Day 1: Fear of Failure

Megan Mcdonough

Megan McDonoughI was riding my horse down the road today to pick up my daughter from horse camp. Every year, she brings her beloved Rocky to a local 4H center, where she rides, grooms, and loves him to her heart’s content.

As I meandered down the back road, I was thinking about Day 1 of this 21-day Challenge when a troubling thought occurred to me. What if I failed to reach the goal I set out so publicly – the goal to fill the October Training the Trainer class?

That’s when I started to panic. People will read these posts (hopefully) and, when less than 20 people register, they’ll see that I failed. Maybe the course will even have to be cancelled due to low enrollment. Gasp! I’ll feel so embarrassed and foolish.

Well, that’s helpful – a really inspiring storyline on how to avoid the power of positive thinking.

Like many people, I can be filled with self-doubt. Whenever I set a goal, there is always an irritating little devil on my shoulder whispering (or yelling) that the goal is too aggressive, or that I won’t reach it, or that I should be focusing on Y instead of X. Or, worst of all, as I strive to reach my goal, I worry that I’ll end up doing something embarrassing and make a fool out of myself.

When it comes to setting goals, all the proper business books tie the goal-setting process into a neat little box. They say you should set SMART goals, which means the goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

For example, saying that you want more students in your yoga class would not be a SMART goal. However, saying you want to increase attendance by 20% over the next six months is a SMART goal. Neat and tidy, isn’t it? Based on my own experience, I have a different, more rebellious approach to setting goals. Here it is:

Set ‘em and forget ‘em.

My mind can play endless games with goals. Is this the right one? Should it be higher or lower? Should my end date be sooner or later? What are others doing? Maybe if I did this instead of that it would make more sense.


With this mindset, nothing gets done.

That’s why I make a deliberate attempt to change my mindset. Really, who cares if the goal is perfect? Or of it is the right one? I love the “set ‘em and forget ‘em” approach because it focuses my mind on the right track: taking action.

Karma yoga is the yoga of action. You take action and leave the outcome to the divine. The outcome, in other words, is none of our business. That’s Goddess’s work. Our work is the doing, taking the right action.

I set a goal in this 21-day Challenge to fill the October Training the Trainer course. My job is to take action every day in a way that’s consistent with that intention. Whether or not I reach my goal is not my concern. It is not even worth engaging those irritating thought patterns that would tell me otherwise. Those thoughts are merely a distraction to the real issue, which is determining what action I am taking today towards filling that Training the Trainer course.

As I drew closer to the camp to pick up my daughter, my action became crystal clear. I would write an article about those annoying little mind monsters and then put my own mind monsters to bed.

Take the Challenge:

[tags]Megan McDonough, training the trainer program, yoga business, business marketing consultant, 21-day yoga marketing challenge[/tags]

Author: Megan Mcdonough

People with big ideas face a constant challenge: how to transform that vision into a new and better reality. Whether it’s change in your personal life or success in your business, vision needs action (and rest) to manifest.

2 Responses to “Day 1: Fear of Failure”

  1. Linda B. says:

    Great advice!!!

  2. Megan McDonough says:

    Recently, I happened to read section 2.47-48 of the Bhagavad Gita, which sums up today’s theme in a nutshell:

    You have a right to your actions,
    but never to your actions’ fruits.
    Act for the action’s sake.
    And do not be attached to inaction.

    Self-possessed, resolute, act
    without any thought of results,
    open to success or failure.

    This equanimity is yoga.

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