While the nature of anxiety is complex, we know that a fear of failure tops many “What Makes Me Anxious at Work” lists. Although not Craig Ferguson’s. His would probably be alcohol.
The host of The Late Late Show was recently the subject of Eric Spitznagel’s “Playboy Interview” where he opened up about his approach to work, and how his alcoholism influences it:
There are nights I go out there [on stage] with nothing. Sometimes I can sell the sh’t out of it, and sometimes I can’t. The difference for me, how I’m comfortable doing it without the alcohol, is I’m quite happy to fail. Failure is always an option. That’s why I fell in love with MythBusters. When those guys took two big rigs and spray-painted failure is always an option! across the sides and then crashed them into each other, I thought, These are my people.
How is this possible?
When you’re comfortable with the potential for failure in your work, you know you’ll be OK with the outcome. In fact, your “failed” outcome will likely be instructive: perhaps you’ll learn something, or feel a certain way that helps you grow, or in Ferguson’s case, maybe hilarity will ensue.
To be open to the possibilities of post-failure is to be confident in your creativity and skills of analysis, which is what can move you forward from a setback. You analyze the situation, then creatively determine your path forward.
As a bonus, the relief you experience from being unafraid helps you relax in general, and ground you in the present moment.
Failure has always been an option for all of us; Craig Ferguson is wise to work with this fact rather than repress it. If you embrace the potential for failure, note how your approach to work changes. Then enjoy the success that follows.
Watch the video footage of failure below, in care of Ferguson’s favorite Mythbusters:
Date: March 8, 2012