Win From Within
Fear of failure drives us more than we actually admit. The actions you take when you avoid failure are defensive. Instead of making something happen FOR yourself, you are avoiding something from happening TO you. You are not in control of your actions; external forces are. These forces could be your friends using you, an advertisement, or even the notion of keeping up with The Joneses.
Some will call these examples of motivation; I challenge you to rethink this label. True motivation is used responsibly and is always a positive and effective technique. Motivation can come from both internal and external forces. Externally, it may be someone being altruistically supportive or pushing you to grow through positive reinforcement. Any outside influence that is selfish or pressures through fear is no longer motivation, it has crossed the line into the manipulation zone.
Many of us are driven by the fear of failure through manipulation because of the constant pressure our society places on us to compare ourselves to others. The Hatchimals toy craze this past Christmas is a perfect example of this. There is one reason all of the retail stores were sold out and people were paying $500 for this toy on eBay. They were driven by the fear of looking like a failure as a parent because they did not buy their child the same toy as all of their friends. I, personally, have lost track of how many conversations I have had with the parents of the kids I coach around the subject of comparisons. They come to me feeling frustrated because they claim their child is not being challenged in basketball. They “logically” explain that the basis for their claim is that their child is obviously better (in their eyes) than everyone else on the team or at the camp. When I steer the conversation in a different direction and suggest that the only player they should be comparing themselves to is the one they see when they look in the mirror, I am usually met with a confused stare. I then explain that anyone striving to better themselves has to turn their gaze inward to realize that true success comes from within. This is the only way to be motivated by success instead of manipulated by fear… LIGHTBULB MOMENT!
This leads me to the concept of internal motivation, which I call inspiration. When you are truly inspired, you are driven to action. Always remember this: once you have taken just one inspired action, you have achieved success. Do NOT define your success by your final outcome, as that is momentary. Celebrating each milestone on the way to your goal as its own success is permanent inspiration.