, the way you walk, the way you communicate involuntarily with your body. I still have problems undervaluing myself in business meetings, but in an audition, I have conquered that one.

    And I’m with Kristine above, I think you should still go for the TED talk!

    -Brian

  27. Hi Ramit! I always love your materials and e-mails, as they teach me things that are very applicable and realistic.

    As a university undergrad, most of my friends consider me to be very ambitious, and irrationally optimistic.

    I enjoy having conversations with ambitious people who are always pursuing a big goal. My biggest weakness is when I’m having a conversation with professionals, or people that have tons of experience and that I really respect, I failed to show them my best side, I kinda crumble under the brilliance that they’re radiating. Therefore, I often come across and weak and insecure when talking to those figures, not being able to look them straight in the eyes and afraid of confrontation since I’m often overwhelmed by their immense amount of wisdom.

    Thanks for the awesome article, hopefully I’ll be able to win this trip 🙂

    Dai Dao

  28. Matt Miller

    I want to raise $100,000 for two NPOs in Tokyo that are helping to change the mindset and the future selves of orphans. I want to also finish my documentary on my own journey here in japan about my father’s past as an orphan in Nagasaki, Japan. Besides holding various fundraising events in 2015, I want to conclude my fundraising by participating in the 2015 Hokkaido Ironman in Northern Japan as a charity raiser. More importantly than the money is the connections I want to create and awareness about the life of orphans in Japan and the awesome work of two NPOs that I believe are doing about the situation.

    Self-destructive Phrasing: To expensive. No one donates money in Japan. Everyone is suspicious of non-profits in Japan. Everyone in Japan thinks asking for money to help others out is considered very rude and inappropriate even if they are asking on behalf of helping children who desperately need help. I don’t have the funds to finish my documentary. I don’t have the funds to properly train for an ironman. There are so many pieces and to pull it all off I need the help of a caring and supportive tribe of people who believe in me and empowering young children in need. Even though I have a lot of wonderful connections and a lot of people who say I am doing a good thing this year none of them have put their money where their mouth is and to be honest have flat out made excuses for not being able to help yet they were the biggest verbal supporters up to that point. I feel if I fail I have failed my 9-year journey here in Japan. I feel I have failed if I am unable to finish my documentary, participate in the ironman, have a money set aside to take people out and share about how they can be a part of changing the lives of 30,000 orphans who live in Japan. I feel I have failed the children whose lives I want to change and not have them to have to go through what my father went through.

    WIIWP: I am going to go forth with laser-beam focus sharing my journey and my mission this year with confidence and excitement. I am going to use every opportunity to connect and share, not simply ask but genuinely connect and share what is on my heart and why I am doing this with no expectation or outcome. I will not complain and as I knew from the beginning that set-backs would be part of this journey. I will surround myself with those people who are genuinely supportive of my quest. I will find extra part time jobs to pay for all the various things that suddenly pop up. I will wake up genuinely excited, happy and thankful that I actually get to do something special and meaningful to me each and everyday and that this year is a culmination of choices I personally decided upon. I realize that no one has everything they need for a journey and that it doesn’t mean you stop because you don’t have this or that. Journeys are filed with the unknown, life is filled with the unknown and that as long as I get to pursue this I am grateful and thankful. And now that I am reminded of this I am once again feeling grateful and thankful for the past 9-years and I know that the next 10 months will be great regardless of the outcome because I am doing what is on my heart and I get to close a very important chapter in my family history, my father’s life, my life and I hope help change the lives of children in need through my efforts.

    Thanks for the reminder. Failing happens and it doesn’t mean it’s the end of anything. Failures happen everyday as they have already over the past 3 months since I committed to this. I’ve already been knocked down but that’s okay. The mistakes and mishaps are all part of the refinement process and as I think about it now are helping me to refocus my own approach to this pursuit.

    Matt

  29. I want to…

    Quit working for this guy I can’t stand. I want to get him out of my life–“out of sight, out of mind”–completely. In the words of Ryan Holiday, I see him as an “awkward internet scammer.” Being genuine with other people is one of my highest-held values, and just being around this guy, talking to him regularly, is exhausting. I really have no respect for the disingenuous BS, the money-before-everything attitude, and the sense of being desperate. It’s making me profoundly unhappy to do work that conflicts with my values.

    What if I were perfect?

    If I were perfect, I would first figure out an exact, specific number that I need to make, per month, to confidently and responsibly quit working for this guy permanently. I’d sit down for 15 minutes and calculate a specific deal, or amount in deals, that I need to close, before I can politely say “Thanks for everything, I’m doing my own thing now.”

    So –

    I’m scheduling this 15 minutes in my calendar this week. Once I have a specific if-then statement: “I need to close $XYZ in deals by XYZ…then I’ll make $XYZ extra in deals monthly, moving forward, and safely hit my goal, without having to worry about crawling back like a bitch.”

    If I were perfect, I’d view this as a challenge. This is something that’s going to propel my side business to new heights, and this negative energy is a gift, that’s going to fuel my ambition that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. I can pull this off, I can hit this specific goal, and I can feel self-reliant, back aligned with my values, and have peace of mind.

    Then I don’t have to ever worry about this again.

  30. Andrés Trevino

    What i really want to do that i haven’t done before is hosting a meeting in my mlm business, i am new guy in this industry, i join a few days ago, so, i have fear of failure and bad critics.

    What if i were perfect?

    Well, i will do my business meeting anyway and instead of have fear of failure i will be open to feedback and no reject people who have no interest of what i do, no matter what the results are i will keep my friends and motivation.

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  31. j a freeman

    I would lock down one more income stream. I already have a podcast and I have tried over the past four years to sell ads for it but I don’t have a strategy. I
    What I do is very hit or miss and I get discouraged after awhile and quit trying.
    I ask people if they’re interested in buying a radio ad. I’ve had a few people tell me yes, send in a proposal but I never get back to them because I don’ t know how towrite agood proposal.
    I write all the time. That’s my primary revenue stream but I don’ t think I can convince anyone my podcast is worth supporting.
    But every Friday night or early Saturday morning I make another one and send it to the radio station where it’s aired and posted to the web page.
    And it’s not like I can’t sell. Every year when Carniva, comes I sell a few hundred dollars worth of ads. Been doing that for more than 7 years. You d think after all this time I could sell a few thousand dollars worth of ads
    And yes, I saved for a year and got Earn 1k. I listened to each class once and it too intimidated to go any further because I got too intimidated. And discouraged. Again.

  32. I’m going to write a book. I want to finish it by the end of the year. I don’t care if it’s perfect. It’s my idea, and I’m going to put it out there. If it makes no money, so skin off my nose; it’s a success just because I set a goal and complete it.

    http://www.wehowto.com

  33. I am the guy who is least likely to follow the directions. I sympathize with you. I used to have a student like me, it’s annoying when people don’t follow your directions.

    Do something I’m afraid of doing in the next month? Wha?

    My follow-up question is…I keep getting pressure to launch my online course and it’s not ready…really. I don’t mind playing the part of the fool but, if a hundred people click on my link and it doesn’t work…

    How am I conquering fear?

    If a hundred people click to registration button and the registration page isn’t up. Won’t I totally foul up any chance of making money on this idea? If I launch talking about a product (an online class) and not having one to buy? How can I make money if the website isn’t up to collect it? Won’t I risk losing all of the work I put into this in the last two years by putting it out half baked?

    I think there’s a big lack of patience going around. I’ll tell you what, relax. Good things take time. Give me another month to get my website up.

  34. Stephanie

    If I were perfect, I wouldn’t worry about being labelled mentally ill, or worry about the problems that come with that, and I would be able to just DO what I want to do without sabotaging myself.

  35. Sadly i couldn´t understand it all.
    But many of my colleagues here in Spain recommends you.

    Really starting and excited 😀

  36. Kimberly Adams

    I’m a graphic designer

    My biggest fears:

    1) Investing too much in social media marketing and not getting any turn over. 2) Creating ads that people think are tacky and shy away from. 3) Because I’m so young (18) I’m scared of other successful and more established designers looking down on me and judging me.

    If I was perfect:
    1) I would tell myself well I’m great at this, there HAS to be some space for me in the market.
    2) Not give a shit about what people say because I know what great design is and other designers will appreciate it.
    3) Laugh at people judging me because I’d think it’s pathetic and a waste of time.

    Haha omg this was actually a great exercise because I didn’t know that I was even capable of coming up with ways to get over my fears!

    Enjoyed the article!

    -Kim
    https://www.facebook.com/creativecoasts

  37. Hi Ramit,

    it’s better to invest in my own success in a scalable way than to pursue short term gains via a service that I’m not really interested in providing. I can find the time to work on what I really care about by prioritizing and outsourcing mercilessly.

  38. Oka Manasu Rating

    If a hundred people click to registration button and the registration page isn’t up. Won’t I totally foul up any chance of making money on this idea? If I launch talking about a product (an online class) and not having one to buy? How can I make money if the website isn’t up to collect it? Won’t I risk losing all of the work I put into this in the last two years by putting it out half baked?