The Game of Life
What would happen if you started living life as if it were merely a game? I know, I know, Settlers of Catan can get a little heated. Believe me. One of my biggest marital disputes occurred while playing this brilliant game. Buuuuutttttttt, when the game ends, that's it. It's over. You move on. Perhaps if you play again, you'll apply a different strategy to see if it leads to more success. But you won't stew over the outcome (at least not for long).
Even if you lose the game you recognize that your self-worth remains intact. The loss doesn't derail you from pursuing your dreams, you don't start questioning all the decisions that brought you to this point, you don't worry about whether you're on the right path, you don't tell yourself that you're a failure, that you'll never make it, or that you're just not good enough.
Why don't we do this in life?
For some reason, our life's failings are viewed in an entirely different light. When we come up against some friction as we're pursuing our goals & dreams, we start to unravel. Our minds wander to the darkest places. We've suddenly story-lined our entire future and it ends with never reaching our dreams. We take these momentary failures to be an indication of a permanent state. But guess what? Failure isn't permanent. Furthermore, failure is not the opposite of success.
Some of the greatest athletes & greatest minds of mankind have failed in pursuit of their life's greatest achievements. As Thomas Edison said just prior to inventing the lightbulb, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Start playing the "Game of Life"
A couple years ago I adopted this game-of-life mindset. I had been struggling. The transition away from skiing was hard. Letting go of an identity that I held onto for so long and stepping into an unknown version of myself was terrifying. I had no idea what I wanted to be doing, let alone what I should be doing. Therefor, every decision carried with it a tremendous amount of weight. I didn't know how to make a choice for my future, until I adopted this game-of-life mindset. It's what began to set me free.
Any time I came upon a crossroads and questioned which decision was the "right" decision, I took a step back and evaluated it as if it were my next move in Catan. While I wanted it to be a good move, it didn't need to be the absolute best move. I realized that I only knew so much in that moment, I couldn't predict the future, so no choice was the wrong choice. I recognized that if it something didn't work out, I could always play again with a different approach. While decisions can't be undone, their course can be corrected. Life is nothing more than a series of recoveries.
If you have big dreams for your future, if you're daring greatly, but your fear of failure is starting to get the best of you, remind yourself of this: LIFE IS JUST A GAME. And, unlike the Olympics (or Settlers of Catan), we can all win. The world is an abundant place if we can remain open to the possibilities, if we can risk failure and allow the winds to redirect our sails, we can create the life we've always imagined.