Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

My fellow peeps, tell me a little somethin’- do you procrastinate?

Because I do.

A whole hell of a lot, actually.

And to say that I’m sick of it is quite the understatement. So, the other day, I was trying to dive a little deeper into the reasons as to why I do this to myself and there was one major thing I kept coming back to (and have kept coming back to for freaking years in all honesty)…  

I’m a damn scaredy cat who is terrified of failure.

Not just a butterfly in the stomach type of thing. I had the words “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail” tattooed into my back on my 18th birthday to remind myself of the consequences that come to those who don’t do “enough”. This was a quote that was repeated more than frequently to me in critical moments of my childhood where I probably could’ve used a little more big-picture wisdom instead of being served the said cold, militant-style quote from daddy dearest.

Obviously, I didn’t fully understand back then, that sometimes, no matter how much you prepare, failure is a part of life, not a personal fault when you’re doing your best (hence the very serious tattoo)...  We all pick up weird quirks from our ‘rents, mine happens to be that I feel next to worthless no matter how big or small a mistake I make is. But since we are them evolved, the goal should be to keep on evolving, right?

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Einstein

I’ve done a lot to facilitate better relationships between myself, fear, and failure, but there are still instances where I find I’m holding back because they’ve somehow managed to infuse themselves into what I’m doing. I’ve learned full and well by now that it’s totally human to be afraid and to fail. Both of those things typically yield the most personal growth anyway so I more often than not see these situations as challenges instead of “bad things”. However knowing that and approaching situations in that way doesn’t make them any less challenging, otherwise, they wouldn’t be referred to as challenges...  

“A challenge in which a successful outcome is assured isn’t a challenge at all.” -Jon Krakauer

It has always been hard for me to maintain focus and create something that will be satiating long-term. I used to think it was because I wasn’t following the direction my heartstrings were being pulled in, and, as it turns out, I most definitely wasn’t. So that was the first thing I fixed (which included turning my life on its head, btw), and that created good enough conditions for many improvements to be made.

Now, I’ve managed to end up in a place I’ve always wanted to be, yet I am still wrestling with procrastination.

In its weird way, it gives me enough short term satisfaction to bypass my fear of failing at the long term stuff… You know, focus on the little things, the things that you know for sure you’re good at, and you won’t fail? Only, you will fail, it’ll just slap you in the face further down the road.

Obviously, that way of thinking needs to change before I create a self-fulfilling prophecy, ya?

Some people choose the comfort of a day job they hate instead of searching for another one or taking the time to go back to school to study something they have always enjoyed... I liken it to that kind of thing.

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.” -James F. Byrnes


This stuff is about as fun to talk about as it is to deal with, but since no one close to me ever talked about it the way I needed, I figured I can do it.

And so the moral of the story is, kids, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Even if you do your damndest, still prepare to fail, because it’s inevitable for all of us at some point.

And it’s okay.

Because failures are just the beginnings of success stories and well-lived lives, not the end of the world.

My current challenge is to stop putting off the big stuff so it can actually show up for me someday.

What about yours?


Alexa Francisco

by Alexa Francisco

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