I was working out yesterday in my usual spot at the community center, when I overheard someone say, “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day tomorrow?” I had forgotten. Without a special someone in my life, it was easy to overlook this day. I had made no special plans for today.
I’m settled into my airplane seat, deciding what action item I will tackle first while I have 3 hours of flight time, when the usual safety announcement comes on. When it gets to the… “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will automatically drop above your seat. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, be sure to secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”
I listen to that announcement and cannot imagine that I would NOT put my child’s mask on, or help a fragile elderly person next to me. I go last! And yet, the message is very clear.
You are no good to anyone, if you don’t take care of yourself first!
Do top level executives fear failure, and if so, how do they handle it?
A few months ago, I was interviewed by a writer for Strategy + Business magazine on an interesting topic: Do top level executives fear failure, and if so, how do they handle it? Her first question to me asked, “From your perspective, how common is the fear of failure at this high level where executives have, obviously, had successful track records to reach the positions they are in today?” My simple answer was:
“This is more common than you may guess.”
Most executives fear failure when a lot is at stake or when the collateral damage can be high. No one wants to be the cause of losing the biggest client, launching a product into the market that must be recalled, or shutting down a plant and displacing families because of incorrect market data.
But there is another fear of failure that lurks below the surface, causing us to test our courage muscle in smaller doses. This is the fear of not being all that you think you can be, or what you think others expect you to be.