You're reading Sentences, etc., a design and development blog by Justin Michael.

Road Trip

“Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from achieving your goals.”

Has someone ever said something like that to you? Have you read something like that before now? Probably. It’s pretty common advice. But have you thought about what it really means? Have you considered what it would mean for your life if you really didn’t let fear stop you?

Let’s turn it around. How would you act, what would you do, if you knew you were going to succeed? Take a moment and think about it, because that’s what we’re really talking about here. If you expect to succeed you’re not going to let your fear of failure stop you.

Think of the path to your goals as a road trip. Some road trips are short, others are long, but all road trips require three things: planning, time, and money.

It all starts with planning. You don’t just get in your car and drive hundreds or thousands of miles on whim. You make sure you really want to go to your destination. You figure out your route in advance. You plan your stops along the way. You get your car checked out before you depart. You schedule your road trip and dedicate time to it. You come up with a budget, which means you might need to save a little or earn a little extra before you leave.

You make many arrangements long before you get behind the wheel, but you know what you don’t do when you’re planning a road trip? You don’t let fear stop you. You assume and expect your road trip to work out just fine as long as you plan it out and use common sense despite the fact that there’s a ton of stuff that can go wrong during a road trip:

Those are just what I could think of off the top of my head. A road trip is far from risk-free. A lot can go wrong. So why doesn’t fear of failure stop most people from taking road trips?

They know that most of what can go wrong can be mitigated by planning and common sense. They know that they have a support system they can depend on along the way, be it friends or family they can call or roadside assistance they’ve budgeted for. They know that many other people take road trips every day without any issues. They know that getting hit by a meteorite is such an unlikely possibility that it doesn’t even factor in when they plan a road trip.

What it all boils down to is that people go on road trips all the time because they expect to get where they’re going. They expect to succeed. They plan, they prepare, they take the risks, and they arrive.

So are you making progress toward your goals, or are you letting fear of flat tire stop you? Are you fretting over running out of money or are you planning a budget and saving? Are you worried you’ll get lost or are you planning a route and finding a support system you can depend on? Are you worried about a meteorite, or have you realized that you can never eliminate all risk, and some risks are worth taking?

You have to expect to achieve your goals. You can’t just hop in the car one day and start driving, but if you plan, prepare, and take calculated risks you can achieve them.

Don’t let fear stop you.