We are big basketball fans in my family, as both of my sons have played competitively for many years.  One thing I’ve always admired about both boys is that they are very team oriented and will often pass the ball even when they are within what appears to be close proximity to the net.  While that stance and mindset has been really helpful in that neither of them subscribes to the “self as hero” mentality that can create a dependency upon one player to carry the whole team, it became clear recently that this supportiveness has limitations.

The coach took my son aside and told him that he has to start to score some points now. While he is getting better at defending and assisting, it’s time for him to “up his game” and he was counting on him for 10 points per game for the rest of this season. When the coach mentioned this to me, I shared that I sense he is somewhat afraid to take the shot in case he misses.

Cue the lightbulbs flashing…

Fear of failing can often stop ME from taking the shot!  And even when it doesn’t stop me, it sure can make me miserable.

After 12 years of working from my home (when I’m not traveling to work with clients in person) I’m moving Anjali Leadership into its own space here in Toronto. Furthermore, I’ve added 5 leadership consultants/executive coaches and 3 support staff roles to transform Anjali from a “me” of 1 to a “we” of 9. 

The resistance I have felt to this shift, despite the passion I have around it, has been immense.  What if it doesn’t work? What if the clients all go away? What if there isn’t enough work to keep all of these consultants busy? What if I can’t pay the rent? An endless list of dramatic failure possibilities. The more I succumb to these fears, the easier it is to consider dropping the whole thing.

My son’s coach is wonderful. He told him that he wouldn’t be upset if he missed the shot, as long as he started to take the shots.  Today I’m taking a page from his playbook: Up my game, take the shot; take the shot, up my game.  Be willing to tolerate the fear of failing for the sake of something bigger.  My team reminded me earlier this week that the “bigger” we stand to create is that many more people would benefit from the powerful work we are doing. That feels worth risking failing for.

Oh by the way, shortly after this conversation with his coach, my son scored about 11 points in a game. Did he make every shot he took? No. But the confidence is growing exponentially with every attempt. I’m excited to see where he takes this.

What about you?  What would be worth risking failing for in your life, in your work?  Are you willing to take the shot?

Up your game! And I’ll up mine!