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People Don’t Fear Change – We Fear Failure

18 March 2010 4 Comments

It’s often said that we “fear change.”  But I’m not sure that’s right.  I don’t think it’s change that we fear.  Each and every day we change.  We eat new foods.  We wear new clothes (I hope!).  We might even take a new way to work or listen to a new song.  The list of things that changes on day-to-day basis is astounding.

We don’t fear change.

We fear failure.

This is why we don’t pursue our dreams.  This is why we don’t bring meaning to work.  If we did, we might not succeed.  Maybe our dream job would turn out to be a disaster.  It’s not that we fear the change to our dreams – it’s that we fear failing at our dreams.

For a long time I rebelled against ideas like “mission statements” or “culture calendars”.  But over the years I have seen just how useful these tools can be if used properly.

There was one organization in particular that made me re-evaluate my thinking.  This organization has a culture calendar that says, “If you haven’t failed in the last 30 days, you’re not trying.”

When you read that what does it tell you about that organization?

It tells me that they are about growth.

That it’s an organization that doesn’t fear failure – they embrace it as a key part of learning.  And you know what?  It pays off.  It’s the most innovative organization I’ve ever worked with.  With a staff of around 100 people they manage a multi-million dollar budget.  Organize events on multiple continents.  Provide an infrastructure to handle tens of thousands of items for emergency relief aid.  While continuing their main mission of providing core training for thousands of people on a weekly basis.

And oh yeah, that organization happens to be a church.

Don’t let people tell you that you fear change, because that’s not the real problem.  It never was.  The real problem is fearing failure.  If you focus on growing instead of always being perfect you’ll be amazed at where you can go.

photo provided by flickr user Xerones

Related posts on Meaning To Work:

Living with Rapid Change
Escaping from the Myth of Stability
Why the Squeaky Wheel Shouldn’t Get the Grease
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