The One Thing Guaranteed to Prevent Your Success (If You Let It)

This is a guest post by Josh Hood, the founder of 20/20 Vision Ministries, an organization designed to help people see life more clearly by helping them understand who they are, where they want to go, and how to get there. He is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and average golfer. You can read his blog, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

What separates successful leaders from average ones? What is the secret behind the accomplishments of high achievers? While there are many things that can contribute to success, there is one thing that is sure to prevent it every single time. What is it? The absence of trying.

A Guy About to Run a Race - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/pixdeluxe, Image #15325878

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/pixdeluxe

Sound overly simplistic? It may seem that way, but there is pure genius in this principle that is so obvious, yet often overlooked.

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Every successful author, leader, inventor, and artist have at least one thing in common: they tried. They attempted something.

The great hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” His point was that nothing great ever happens without effort. No author has accidentally written and published a great book. No artist has accidentally painted a masterpiece. It took effort. It took trying.

So what prevents us from trying and accomplishing great things?

  1. Lack of confidence. Fear of failure paralyzes us. If you’re going to be a great leader, and if you’re going to accomplish anything in life, you have to be willing to fail along the way. (John Maxwell wrote a great book on this subject called Failing Forward.) Every technique, venture, process, or idea you try is not going to work. The key is to learn from the ones that don’t, and constantly improve.
  2. Lack of inspiration. Weed “inspiration-killers” out of your life. Detach yourself as much as possible from the things that discourage and drain you. From where do your best ideas come? When do they come? What inspires you? Identify the things that bolster your faith and make you want to attempt great things, and then incorporate them into your weekly routine. I set aside specific times of prayer and Bible reading because those activities inspire me to attempt great things for God.
  3. Lack of energy. Even if you have the greatest ideas in the world, you need the energy to make them happen. What actions, habits, and environments give you energy? The larger amounts of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy you have, the greater your chances of success.
  4. Lack of persistence. Even with confidence, inspiration, and energy, you still need persistence to become successful. Don’t give up on your dreams. Just because something didn’t go as planned the first time doesn’t always mean it should be abandoned. As the old adage suggests: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Adapt, analyze, evaluate and keep trying. Thomas Edison understood the value of persistence. He is reported to have tried over 1,000 different elements before he found the one that made the light bulb work.

If you look back over your life, you will discover every great accomplishment was the result of trying something. Great lives are the result of great attempts.

Question: What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Bwenman

    I’m have just recently made a decision to make a change in my job that is a little bit scary, but could have big payouts for me! This message is so timely and helpful! Thank you! Thank You! I knew I got up early for a reason!

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      I’m glad it encouraged you! Tough decisions almost always involve overcoming fear. I hope everything on the job works out great for you!

    • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

      This is great!! I am so happy you are feeling determined to follow up with the decision. Even if you weaver in the future, remember you made this decision with solid thinking

  • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

    What would I try if I knew I couldn’t fail? To take 2 days and really work on writing, then work on finding an audience for speaking.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Do it! What’s holding you back?

      • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

        Same things mentioned in the post. Changing that, one day at a time.

  • http://joeandancy.com Joe Abraham

    Wow! Beautiful. I needed this!
    Thanks Josh Hood for writing this post.
    Thanks Michael for posting this post. Your work is truly helping many!

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      You are very kind, thank you. (And I agree- Michael is making a huge difference!)

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    Good stuff, Josh. I had a realization years ago while looking back at my life that I didn’t regret any of the mistakes I had made—they had all been redeemed. The only true regrets I had were the things I hadn’t tried.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Well said, Geoff. You’re exactly right. Even our mistakes can be valuable and beneficial if we learn from them. I’ve found that I learn far more from my mistakes than my successes.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That’s true for me, too!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      True Geoff! That’s true. I have learnt more in my life through my failures than those from success. Failures and drawbacks have taught great lessons which no textboook can teach. I am with you in this front. Thanks

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  • http://www.confessionsofalegalist.com Jeremy Statton

    Fear of the unknown and predictable. Where I am now is safe and comfortable, if I take risk, I put my comfort on the line.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      And none of us want to get out of our comfort zone! But I’ve found very few great things happen when I’m in my comfort zone.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        True Josh! My eyes were opened when I read the book, “Out of My Comfort Zone” by the former Australian cricket team captain Steve Waugh. And, I learnt that ‘Risk brings briskness in life.’

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    The real question is… what would you try if you could fail? There are no guarantees in life, only opportunities. Thank you for inspiring us to take the first step…

    • Ben

      John – You consistently have great insight. Thanks for posting your comments.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Beautifully put, John! “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity.”

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Good quote! I am taking it to my quote bank. Thanks

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      This is a constant challenge. We know that we will fail at some point. So, we have to decide what things are more important to us than the possibility of failure.

      • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

        True…

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Failure is not going to be fatal unless we allow it to be. The more important thing is — we should give our best in pursuing our cause.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      In fact, John, life would be very boring, if there are no thrills in our pursuit!

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      yeps.

  • http://www.EntrepreneurCeo.com Innovation Management

    Michael:

    I’ve been following your site for about a year now.

    This is far and away the BEST port you have ever written period.

    Keep them coming like this and you’ll be a best selling author one day (lol)

    Good job!

    Patrick

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      This was a great post, but this one was written by Josh Hood. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Except I didn’t write it! Kudos to Josh, who did!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      True! True! He has been a great inspiration to me personally.

  • http://kvictoriasmith.blogspot.com/ Seanchai Ciorstag

    Quit my J-O-B and use my time to write and explore some business ideas I’ve had around the growing e-book market.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Great! Kudos to your courage and step of faith. Entreprenuerism is a real gift to devour with. Keep going Seanchai!

  • Karl Mealor

    I think a lack of focus often hurts as well. For myself, I tend to spend too much time taking care of things that are urgent.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      The ‘tyranny of the urgent’ is powerful, isn’t it?

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Wow! Is it ever! We have five young kids. There’s always something urgent. That makes it sometimes a struggle to dedicate time to what I what to do to grow as a blogger/writer/leader.

        • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

          I don’t think it’s something we ever master, because each new day we have to fight that battle again. We have 86,400 seconds to invest each day. Deciding how to do so is a constant struggle that demands clear priorities and constant evaluation.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I agree. It seems like a new battle every day around my house. But I’m convinced that my example can help our kids grow to be strong as well in these areas.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            Kids always bring urgent matters that aren’t in our plans! I agree with your perspective on being an example for our kids in how to handle life – especially the rough patches. I sometimes forget…but, leading our kids is one of our biggest responsibilities and honors.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Agreed!

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            I agree Josh! It all requires mental focus and self discipline from one’s end.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          That’s really a big big family Jeff. I understand your busyness in life fathering five kids.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Sometimes it’s crazy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  • Ben

    Lack of Confidence is what stops me. It’s not that I’m afraid of failing – I’m afraid of disappointing. I started a blog post called, “I Said More When No One Was Listening” that talks about this. I felt I could say anything when I didn’t have many followers. As more people follow me I feel like I have to say the “right” thing – whatever that is – so they keep following me.

    If I felt I could do anything and not fail, I would write and speak.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      That’s a great insight, Ben. We don’t want to disappoint anyone; it’s a powerful part of human nature. We can’t please everyone, so I think it’s extremely important to evaluate who we DO need to please. The more secure I am in seeking to please God, the more it frees me from the fear of others opinions.

      • Ben

        And it’s comforting to know God desires our obedience over our success. Or, I guess a better way to say this might be God views our obedience as success.

        • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

          Exactly! “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22) I believe God
          honors obedience with success. Seek ye first the kingdom of God…and all
          these things will be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I completely understand. I’m in the same boat.

      • Ben

        That’s interesting. Makes me think about Peter when Jesus called him out of the boat. Peter failed, too. But Jesus was there for him. And at least he had the courage to get out of the boat. I’m sure there’s a good blog post in here somewhere…

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          Interesting. What’s the address to your blog?

          • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

            Yeah…I’d like to know that 2!

          • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

            I was hesitant to provide the link because it has been a long time since I have posted anything (see fears listed above). But your request encouraged me to start posting again. I couldn’t put a link in my comments, so I put a link by my name.

          • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

            Oops, that didn’t work. I’m working on it.

          • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

            OK, now you should be able to click the link by my name. Sorry for the confusion.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            Kudos for jumping back in! I appreciate the words you wrote in your post as to why you started again…”Why? Because I want to. I feel like God wants me to. And I’m tired of being afraid.” May God bless for your desire to listen to Him over your fears!

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Ditto! Thanks for giving us a link!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      True Ben! Today the pressure from failure is more than the pressure from success. Everyone loves success and wants to hear success stories. The people surrounding us manytimes pull us dowm from taking risk by frightening us with the fear of failure.

  • HLSails

    Needed some inspiration today for my job hunt – perfect timing. Thanks, Michael!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Keep trying Sails for ‘hope is always better than despair’.

  • Joyce Lawrence

    I would like to change the way we educate children in America. Our country, founded on the principal of free enterprise, flourishes when our citizens are encouraged to take risks and in doing so, in the long term, improve the lives of those around us. Our public school system is a support system that provides guaranteed employment and benefits and attracts those who are less willing to take risk and thus participate fully in a free enterprise system. Our children should be encouraged every step of the way to be who they can be, to contribute what they can contribute, and to do so in a positive, not afraid to take risk way. To educate is to inspire, an action that is far more lacking in our system of education today that it ever was before. If, we were more focused on letting our children think for themselves and provide them the encouragement and guidance to do so without punishing their thoughts that do not agree with our own, as educators, we will improve the outcome for all of our kids attending schools today. Tenure doesn’t work for our children though it may work for those it keeps employed. Throwing money into a system that does not produce free thinking en masse only promotes a promise land that we will never arrive at.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      I agree, Joyce. I think we have moved socially toward a more comfortable, safe, predictable type of thinking. Seth Godin talks about this a lot. I would love to see our next generation encouraged to dream and take risks and attempt the impossible.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a good word, Joyce. Thank you. I agree.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Sadly Joyce this is not happening in today’s world. Like you said, many parents discourage their children from taking risk.

  • Anonymous

    If I knew I couldn’t fail, I share my ideas more within my organization. I’m often paralyzed by the fear of failure and the fear of too much.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      It’s amazing how much our lives are influenced by our fears, isn’t it?

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      By learning the art of influencing and persuasion, Brandon I believe you can push for more. Being resourceful and assertive will really help us to share our ideas without fear.
      Keep trying!

  • www.therextras.com

    Truly accurate depiction of human nature – some are meant to, some lack ‘trying’ ability.

    Prophetic. Some will. Some won’t.

    Barbara

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      As always, we cultivate this habit of trying. It may not be a inborn quality. So, let us practice intentionally. Things will improve for sure

  • David

    Appreciated your article. Read it to my household of artists at breakfast this morning. Thanks.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Thanks David, I appreciate you sharing it!

  • Deborah

    I find myself with fear of failure.
    Recently I’ve realized I am also afraid of success.
    Either way, fear has to go.
    Thank you for this post!

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      I find it comforting that the one thing Jesus told us more than any other was, “Fear not!”

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I just recently taught on this in Sunday school. Fear is about the only real tool the Enemy has.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          True! In the Bible, we come across the phrase “Fear Not” for almost 360 times. (implying one for every day in a year) So let us overcome fear in the name of God

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Deborah ! The fear of success is always less painful that the fear of failure. God always asks us to make the most of every opportunity.

  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

    Bungee Jump. (grin)

    “Weed ‘inspiration-killers’ out of your life” is an excellent image with powerful impact. Thank you for sharing, Joshua and thank you for introducing us to Joshua, Michael.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Great answer! lol When you go bungee jumping, tell me. I’ve never done it and (think) I would like to try… Even though it makes me nervous just thinking about it. It’s got to be the greatest adrenaline rush ever.

      I am learning more and more that the life environment we create is vital to success. By ‘weeding out’ the negative elements and surrounding ourselves instead with great people, books, disciplines, etc., our chances of a healthy and Biblically successful life sky rocket.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        It’s important that we weed out the negative elements. As wrtiiten in Proverbs, “a companion of fools suffers harm.” We need to discern and decide with whom we are associating ourselves.

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      How do you get the stuff in bold?

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        All you have to do is surround your text with a stong tag. Make sure you use , and use a / in the closing tag.

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          That would be a ‘strong’ tag :-)

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Oops…. My bad! Corrected!

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          Thanks Bro for the information

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        You have to use HTML tags. For example, use {strong} to turn on bold (but replacing the braces with angle brackets). Use {/strong} to turn it off. Likewise, you can use {em} (for emphasis) to turn on italics and {/em} to turn it off. Hope that is not too confusing.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    Great points Josh! Each of these are ture paralyzers. Point #1 (lack of confiidence) can have a link back to Michael’s post from yesterday…Negative words from others can often times destroy our confidence to a point where we believe that we never will be able to succeed and that we shouldn’t try.

    So, we then must make a decision as to who we will listen to. It is important to listen to what our Creator has to say about us. And, it is important to realize that we will fail and that our failures, as long as we do not stop with our failures, do not define us.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Those are valuable insights, Steven. Michael’s words yesterday reminded me of a great post he wrote in 2007 called “Let It Go” http://michaelhyatt.com/let-it-go.html

      You’re exactly right about our failures. Like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4;8-9, we are knocked down, but not knocked out. It is not whether we get knocked down- it is whether we stay down that counts. Our failures are not final unless we choose for them to be.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Those are valuable insights, Steven. Michael’s words yesterday reminded me of a great post he wrote in 2007 called “Let It Go” http://michaelhyatt.com/let-it-go.html

      You’re exactly right about our failures. Like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4;8-9, we are knocked down, but not knocked out. It is not whether we get knocked down- it is whether we stay down that counts. Our failures are not final unless we choose for them to be.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I totally forgot about that post!

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Many great inventions in this world prove your point, Josh!

        • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

          In fact, every great invention was an attempt, a risk, a ‘try’.

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    Awesome post! This is really good!

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Thank you, Brandon!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Very true Josh!
    As George Van Valkenburg quips, “accomplishment and success are often the result of commitment and perseverance rather than skill or talent.”
    And, again, Marie Curie writes that “life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
    One would you try anything if they knew they couldn’t fail. Hence, overcoming fear, enhancing enthusiasm and zeal and persisting with hope and faith plays a key role in shaping one’s success.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Great quotes, Uma. I’m convinced God didn’t place us on earth to live in tiny comfort zones, constant fear, and mere existence. I believe we were created to dream, dare, risk, and attempt and achieve great things for His glory.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Josh! Recently I was reading the book , “The cause within you” by ‘Matthew Barnett’. It really spelt out the imporatnce pursuing greater things for the glory our God and not settling for anything less than that.

  • Anonymous

    I love this! I think it’s so true that we need to keep pushing ourselves to live outside our comfort zone. Whenever I’ve stepped off the boat, I’ve never regretted it. It sure beats living a life within small boundaries.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      This reminds me of a favorite quote from The Princess Diaries: “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That one is going in my Quote file!

      • Anonymous

        Love that quote (and movie)!

      • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

        Wow! Great quote!

      • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

        Julie Andrews has delivered some of the greatest quotes of all time!

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      I agree. When we look back over our lives, what do we remember? We remember the triumphs and tragedies. Donald Miller wrote about this in his book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. Nobody wants to read a book about a guy who works a boring job and orders pizza every night. We want excitement, adventure, risk. That makes a great story. It also makes a great life. I think that’s how God made us to live.

  • TNeal

    Excellent article! Worth sharing with others.

  • http://www.PurposeDrivenBroker.com Dan Foster

    Great article Josh. I’m going to have to ponder your question on what I would try if I knew I would not fail. My first thoughts are restore all relationships that have been broken in my life, write a book, start my own coaching company, and fly an airplane.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      That sounds like a great “bucket-list”!

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive Joseph Sanchez

    If I could try something and not fail, it would be to make a mature disciple of Jesus who made another mature disciple of Jesus who made another disciple and so on. That would be awesome.
    If that doesn’t work, I can always try to win the world series of poker –provided I couldn’t fail of course…(just kidding)… Great post!

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Discipling and mentoring is one of the greatest investments we can make in this life. It’s powerful because it’s like compound interest; it keeps multiplying. That’s what Paul was encouraging Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Mentoring brings indeed a greater satisfaction and joy to the mentor. I have experienced the same personally

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? Write books. But I have so many things that seem to be blocking that in my life right now, it’s hard to find the time, and the confidence to do it.

    I realize that sounds really negative (“I can’t do it…”), My goal for 2011 is to blog several times a week, and to outline at least three book ideas. Where it goes from there? Who knows?

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      83% of Americans say they want to write a book. 2% have actually written a manuscript. “No gap is so great as that between wanting and doing”!
      You actually have specific steps and a deadline to help you work toward that goal. That’s awesome!

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I’ve heard similar stats before. My goal? To be in the 2% one day. Thanks for the encouragement.

        I just added your site to my Google Reader. You’ll probably be hearing more from me hee nd there. Thanks again!

        • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

          A great man name Michael Hyatt once told me “If your content is good and you are persistent, you will eventually get published.” I believe you can do it, Jeff. I really do.

          Thanks for following the blog! Here’s to many great conversations down the road.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Looking forward to it!

        • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

          I almost got excited just then because I thought I was in the 2%… but then I realized I’m not American :-(

  • http://www.christopherscottblog.typepad.com/ Christopher Scott

    I would try writing a book to teach leaders around the world!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Go for it Chris!

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

    If I knew I wasn’t going to fail….I would try Everything

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Rob a bank.

  • http://twitter.com/dbonleadership Dan

    Michael,
    Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed reading the 4 reasons why leaders might not try.

    Keep serving, growing, and leading.
    Dan

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

    With me, I’m tired of failing. It’s been well over a decade since I did anything that could be remotely considered successful and I’m tired of having to get up off the mat again and again. It’s not that I’m wanting a quick fix super success story…but I’m tired of spending months on a project that goes nowhere & then leaves me feeling shattered and broken. Sure, I could have the Thomas Edison attitude that I found ways to not do something but he had little successes along the way in things to keep him going. When you look back at one wreck after another, it’s hard to keep going…especially when people don’t support someone very long if they continually fail at things. I feel such a pull in my heart to be a writer and speaker. I just can’t seem to break through.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Jason, I am sorry you have endured such a struggle. I know first hand that rejection and ‘the death of a dream’ is painful. Have you read “Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to help you see it and seize it” by John Maxwell? You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Put-Your-Dream-Test-Questions/dp/0785214127/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297966366&sr=8-1 I highly recommend it. Sounds like it would be perfect for you right now. It really helped me clarify my vision and define what I actually felt God wanted me to do. But it goes beyond that and gives simple, but effective steps to help you work toward making it a reality.
      Whatever you do, don’t lose heart! God has a perfect plan.

    • Ben

      Jason – I don’t know you, but I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in such a public place. I prayed for you today.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I wouldn’t personally consider it a failure unless you quit. As long as you are in the game, even if you have stumbled and fallen, you haven’t failed.

  • Jeff Jones

    I would also add a lack of willingness. I have never really set out to be a leader. I’m not a Type A and enjoy my life in the background yet I have always been willing to lead from being the narrator in 3rd grade for our Cub Scouts banquet to preaching a sermon in 7th grade (no responses though :)) to creating an in-house leadership class at work and many things in between. I believe leaders don’t always have to try to be the leader because that can come from ego, but that they should be willing to serve others through their leadership.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Very true, Jeff. Action leadership is more powerful and effective than verbal leadership. An effective leader uses both.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Like Servant leadership. Demonstration speaks louder than words.

  • TNeal

    When we lived in Russia, my wife exemplified failing forward. On an early shopping trip, she went into the heart of our large city with her language coach. The coach had somewhere to go so she abandoned my wife at the market. Ellen didn’t know the way home, got disoriented, didn’t have enough Russian to find a bathroom, but eventually rode the tram system until she recognized familiar territory. She came home determined not to leave our apartment ever again.

    Instead of maintaining her resolve, Ellen recognized her missionary plan, “Let them come to me,” was untenable. That crisis gave her the motivation to learn Russian no matter what. She worked hard, made lots of mistakes, but pushed forward. By the time we left the field, she spoke the language better than any other member of our team.

    In learning another culture and language, you have to be willing to fail and to be the cause for laughter in order to succeed.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      What a beautiful illustration of overcoming fear.
      Tim Ferris says he uses the question “What’s the worst that can happen?” to help him realize how irrational some of his fears are sometimes. Imagine what could happen if we all abandoned our fears and boldly attempted what we think is impossible?

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      A true inspiraing story of perseverance. Thanks for sharing

  • Katie H.

    What would I do if I knew if I knew I wouldn’t fail? This is definitely one of those questions that makes me a better person for having asked it. As Stephen Kaggwa put it” Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” Out of your four points Josh, No.1 is my hardest struggle. If I completely disregarded my lack of confidence, however, I would share my faith with others at every opportunity and play hockey:-)

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Almost everything worth doing involves overcoming obstacles. You go, girl!

  • http://heartpress.com Heart Press

    For those that haven’t read it yet, Seth Godin’s book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? is gold – and precisely along these lines. Thanks Josh, it was a pleasure today.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      I totally agree. I love Seth’s stuff.
      Michael talks about Linchpin and interviews Seth in this post: http://michaelhyatt.com/book-notes-an-interview-with-seth-godin.html

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      It would be in one of the top ten management books of my choice. Great thoughts by Seth. Really enjoyed reading that book.

  • Ron

    You are probably right, but I would have said temperament.

  • http://storiesfor.us Amelia

    Oh my! This post hit me! I would write and never stop. My husband has told me the same thing for years – the only difference between those who are published writers and me is the that they’ve done the work. Lack of confidence and fear of failure have been big deterrents for me. I’ve erred on the side of seeking perfection rather than just jumping in and getting started! Thanks for the reminders.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      You hit on a huge key to this whole idea, and one that I didn’t have room to deal with in the post. Sometimes we just need to adopt the Nike slogan and ‘Just do it.’ The great Scottish-American preacher Dr. Peter Marshall communicated this in one of my favorite quotes: “Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”

      • http://storiesfor.us Amelia

        Oh, I love that quote from Dr. Marshall. I’m going to post it in my office. I’ve found that once I get started the momentum builds and it’s so much easier to keep going. I have to force myself to ignore the urge to stop and fix things and keep moving to get the idea out first, then fix later.

        • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

          That’s an important principle, Amelia. No one is perfect- if you wait to
          become perfect, you’ll never accomplish anything. And no set of
          circumstances is perfect- if you wait for the perfect time, you’ll never
          accomplish anything.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Just start. Starting is a big instrument to break the vicious cycle of procastination.

  • http://twitter.com/manyhatsmommyMI Jenny Herman

    A couple of months ago my answer to this question would have been to pursue a higher level of leadership in my business as an independent jeweler w/Premier Designs. However, in January I started home schooling my 5 yr old son who has high-functioning autism. This has changed my desires. I think if I new I wouldn’t fail, I would create the home I want for my family. I’ll skip the long story. However, I won a Family Manager action plan w/consultant, and this has been very helpful. She is helping me change my mindset. So, I am in the process of pursuing this, as well as reaching out to the community of special needs and autism.

    I will be sharing the link to this post! Thank you, Josh!

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      I commend your sacrificial dedication to your son, Jenny. Choosing your family as your highest priority shows great character and a lack of the selfishness that pervades our culture and families today. The memories and relationship with your son and the outreach to those who are facing the same thing will far outweigh in dividends any financial or workplace ‘success’ you might have sacrificed. Relationships are more important than achievements.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    To borrow a phrase from Nike: Just DO IT!

    Thank you for the encouragement to try, regardless of failure or even for the sake of it.

  • http://coachradio.tv/ Justin Lukasavige

    Thanks for the post, Josh. I see the lack of persistence holding a lot of people back. I schedule it into my calendar so I don’t give up.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Good job! Scheduling is the missing link between desire and accomplishment.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      The link between planning the schedule and implementing the schedule plays a major role.

  • GWH

    Excellent advice and encouragement. Thanks for posting.

  • GWH

    Excellent advice and encouragement. Thanks for posting.

  • Jupiterhouse

    Not up to your standard- please guard your brand more carefully

  • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

    Don’t let “lack” hold you back.

  • Anonymous

    Even though I might fail at first, I am still willing to try many things: getting a book published, growing the radio show I do, speaking to as many hurting women as I can, and so much more.

    The only thing that holds us back is ourselves. I climb that mountain more and more each day, and God holds my hand every step I take.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      With God, all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26)

      • TNeal

        This quote reminds me of Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” and something Bono of U-2 said. Blackaby made the point God is working all the time. Bono reflected this message as well. This isn’t an exact quote but the general thought. We don’t need to ask God to bless what we’re doing. We need to join God in what He’s doing and already has blessed. When we do that, we see amazing things. His examples were popes wearing sunglasses and Jesse Helms carrying a ghetto blaster.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Agreed Josh! I have experienced the same when I mentored others personally.

  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    Wonderful post.

    Thank you for ‘trying’ to write this :-)

    I’m going to have to ruminate on this. I’m excellent at failing, even when I ‘try’. But do I really ‘try’?

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      You’re welcome! I think our fears limit us more than anything else. When we abandon our fear of failure, amazing things can happen.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

    I really want to organize a massive corporate prayer event for my university. The last one I led had a bit over 50 people on it. I wanna see hundreds. You know what? I’ll do it.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      That’s a great purpose, Daniel. Nothing is more important than prayer. I believe God will bless your efforts!

  • JD Eddins

    If I knew it wouldn’t fail I would launch a father camp that would help dads be leaders for thier families and address the fatherless crisis that has hit the US.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      Wow! That’s an awesome cause, JD. You are right, it is indeed a crisis. I challenge you to attempt it! What’s stopping you?

  • http://relevantbrokenness.com Marni Arnold

    Excellent post, Josh! Thank you!

    And thank you Michael, for having him post here! This is great stuff!

    Josh – this is exactly the kind of thinking I have been doing lately about the book I am engrossed in thinking a lot about, but doing very little writing in it. It is all due to the #1 thing you list here…a lack of confidence. However, the lack of confidence has teetered on the #’s 2 and 3 you list as well. I am getting better day by day with this…and I am not giving up, or giving in (let’s just say I have #4 down pretty well…I am persistent beyond belief, and have been told sometimes I am annoying because of it. Oh well! haha)

    My blog is the first step toward the purpose God has called me into – and if it is one thing I have learned it is not to give up or give in…because too early in my life, I gave up on a few key things, and the lesson from these things I gave up on grew to be too great in my life to ever let myself back down again from something I am passionate about.

    One thing God has taught me through all of this? I will not give up on Him or what He has called me into, because God never gave up on me…ever.

    • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

      Great thoughts, Marni.
      I have found that almost everyone has a dream. It may be hidden beneath layers of insecurity, fear, past failure, or discouragement, but it is there. (The comments below contain many examples!) The two main differences between achievers and dreamers: 1. The willingness to try. 2. The ability to overcome the temptation to give up.

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    The worst that could happen is that I fail, right?

    • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

      The very nature of fear is such that it swells in our minds to the point of extreme exaggeration. It becomes bigger and bigger until our fears aren’t even based in reality. The worse that can happen is that we ‘fail’ and use it as a learning experience. That’s not always such a bad thing. Our failures usually teach us far more than our successes.

  • Pam Steien

    What a great question? I would ask for my job back at Thomas Nelson. One of the biggest regrets of my life – I am so sorry that my career with a great company ended the way that it did. I loved being Field Sales Manager encouraging a bunch of great sales guys/gal and calling on wonderful folks in the Christian Bookstore world. It was a great 12 years and just wish that it could have been much longer.

  • http://twitter.com/Woodchic Jennifer Woodward

    Nice post! My fear is not of failure but of success – and then managing said potential success. A concept and realization I need to put more time and thought into…

    • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

      Success is a great test of character.
      I think the important thing is to realize we only have to deal with TODAY. We often waste energy and resources trying to fix the past after it’s too late, or deal with the future before it’s possible.

      • http://twitter.com/Woodchic Jennifer Woodward

        “We often waste energy and resourses…dealing with the future before it’s possible” – an excellent quote and concept!

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  • Anonymous

    Hey Josh, thanks for this post. :) I’ve been wanting to write a book for the past three years. But until about four months ago, I did nothing but dream. It’s because of the reasons you stated in your posts. But thankfully, I persisted and now I’m in the final chapter of the book. In a month’s time, it’s gonna be done. :)

    • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

      Awesome! Like you, I’ve discovered there’s always a ‘push-through’ factor. There is always something you have to push through to reach your goal. Michael mentioned this in a great post called “What Keeps You Going When You Want To Quit?” (http://michaelhyatt.com/what-keeps-you-going-when-you-want-to-quit.html)
      I congratulate you on ‘pushing through’!

  • http://twitter.com/dbonleadership Dan

    These will prevent you from being successful. I think leaders need a lot of energy in order to get things done.

  • http://twitter.com/cynthiaSEL Cynthia Leighton

     I am! Hmm. Did not realize that. It *is* taking way longer than I’d wanted or expected. But then again there’s been a whole lot of bumps along the way. Life:)

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