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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Afraid of Failure

Dear Sue: I have what I think is a unique idea for a business. For years Iíve thought about going off on my own and starting my own business. I worry about someone else coming up with my idea before Iíve done anything about it, and I know Iíll regret it if I never try, but I fear Iíll regret it more if I try and then fail. Do you have any advice for me?

- Chicken

Sue Says: No one sets out to fail; most people seek success, not failure, yet almost every successful person has failed before succeeding.

The truth is that failure isnít always bad. It can humble you, teach you, and helps prepare you for success. Every set back you have, rejection you experience, and hardship you encounter will teach you something of value, and help you to appreciate success when you reach it.

Behind the story of every successful person is a story of a time when things were different. Everyone has struggles, challenges, and obstacles to overcome.

Abraham Lincoln failed numerous times; he was defeated and rejected, but it didnít stop him from running, and then becoming, one of Americaís most recognized and respected presidents.

Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he successfully invented the light bulb. He never would have succeeded had he given up trying.

Joanne Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, was an unemployed single mother when she wrote her first manuscript. Today she is one of Brittanís wealthiest women.

Walt Disney suffered financial problems and a nervous breakdown before achieving fame and fortune.

The truth is that everyone starts somewhere. The tough times you go through will help prepare you for the better times yet to come. Everything takes time, persistence, a game plan, a belief in oneself, and the right attitude.

Successful people donít fear failure; they view failure as a temporary setback, not a permanent position. Successful people donít give up; they believe they will succeed. They focus on possibilities and tend to quickly rebound after a set-back or problem.

Instead of fearing failure, you can anticipate it and learn from your mistakes.

Every time you fail, rest assured youíre one step closer to success. Donít be ashamed of failing; why not give yourself credit for trying? The only people whoíve never failed are those who have never tried.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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