An intense fear of failure stifles many people’s communication.

Our fear of saying the wrong thing and offending someone keeps us silent, or our concern about embarrassing ourselves in front of the boss means we don’t put forward a suggestion about a new initiative.

So many of us see failure as a bad thing, something to hide from and avoid at all costs.

That fear holds us back and we don’t have conversations we know we should.

Although failing isn’t fun and often feels awful at the time, it’s not the horrible monster we make it out to be.

In fact, it’s an essential ingredient to our success.

Failure is how we learn. It’s how we improve, grow and develop.

The most successful people in life often fail many times before they succeed.

They take calculated risks, try, fail, learn, try again, improve – and repeat that cycle over and over.

They fail their way to success. They persist and never give up. They fail over and over, and that is in fact why they succeed.

It takes courage to reframe your view on failure, but it’s crucial if you want to communicate more effectively under pressure.

You will get it wrong sometimes. Your words will upset people. You might not be as articulate as you wanted to be. But you did it. You were brave and had the conversation. That’s not failure, that’s success.

No one is a perfect communicator. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s only failure if you don’t try in the first place, or don’t learn from your mistakes.

It’s the courage to continue, not the experience of failure, that counts.

My challenge to you this week is to be courageous in your communication. Do the thinking first. Be considerate and kind. And then have one of those conversations you’ve been putting off.

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Leah Mether helps people get out of their own way with the development of soft skills (which are really hard). She is a speaker, trainer, facilitator and mentor.