Part Four of a Four Part Series.

4. The Case of the Disappearing Self

“I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

When praised for being smart or good at something, people can become preoccupied with proving it to everyone. Smarts and skills may become tied to feelings of self-worth and outside opinion the driving force behind achievement. This is a common affliction in bright people, particularly women.

Fear of failure or judgment makes it easy to develop an aversion to risk or exploration. Patterns often develop where goals are set to showcase strengths- not to grow, challenge or take us out of a comfort zone.

Some mistakenly believe that our abilities are fixed and innate. That intelligence or skill in an area is either something we have or don’t have. The truth is that skills can be developed and are not static. We have always an opportunity to learn how to get from A to B, from here to there, and from beginner to master.

In order to realize our true potential we have to be challenged.  The process of growth includes plenty of risk and failure. Every effort will not be applauded and practice rarely receives accolades. The willingness to do real, focused and often mundane work is what separates true victor from safe contender.

Questions to ask yourself:

Who are you setting your goals for?

What makes your goals important to you?

What really makes your goals important to you?

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison