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ep.09: How to Not Fail Ahead of Time

Are you unknowingly sabotaging your own success before you even start? Let's unravel that today! I'll be sharing how fear of failure, self-doubt, and confusion often lead us to forego our dreams, thereby ensuring failure before we've even given ourselves a chance.

We'll explore this through a revealing story of a client trapped in inaction due to fear of judgment, and unravel the questions I posed to her to confront these fears and jumpstart action. This episode will equip you with strategies to identify and counteract premature failure in your life.

Coming soon, I'm rolling out The ADHD Academy! Click here to learn more!

What you'll learn:

  • Strategies to confront and overcome fear of failure and self-doubt

  • Ways to break down big goals into manageable, achievable steps

  • Shifting the perspective on failure, seeing it a step in the journey

  • How persistence and continuous trying are key to success

"Sometimes it's not the grand failures that paralyze us, but it's the little things, like self-doubt or not knowing where to begin."

Useful links mentioned:

Listen to the Episode:

Click here to read the transcript:

Welcome to Learn to Thrive with ADHD. This is the podcast for adults with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms. I'm your host, Coach Mande John. I'm here to make your life with ADHD easier. Let's get started.

Welcome to episode 09. Today we are talking about how to not fail ahead of time. Now, this topic might be a little controversial. I know when I talked about it on social media, a lot of people misunderstood it and kind of got upset. But you're going to see that this is a really good thing.

So, if you take it from the perspective, it means nothing but for your own good. It can be transformational. So, we're talking about the concept of failing ahead of time. At the end of the episode, you'll know how this shows up, how to detect it in yourself and what to do about it.

You know the feeling of being frozen by fear of failure. It's like having a massive weight that can hold us back from even the simplest things. But let's break it down. Sometimes it's not the grand failures that paralyze us, but it's the little things, like self-doubt or not knowing where to begin. Let me share a personal example just to give you an idea.

I was so excited about creating the ADHD Academy membership, which you'll hear about either I think it's on the outro of the podcast and I had a vision for it and some of the courses were already ready.

And then, when the tech side came into the picture, I really got stuck. Now I consider myself pretty smart in several areas, but when it comes to tech, I tend to quickly defer to someone else, which is usually my husband, and it's just something.

I kind of throw my hands up. I don't want to mess with it, I don't understand it, I get confused. But then the times that I've really tried to work through it, I've done quite well, and in this case, there was no one I could defer to. He didn't really understand what I was doing.

He didn't understand the program I was using. He knew nothing about it. It wasn't something I could hand off to him, and I set a goal to have everything up and running in a month. And looking back at that I realized that that was a little bit ridiculous because of the circumstances. But having never done this, I didn't know that I was in over my head. I mean, there's always those things that it's the first time we're doing it, and so I was really determined but so quickly confused with the tech. I got in there and I kept breaking things. I didn't understand how to create things. I would create something, and it would do the wrong thing, and you know what happened I quit. I got so overwhelmed, and I left that project untouched for weeks.

I did everything I could to avoid that project and I didn't try working through the problems that I was facing, because it was bringing up so much discomfort and that was really failing ahead of time. I quit trying and so I failed to get it out when I said I wanted to get it out and we'll go on with that story later.

But I quit for a good long time and luckily, it's something that I picked back up. But how many things like that do you get into in your confused or you're afraid or you're having some sort of negative emotion about it, and you just quit instead of dealing with the negative emotion? That is failing ahead of time? It's failing before you give it the proper effort that it requires.

I had a client who had struggled with starting some projects and I asked her a series of questions, and these questions would be helpful if you find yourself in these situations. So, what I was looking for was, did she really want these things that she was struggling to do?

Sometimes there's things that we think we want, and we don't really want, or we think we should want them, and so I wanted to determine is this something she really wanted? What was getting in the way? What obstacles was she having? What was she feeling when she thought of those projects? She did want these things, for reasons that she liked.

Not taking action was getting in the way, and she was afraid of what others would think or not measuring up and of not knowing how to proceed. It all just boiled down to fear. I pointed out something that might have been hard for others to hear. I told her she was already failing by not taking action. She was failing ahead of time. It wasn't a judgment, it was just an observation, and you know what she chose to act.

That one step led to more steps, and she started gaining momentum, and the best part is, she was so proud of herself. Let's shift our perspective on failure for a moment. Failure isn't the end game. It's a step in the journey. I was listening to a podcast and a professional basketball player was on as a guest and I wish I knew his name, but he missed the shot that would have won the game, and the reporter asked him after the game how he felt about that failure and he responded that he didn't fail, he just missed a shot, but he was still on the team. It's about staying in the game and continuously trying.

Coming back to my ADHD Academy project, when I was done licking my wounds and hiding from discomfort, I got some coaching on the fact that I had been avoiding this project. I had been avoiding the coaching because I knew, once I got it, I was going to take action and I was afraid to take the action and so I was even avoiding the coaching and I finally did it and I was still a little scared.

But I did take action and I started looking around on this platform that I was going to use for the membership and I found that I could pay just a little bit more money and get this individualized help, get somebody there with me, one-on-one, that I could ask questions to as I was working on things, when things were breaking, when I didn't know how to do something. They also had one day of week that I could go in for office hours and it was like an eight-hour chunk. I'm actually still doing that and again I could ask questions.

There weren’t a lot of people in there. That little thing of taking the action, poking around the website to see what I could do to get help, helped me find this thing that basically the project is done. I mean it's an ongoing project, there's new courses that come out every month and there's weekly coaching, but it's ready, except for, like, some little cosmetic things that I need to get some help with because I don't understand the tech behind it.

Silly things like how to change the font. There's just no button for that. I don't know what the problem is, but because I took that small step, because I took the small step of getting the coaching and because getting the coaching helped me take the small step of looking around the platform, I kept taking the steps in the right direction, whereas before I was just failing ahead of time by not taking action.

So, are there ways that you're failing ahead of time in your life? What you can do is you can break your goals into small, achievable steps. Don't shy away from seeking help. It's not a sign of weakness but a testament of your commitment. And, most importantly, don't let fear of failure dictate your choices. You'll notice a slipping into your life.

If you find yourself procrastinating, avoiding or hiding from something that's on your mind often, coach yourself by asking yourself the questions that I ask my client Do you really want this for your own reasons and you like those reasons? What's getting in the way? Why haven't you started already? Or what's stopping you?

What are you feeling when you think of this project? Name it, is it fear, shame? Do you feel incapable, like me, with this membership? Do you feel kind of dumb? It's natural to avoid discomfort, but don't let this keep you from what you want to accomplish, no matter how big or small.

Embrace the challenges, seek growth and celebrate every step forward. Remember, as long as you don't quit, you can never fail. See you next week.

Thank you for your time, and especially for your attention today. If you haven't looked into the ADHD Academy, you'll want to do that. This is my membership, with binge-able courses, weekly life coaching, new courses every month, a community of like-minded people and more.

Be sure to head over to to get the details.

See you next week.

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